Tag Archive | "Bainbridge Island"

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 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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 Photo by Tuku.

 

 

 

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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.

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Photos by Julie Hall and Sarah Lane.

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caitlin boone

BHS Alum Caitlin Boone Honored as Outstanding Grad from Western WA University

Bainbridge High School (BHS) graduate Caitlin Boone has been honored as the Outstanding Graduate of the Engineering Technology Department of Western Washington University.

Faculty members from each academic departments select one graduate to honor as the Outstanding Graduate of the year. Selection is a high honor based on grades, research and writing, service to the campus and community, and promise for the future.

Boone graduated from Western Washington University on June 14, 2014, when she was recognized, among the other Outstanding Graduates, for her achievement. She received a Bachelor of Science degree, Cum Laude, in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.

Boone was manufacturing director for Western’s Formula SAE Racing Team, helping the team come in 17th out of more than 100 entrants in the competition. She was an officer in the school’s student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and took second place in the society’s Aerodef Manufacturing Challenge. She completed an internship in production control at B/E Aerospace.

Boone has received a fellowship to attend Ohio State University in the fall to begin work on her master’s degree, and possibly doctorate, in Mechanical Engineering. She hopes to become involved in research that uses three-dimensional printing to cultivate human tissues for arteries and organs.

Boone is the daughter of Bainbridge Island residents Erin and David Boone.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Boone.

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north kitsap fire and rescue truck

Motorcyclist from Kingston Dies in Collision with Fire Truck

Kitsap County Sheriff’s traffic deputies are investigating the death of a motorcyclist that occurred at 11:02 a.m. July 4 in Kingston. Jason T. Foster, 48, reportedly collided with a North Kitsap Fire & Rescue (NKF&R) truck in the intersection of NE West Kingston Road and Miller Bay NE Road.

A preliminary report of the accident indicates that Foster was traveling northbound on Miller Bay Road NE when he collided with the fire engine, which was traveling southbound on Miller Bay Road NE and attempting to turn left to head eastbound on NE West Kingston Road. The firefighter driving the truck is a 36-year-old, two-year male veteran of NKF&R. A 40-year-old, 15-year male veteran of NKF&R was a passenger in the fire engine at the time of the collision.

Foster was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miller Bay Road NE was closed to through traffic until approximately 5 p.m. The 2006 Yamaha YP400 Majesty scooter was destroyed, and the front bumper and left front corner of the fire engine was damaged.

A Bainbridge Island police officer, a Washington State Patrol trooper, and Kitsap County patrol deputies and traffic investigators responded at the scene, along with engine and medic units from NKF&R.

The county’s forensic pathologist will conduct an autopsy of the motorcyclist, and the Kitsap County Coroner will make a determination as to cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact Deputy Andy Aman, sheriff’s traffic unit, at 360-337-4634.

 

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name that bird into the mouths of babes

Name That Bird: Into the Mouths of Babes

These hungry little passerines will soon be awesome aerialists like their parents, darting and swooping over fields, open water, and barnyards to catch flies and a variety of other insects. Their glistening cobalt blue top feathers and tawny chest coloration make these pretty birds easy to identify. They breed in Washington and migrate to warmer southern climes in winter, so now is the time to see them on Bainbridge Island.

The bird feeding these demanding babies is likely one of its parents but could be a “helper at the nest” such as an older sibling from a previous clutch or even an unrelated juvenile.

Can you name this bird?

name that bird into the mouths of babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

name that bird into the mouths of babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

name that bird into the mouths of babes

name that bird into the mouths of babes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos courtesy of Jay Wiggs.

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Astrology Weekly

Astrology Weekly 7/6/14: Raw Wounds (Considering Compassion on Bainbridge)

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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drowned fawn off Pritchard Park

Fawn Disoriented by Fireworks Drowns After Being Chased into the Water by Dogs at Pritchard Beach

This morning, July 5, a fawn wandering alone on Pritchard Park Beach took to the water to avoid off-leash dogs barking at and chasing it.

A person who had been collecting fireworks debris on the beach reported the distressed fawn to West Sound Wildlife Shelter (WSWS) on Bainbridge Island. He explained that by the time the dogs’ owners realized what was happening and had gotten their dogs under control the fawn was well beyond reach out in the water.

WSWS worker Marcie Gwiazdon with her husband Dave Gwiazdon, a firefighter, dispatched a boat to attempt a water rescue of the young deer, but it had drowned by the time they reached it. They retrieved her body from the water and delivered it to the Shelter.

Often deer will take to water to avoid danger, and sometimes, particularly in the case of young ones, they swim out too far, take in water, and lack the strength to make it back to shore.

dead fawn

Fawn on the boat

WSWS Operations Manager Lynne Weber explained that the fawn normally would be under the safe care of its mother. “It happens every Fourth. I have no doubt that the fawn became disoriented and separated from its mother because of fireworks. This is why we warn people to take extra care at this time of year to be aware of panicked and/or confused wildlife in our midst,” said Weber.

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Photos courtesy of Marcie Gwiazdon.

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Bainbridge Grand Old Fourth 2014 Photo Gallery

It felt like Bainbridge Island’s population bloated to double the size yesterday at the traditional Grand Old Fourth celebration. Thousands of people lined the curbs along Winslow Way and Madison on blankets and lawn chairs, wearing red, white, and blue, and eating burritos and drinking smoothies and beer.

Around 1 p.m. Corinna Munter belted out a pitch-perfect anthem from the announcer’s stand at the intersection of the two main streets. And then the BIPD on bikes and the BIFD in trucks led off the seemingly endless parade—it was hard to think of an organization or cause or politician not represented by a float or a car or a sign, and the whole affair left spectating locals wondering why they were watching and not in it.

When the parade finally ended, throngs poured into the streets and hit the food and information and game booths lined up in the T&C parking lot and along Bjune and Brien, grooved on tunes from the Home Town Band and Soul Siren and Ranger and the Re-Arrangers, and ogled the wheels in the car show behind Columbia and Chase banks.

Here’s a huge slideshow so, if you missed the celebration, you can feel like you were there.

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Photos by Sarah Lane; fireworks photos courtesy of Pete Saloutos.

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Hall's Hill Labyrinth entry path

Bainbridge’s New Stone Mosaic ‘Labyrinth’ Is a Tour de Force (w/ Photo Gallery)

I’m telling you straight off that I cannot reveal the labyrinth’s specific location. The wishes of its benefactors dictate that it remain a place of peace primarily for locals, not a tourist attraction. When you find it, as many Bainbridge Islanders and their friends already have, you will understand.

The Hall’s Hill Labyrinth exemplifies the traditional purpose and symbology of a labyrinth (not a maze) as a kind of spiritual and imaginative journey moving on a circuitous path to the center of the self and back into the world again, connecting us with natural and cosmic energies. Created by artist Jeffrey Bale, the Hall’s Hill Labyrinth is a powerfully energetic work of art, layered with meaning, permeated with intelligence and love, founded on vision and hard physical work, and blessed with ineffable “being.”

Jeffrey Bale

Jeffrey Bale

The Labyrinth was officially introduced to the community Sunday, June 29, at a dedication ceremony at which some 150 people gathered to welcome and honor the completed work. They held hands, played music, and some cried, including those who had visited Bale during his construction of the Labyrinth and donated small tokens for him to add to it, often in memory of a lost loved one.

I interviewed Bale the day after the ceremony as he was saying farewell to his creation in a quiet spot surrounded by madronas, Douglas firs, big-leaf maples, red cedars, and the rest of the small park beyond. I found him alone there walking the labyrinth’s circuits one last time (at least for a while) before heading back to his home in Portland, Oregon. Commissioned by two Bainbridge Island residents (who prefer to not to be named) to build the piece, Bale spent nearly a year visioning, planning, and finally building the labyrinth, which took three months of dedicated labor.

The Sun center with eagle feather

The Sun center with eagle feather

Bale estimates he collected some 25,000 pounds of rocks for the labyrinth from Bainbridge Island beaches, pouring over shorelines for the rights shapes, sizes, and colors, mindful not to disturb beach creatures in the process, and hauling bucketfuls to and from his little 1986 Toyota pickup. He collected the majority of stones from nearby Rockaway Beach, which has a wide variety of rock dumped from lumber vessels that used rock from far and wide as ballast. Thirty-six feet in diameter, the labyrinth’s circuits are framed in steel. Bale used mortar to place his rocks, which he artfully, laboriously arranged section by section of circuit by circuit.

Bale told me he created the labyrinth as a path leading to the Sun at its center, which visitors reach by moving around circuits dedicated to the nine planets in our solar system (including Pluto!), as well as a moon circuit that you can see in the outermost ring containing 12 moons for the lunar cycle. He based his design on the 11-circuit Medieval walking labyrinth at the Chartes Cathedral in France.

Starfish, with five points

Starfish, with five points

The Hall’s Hill Labyrinth is surrounded by eight boulders placed to mark the Cardinal points. Its entrance is due east and has four differently colored “pie slices” reflecting the four seasons. Looking from the eastern entry point, winter is to the right, with a whitish/gray overall tone, and greenish spring is to the left. Fall is the reddish area, and summer darker gray-blue. The colors of the stones are richest when wet and are best viewed after a rain to experience their full pallet. However, the labyrinth also is wonderful to behold dry, when it is safest to walk on barefoot, something Bale recommends, saying the reflexology of the experience is a healing and deeper way to connect to the energy of the place. When I returned to photograph the labyrinth early the next morning, two women arrived and thoughtfully walked it in bare feet.

Summer/fall flower

Summer/fall flower

In constructing the planetary circuits, Bale was mindful of the Greek/Roman mythology surrounding them, and he incorporated that mythology in his stonework in various ways. For example, one can find lightning bolts in the Jupiter/Zeus ring, starfish in the Neptune/Poseidon ring, and hearts in the Venus/Aphrodite ring. Bale constructed the center Sun ring with longer stones to animate the spot with a sense of powerful shooting fire. Flowers are ubiquitous throughout, because, as Bale put it, “It is a heavenly garden.” After starting the labyrinth in the fall, Bale took the winter off to travel to Greece, where he visited sacred sites and collected stones and bits of ruins to add to the labyrinth.

Bale also incorporated concepts from the Native American medicine wheel, which symbolizes the cycles of life, symmetry, balance, and, most profoundly, connectedness with nature. In keeping with Native American tradition, Bale included in his stonework token animals such as the eagle, bear, buffalo, and mouse, as well as personal objects from friends and visitors to the site. Looking closely, one finds within the labyrinth crystals, shells, sea glass, and other personal items, common additions to medicine wheels.

Tokens for lost loved ones

Tokens for lost loved ones

Bale, who built the cistern at Bainbridge Island’s IslandWood and the Council Ring for Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones at their garden at Windcliff in Indianola, Washington, said his stonework was inspired by his time in Spain where he was impressed with mosaics. In essence Bale creates stone mosaics informed by a range of cultural belief systems and natural cycles, united by his goal of fostering connectedness and heightened consciousness.

Bale told me that during his work on the labyrinth he was often moved by energies flowing to and from the site. At the start of the project in creating the first eastern moon, he found an eagle feather. He explained that the eagle is the animal that presides over the east in the medicine wheel. The feather still stands in the center of the labyrinth where he placed it as a token. Bale said that on the day he completed the labyrinth two eagles circled overhead for several hours, completing his own personal creative cycle. During the project, when he was focusing on the Jupiter/Zeus circuit, and putting in stone lightning bolts, lightning struck very nearby in Blakely Harbor. “I feared I had invoked the spirit of Zeus, and I gathered my things and just took off,” smiled Bale. He said when he was working on a deer token, a doe walked across the stones. Pileated woodpeckers, a powerful medicine wheel animal, were ever present in a snag next to the site.

Tibetan prayer wheel

Tibetan prayer wheel

I asked Bale about his connection to Bainbridge Island, having done major art projects here twice now. He said he loves Bainbridge and finds it a beautiful place with some wonderful people. He also referred to a kind of grief here, particularly in relation to parents and their children, stemming from a combination of overindulgence and neglect that is often symptomatic of monetary privilege and spiritual deprivation. Bale hopes that the labyrinth will inspire people to rethink their lifeless groomed yards and find ways to nurture the nature around and within them.

As Bale worked he was often treated to the sound of the Tibetan prayer wheel, located in the park just down the path from the labyrinth. Made by Tom Jay, the beautiful, intricately wrought bronze prayer wheel is designed for the “pilgrim” to determine an intention or prayer and turn the wheel. A bell rings on the 9th rotation, setting one’s intention into the world.

Now Bale’s labyrinth has made its full rotation, setting its intention into the world. You are invited to go discover what you think that means to you.

Learn more about Jeffrey Bale and his blog posts about creating the labyrinth here.

This is a photo gallery of the Hall’s Hill Labyrinth and surrounding park:

Hall's Hill Labyrinth entry path

Hall's Hill Labyrinth entry path

labyrinth eastern entry

labyrinth eastern entry

mini labyrinth

mini labyrinth

Hall's Hill Labyrinth Project sign

Hall's Hill Labyrinth Project sign

summer starfish

summer starfish

Starfish, with five points

Aphrodite heart with face token

Aphrodite heart with face token

winter flower

winter flower

Bale walking the Labyrinth

Bale walking the Labyrinth

spring flower

spring flower

grasses at edge of outer circuit

grasses at edge of outer circuit

summer startfish

summer startfish

summer flowers

summer flowers

autumn moon

autumn moon

Jeffrey Bale

Jeffrey Bale

Jeffrey Bale

The Sun center with eagle feather

the Sun center with eagle feather

Jeffrey Bale sitting in

Jeffrey Bale sitting in "the Sun"

summer moon

summer moon

Bale pointing out tokens for lost loved ones

Bale pointing out tokens for lost loved ones

Bale pointing out tokens for lost loved ones

tokens for lost loved ones

tokens for lost loved ones

Tokens for lost loved ones

Nancy's and Dave's flowers, with Bale's favorite rock in the middle

Nancy's and Dave's flowers, with Bale's favorite rock in the middle

summer/fall flower

summer/fall flower

Summer/fall flower

fall starfish

fall starfish

summer flower

summer flower

sundial

sundial

lightning bolt

lightning bolt

summer

summer

fall/summer flower

fall/summer flower

Tibetan prayer wheel

Tibetan prayer wheel

Tibetan prayer wheel

Tibetan prayer wheel sign

Tibetan prayer wheel sign

prayer wheel quote:

prayer wheel quote: "simplicity patience compassion"

prayer wheel flying sparrows

prayer wheel flying sparrows

prayer wheel mountain goat

prayer wheel mountain goat

park bridge and path

park bridge and path

park flowers

park flowers

park swinging bench

park swinging bench

Hall's Hill Labyrinth entry pathlabyrinth eastern entrymini labyrinthHall's Hill Labyrinth Project signStarfish, with five pointsAphrodite heart with face tokenwinter flowerBale walking the Labyrinthspring flowergrasses at edge of outer circuitsummer startfishsummer flowersautumn moonJeffrey BaleThe Sun center with eagle featherJeffrey Bale sitting in "the Sun"summer moonBale pointing out tokens for lost loved onesTokens for lost loved onesNancy's and Dave's flowers, with Bale's favorite rock in the middleSummer/fall flowerfall starfishsummer flowersundiallightning boltsummerfall/summer flowerTibetan prayer wheelTibetan prayer wheel signprayer wheel quote: "simplicity patience compassion"prayer wheel flying sparrowsprayer wheel mountain goatpark bridge and pathpark flowerspark swinging bench

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Photos by Julie Hall. Photo of swing bench by Lucy. 

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roundabout

Letter to the Editor: Why We Should Remove the High School/Madison Roundabout

The Bainbridge Island roundabout located at the intersection of Madison Avenue and High School Road is very popular with the locals. The picture attached to Julie Hall’s recent article, To Signal or Not to Signal? Roundabout Rules of the Road, shows it adds to the beauty of the neighborhood, and as the British say, “It keeps the traffic moving.” Many drivers correctly state they will not enter our roundabout until they are certain the other car is exiting. With the roundabout traffic moving so smoothly, the moment a driver is certain another car is exiting, the driver is obliged to proceed with adequate quickness to ensure the next vehicle coming around the “small” roundabout is not impeded in any way.

This process works beautifully until pedestrians are introduced. This is where the ugliness of the roundabout rears its head. While all crosswalks require care, even with an abundance of caution pedestrians are faced with added risk when using roundabout crosswalks. Drivers are so focused on other traffic while navigating the roundabout that they often either do not see or do not react quickly enough to pedestrians crossing our roundabout crosswalks.

As a careful pedestrian, I have had to stop in the middle of our roundabout crosswalks as I watch otherwise careful drivers come around the roundabout island and either stop too late or just zoom right through the crosswalk. Sometimes a driver, who is looking to their left for other vehicles as cars flow around the roundabout, is so focused on entering the roundabout that they neglect to look to their right for any pedestrians who may be trying to cross the roundabout crosswalk. Even with my unreported close calls, I think I will manage to survive the added risk when it comes to crossing our roundabout crosswalks.

This particular roundabout, however, is located near four schools, Commodore Elementary School (K-8), Ordway Elementary School (K-4), Eagle Harbor High School (9-12), and Bainbridge High School (9-12), as well as our Aquatic Center and Bainbridge Public Library. This is the most undesirable location for a roundabout on Bainbridge Island because not only are there many pedestrians who use these roundabout crosswalks, but the majority of those pedestrians are students. I have watched in horror as many students cross the roundabout crosswalks oblivious to the added dangers involved. Many of students do not take enough precaution when entering these dangerous roundabout crosswalks. This lack of precaution is not limited to the younger students. Many older students, who are engaged in a discussion with their friends, looking at their mobile devices, or wearing earbuds listening to music, will enter these roundabout crosswalks with the expectation that automobiles will see them and stop.

While we should teach our children not to trust that drivers will stop at crosswalks, we should not add to the dangers they face by having unsafe roundabout crosswalks near their schools and the community facilities they frequent. I propose we remove the Madison Avenue and High School Road roundabout as soon as possible and replace it with a traditional four-way intersection before a child is hit and seriously injured. The downfall of this solution is automobiles will not travel as quickly through an area populated by students, but this so-called downfall could also be seen as an advantage.

—Tom Allen

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Photo by Julie Hall. 

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Nick Felkey Photography
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