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SCAC to host first open house for community

SUQUAMISH — North End residents looking for something interesting to do Friday night may find it in the wealth of information the Suquamish Citizens Advisory Council has organized in the form of an open house. With 24 groups from the Suquamish Tribe, Kitsap County, North Kitsap School District and other organizations signed on to be at the Suquamish Elementary School gymnasium that evening, the public will have more than enough to keep them occupied during the three-hour event.

The open house will be the first attempted by SCAC members, and is structured after the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council’s hugely successful annual gathering. SCAC Chairman Kevin McDonald said Suquamish’s northern neighbors have been extremely helpful in sharing hints and advice for a positive gathering.

“I called and talked with the people who run Kingston, and their message was keep it as straightforward as possible, as simple as possible,” he said. “(Kitsap County) Commissioner Steve Bauer will be there, (Suquamish Tribal) Chairman Leonard Forsman will be there. Kingston has offered us some really good advice.”

With all of the departments and groups signed up to attend, SCAC members have spent the final week before the open house posting additional fliers, signs and spreading the word about the event, hoping to reach and interest as many Suquamish residents as possible.

SCAC member Sandy Senter said all of the people she’s talked to have said they will be there as it sounds like both a fun and informative evening.

“We’ll know when we get there,” she said of how many people will attend. “Kevin’s been in touch with all of the tribal departments, and so far they are all coming.”

Senter said the SCAC has not yet discussed how the open house could evolve, members are waiting instead to see how successful the first year is before altering or expanding the event. McDonald said he hopes residents utilize the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns about some of the changes and projects planned for their community.

“What’s really exciting about this is the county and the tribe have a lot of plans for the next couple of years,” he said. “We have had very good success getting participants to respond and sign up.”

The Suquamish Tribe is making improvements such as a new dock, Traditional Community House and a new museum and arts center in the next two years before the 2009 Tribal Journeys embarks. The open house will give residents a chance to comment and clarify what the plans are.

“You know, I think this is really exciting,” Senter said. “This is a really great opportunity for everyone.”

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