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North End only gets better as 2007 goes on

The second half of 2007 saw just as much change and transition as the first, welcoming new commissioners, development projects, dock proposals and a resurgence of plans into the fold. With this past year ending on such a high note, 2008 should kick off into an exciting year for North End residents. Here are a few stories illustrating why 2007 went out with a bang.

North End welcomes Steve Bauer as leader

HANSVILLE — As Hansville resident and local consultant Steve Bauer prepared to be sworn in to the Kitsap County North Kitsap Commissioner’s seat July 2, he’d already reviewed potential projects and communities, groups and people he wanted to work with during his tenure as the North End’s representative.

Having replaced former Commissioner Chris Endresen, who took a position as U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s state director and left the county at the end of June, Bauer said he was ready to pick up where she left off and plunge into the myriad budget issues plaguing the county.

“I think of the three commissioner districts, this one is the most interesting by far,” he said. “That was a big part of the attraction to the job, this is definitely the pick of the county.”

Driftwood Key dredging work not yet permitted

HANSVILLE — For nearly five years, the Driftwood Key Club has been pursuing plans and permits for a dredging project in Coon Bay. During that time, residents have been concerned about budgeting and environmental impacts of the project.

The second week in July, DKC President Bill Buegel unwittingly set off a wave of additional opposition when he asserted the necessary permits have been acquired, and the bidding process was under way.

This is not the case, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Jim Green, who confirmed that the engineers had yet to issue the dredging permit, which is key to the project.

“It’s hard to say,” he said of whether or not the permit will be approved. “I don’t like to suggest it even will be issued until it is ready... We have not issued the permit for the dredging and disposal.”

One aspect of the project’s permit is the fish window. The Corps of Engineers may not have a fish window big enough for the dredging project, and Green said he is analyzing what will be feasible in terms of the plan.

The DKC, on the other hand, feels it is ready to begin the next phase of the project despite what the Army Corps of Engineers reports.

SCAC, SON positive about Suquamish dock plan

SUQUAMISH — In a move to continue bridging gaps, the Suquamish Citizens Advisory Committee and the Suquamish Olalla Neighbors passed resolutions supporting the Suquamish Tribe’s desire to construct a 526-foot community dock.

The actions stemmed from a July 12 Kitsap County Hearing Examiner hearing in which the tribe and various community members provided testimony about the plan. The SCAC passed its resolution that evening, too late for the hearing, but the group felt it was important to make an official motion. The Olalla Neighbors pledged support at its July 10 meeting, and chairwoman Frances Malone, along with other SON and SCAC members, attended the hearing.

“I thought it was a pretty good process,” said Suquamish Tribe Executive Director Wayne George at the SCAC meeting. “It was informative regarding the two standpoints people have about the dock.”

Private dock denied by Hearing Examiner

PORT GAMBLE — After traveling precariously through the whitecaps from the public storm, a private dock proposed by a couple in Port Gamble was sunk by Kitsap County Hearing Examiner Stephen K. Causseaux Jr. July 31, after testimony and evidence from a June 13 hearing were reviewed.

The project, which has been in the permitting process for several years, proposed a 220-foot private dock which would be used for small boats and dinghies. It has been a point of concern for the Friends of Port Gamble Bay and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe but applicants Charles and Sondra Peters maintained the structure would not be detrimental to the bay.

“Well, obviously we’re very happy about it,” said FOPGB member and Port Gamble resident Gwenn Thomas. “There is an appeal period, and these type of things can go on for a while. We’re hoping it is all in the past and the Peters are going to try something more environmentally friendly.”

Kingston port looks to net $3 million for foot ferry

KINGSTON — Though the Port of Kingston was tightlipped about a $3.5 million Ferry Boat Discretionary Program federal grant at its monthly meeting Aug. 22, Washington State Department of Transportation federal liaison Larry Ehl said the funding has been allocated and it’s only a matter until the port receives the money. Though some of the funding could be skimmed off the top and redistributed to other federal causes, the POK has at least $3 million sailing it’s way in the near future.

A grant of this magnitude could buoy the operation of a new passenger-only ferry for Kingston, something commuters and residents have desperately been hoping for since the short-lived Aqua Express discontinued service almost two years ago.

Woody debris drop awes community

KINGSTON — Stillwaters Environmental Center administrative director Naomi Maasberg said she felt tears welling up as she watched a helicopter carefully place a log in the Carpenter Creek Marsh near the center. The work, part of a large woody debris drop, has been about a year and a half in the making and she said the emotion seeing it finally completed was almost too much.

“Finally, a big idea that’s finally going to fly,” said Stillwaters program director Joleen Palmer. “We’ve been working on the watershed plan for quite a few years now, and it’s like wow. Persevere enough, and you finally get things done.”

The large woody debris drop took place Aug. 29, had interested residents lining West Kingston Road near the marsh to watch as Columbia Helicopters, Inc. flew one log at a time from a nearby staging area to the estuary.

Pit-to-pier begins environmental review

SHINE — Kitsap and Jefferson county residents opposing the construction of a four-mile mining conveyor belt and 900-foot dock are digging in deep as the next facet of the many sided pit-to-pier debate continues with the project’s Environmental Impact Study process.

Pit-to-pier advocate Fred Hill Materials of Poulsbo is also preparing for the first public meeting on the EIS, slated for Sept. 27 at Fort Worden State Park, to continue defending what it and other proponents view as a good business venture.

Jefferson County Department of Community Development officials have released a notice of Zoning Conditional Use Permit, Shoreline Substantial Development Permit, Shoreline Conditional Use Permit and a Determination of Significance which will be open to public comment through Oct. 5.

Residents feel removal of junk cars stalled

HANSVILLE — More than four months ago, Hansville residents were ecstatic to see movement to clear a private residence with numerous cars, appliances and trailers parked on it. Property owner Robert Eyer made the decision, after his family business had been going for more than six decades, to retire and cleanup his Little Boston Road property.

Sept. 11 at a Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council meeting, residents voiced concerns they hadn’t seen efforts to do so since June and are worried the work has been postponed indefinitely. Eyer said Wednesday he is continuing to make progress on the project, and removed two dumpster container boxes of scrap metal from the site in August alone.

“We reached the point were he said he didn’t agree with what we were asking him to do, but he wanted to get out of the business,” said Kitsap County senior code enforcement official Steve Mount during the meeting, giving background on the issue. “He did start cleaning up, I think he was tired of it... At some point he reached an on-again/off-again with the construction workers, and he’s been on-again/off-again with the county inspectors, too. We requested one last time he cleanup in August, and if he didn’t we’d pursue a nuisance abatement.”

Kingston remembers Cy Wyse

KINGSTON — When North Kitsap School District Supt. Gene Medina walks into his office, one of the prominently displayed photos always catches his eye. It is from a party held a little over a year ago, celebrating the work and passion one man had for his community and the children living in it.

Now, Medina said he’s happy he has the photo as he, along with the Kingston community and the NKSD, mourn the passing of one of their own.

Cy Wyse died Sept. 19, leaving behind a legacy of hard work and immense caring. His involvement with the North Kitsap Boys & Girls Club, the Kitsap Public Facilities District, the North Kitsap School Board, Kiwanis, Rotary and numerous other organizations illustrated that he hoped to help change the community for children, to make it a better place for learning and having fun.

“He was bigger than life,” said North Kitsap School Board member Catherine Ahl. “He was already a legend when I first met him. I don’t know what to say, he was just an incredible person.”

House of Knowledge celebrates completion

LITTLE BOSTON — Despite the brevity of the dedication Oct. 5, residents and officials from all over Kitsap County, along with Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal members, could feel the excitement and sense of accomplishment in the air.

The tribe’s longhouse was packed almost wall to wall with people who had been involved, however small their part, with the House of Knowledge project. Right next door, the final building, the Little Boston Library, glowed under the attention of its dedication and what it meant — finishing the plan to alter the face of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

“Oh good, it’s a perfect day,” said Tribal Chairman Ron Charles as he watched the crowds of people packing into the library for tours. “It feels really special to see the whole project completed. I didn’t have any idea there would be this many people today.”

Tribe rolls dice on new casino options

HANSVILLE — The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is placing its bets the public will react well to a new retail and commercial space planned to be constructed in the next couple of years — a complex that will include a new Point Casino building and hotel.

Tribal Chief Executive Officer Doug Quade revealed several of the tribe’s high cards to the Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council at an Oct. 9 meeting in the form of several preliminary designs and potential ideas for the new casino.

“We’ve had two open houses so far, one with the tribe and one with (The Point Casino Players Club),” Quade said. “I brought four drawings of site designs, including the look of the full interior, the look of the full exterior. We have approximately 60 acres of 80 acres reserved on Hansville Road for this commercial development.”

Friends of Miller Bay ecstatic at making deadline

MILLER BAY — Dick D’Archangel was riding a rush of emotion Oct. 29, just one day before an important deadline fell for the Friends of Miller Bay. After four years, the group was able to produce the last dollar of $273,000 to pay for the final five acres of 18 purchased by Kitsap County in 2003.

In July, D’Archangel, along with the rest of the FOMB members, were writing to past donors trying to squeeze out the final $37,000 for the land. They came through in a big way, he said, enthusiastically writing checks and providing support to the non-profit group.

WSF inks 20-year deal with Port of Kingston

KINGSTON — The Port of Kingston announced Nov. 29 it has reached an agreement with the Washington State Ferry system for a 20-year lease that effectively began in 2000.

Negotiations between the two entities had become strained after ferry officials said about eight years ago they were considering purchasing the Kingston ferry dock outright as well as urbanizing it, suggestions which ran contrary to what the port wanted as far as developments to the site.

About five months ago, the WSF counselor approached the port’s attorney to solidify a new agreement — one that incorporates only a concessions cart at the ferry terminal, said Port of Kingston Commissioner Pete DeBoer.

“What we conceded was they can have a small portable cart on wheels to cater to people on the dock,” he said. “We’re happy with it, they’ve got bigger issues than the lease in Kingston to worry about now, what with the Port Townsend/Keystone run and the vessels and financial concerns.”

North End picks up the pieces after storm

As the waters recede, the rain ceases and reports for unusual weather abate, North Kitsap communities are assessing the damage and feeling relieved it wasn’t as bad as other parts of the county. All things considered, the Kingston area as well as Hansville, Port Gamble, Indianola and Suquamish faired well compared to the massive flooding and mudslides in other communities.

Not all areas scraped by unscathed, however, as the Kitsap County Web site reported Indianola Road was still closed Dec. 5. Preliminary assessments were started, but a determination when the road would reopen was not available. It was reported Indianola Road, at Orca Drive and Beachwood Avenue, suffered damage to the road surface during the storm.

“Well, it’s still closed,” said Indianola Beach Improvement Committee President Duane Niemi Tuesday. “I just came through there now, and you have to take a couple of detours to get to downtown Indianola. There was some damage in Indianola, well, everyone seems to be coping. We’ve had a few leaky roofs, but nothing serious.”

Speed table meeting makes for bumpy ride

HANSVILLE — Contention, frustration and anger overflowed during a Road Safety Advisory Committee Dec. 4 as Hansville residents expressed their views on the recently installed speed tables. Many were there to voice concerns over the process the committee and Kitsap County used to attain the safety additions, as well as frustration with the traffic calming devices themselves. Others attended to thank the group for its hard work and willingness to take steps to help lessen what they see as a major speeding problem in the North End community.

Installed in early October, and later altered because of design flaws, the speed tables allow motorists to traverse them at about 30 mph and meant to keep drivers from reaching excessive speeds. Each table — basically an elongated speed bump — features an 8-foot ramp to a 10-foot plateau.

A split has now formed between residents who feel the additions are a worthwhile venture and those who feel they were the worst idea imaginable.

Tribe to move forward with dock after appeal denied

SUQUAMISH — A 526-foot dock proposed by the Suquamish Tribe will continue to float forward after the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners denied an appeal of the plan Dec. 5. The dock is being constructed as a part of the tribe’s efforts to revitalize the tribe and its neighborhoods before the summer of 2009, when Suquamish will be the final destination for the Tribal Journeys canoe trip.

The Shoreline Management Board, made up of five appellants with concerns about the dock and other capital projects, will meet soon to decide what actions it will take next. One fact appellant and board member Thornton Percival clarified is he and the others will continue to be active in addressing their concerns regarding this projects.

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