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North End closes out another noteworthy year

Fire fatality.

Lowell Quesnell, 77, lost his life in January while trying to stop a stove fire from destroying the waterfront cabin he had owned for more than 40 years. Quesnell, who was wheelchair bound, would not stop fighting a fire that would also destroy his home.

Ferry hopes float, sink, then float again.

The passenger-only ferry front in 2001 had its share of ups and downs beginning early in the year. A rally was held in Olympia to let lawmakers know that Kitsap County is serious about its transportation.

In March, the Victoria Clipper submitted an application with the Transportation Commission to begin a commuter ferry service from Kingston to Seattle. Clipper had surveyed area commuters to test the level of interest in providing passenger only service. The service would have started Oct.1, 2001.

Later that same month, Clipper withdrew its application saying union opposition would be too much to handle. The costs of fighting the Inland Boatman’s Union would not have been a good business venture.

Earthquake rocks Kingston.

A Feb. 28 earthquake reminded everyone the Pacific Rim is alive and well. Students at Wolfle Elementary went into drill mode as they dove under desks and waited for the quake to pass. They then filed outside while school officials and fire department personnel checked the building for damage. Little if any damage was caused in the north end.

Boards fly at Kingston Skatepark.

Throngs of teens converged on the cement obstacles of the long-awaited skate park on Lindvog Road in Kingston. The park was the brainchild of the Kingston Junior High Skateboard club who spent about a year raising money for the eventual skater’s paradise. The group raised about $5,000 for the $150,000 park was funded by the Kitsap County Parks and Recreation department.

The Billie Johnson Skatepark broke ground April 11 and opened in mid-July.

The 8,500 square foot park has been heralded by boarders as one of the best around. It features a funbox, bowl, and plenty of rails. The park was named for one of its biggest proponents who was killed in a January 2000 car accident.

Chief Sealth’s grave has rocky year.

Vandals, who are yet to be apprehended, toppled and broke the three-foot marble cross on top of Chief Sealth’s grave.

The site had been undisturbed for more than a century. The incident took place in early May. The Suquamish Police Department is still offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the crime.

The community, both tribal and non-tribal expressed outrage at the person or people who desecrated the leader’s final resting place. The community, like the gravestone, was put back together again and perhaps made stronger by the trauma.

Sound Stoneworks of Kingston repaired the cross and cleaned the rest of the marble monument. The community then held a rededication ceremony to honor the Suquamish Tribe’s leader who promoted peace among the people.

In November, Gov. Gary Locke the City of Seattle, tribal and county officials held a wreath laying ceremony as part of Seattle’s 150th birthday celebration.

NKF&R has banner year.

Three new stations, one merger and plenty of business as usual along the way marks North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s 2001.

In January, NKF&R and Hansville District 14 officially merged, dissolving the Hansville district. Later in the year Station 89 on Twin Spits Road near Prospect. The station (as with the South Kingston Road station) has sleeping quarters for four crew members, a sleeping area/office for the officer in charge, a small weight room, kitchen, dining and living areas. The stations are about 5,500 square feet including apparatus bays.

Station 81 — NKF&R’s headquarters — is located on Miller Bay Road. It has sleeping quarters for eight and includes a public meeting room. The community got to see the station firsthand in December when it held an open house.

Suquamish woman killed, murderer gets life in jail.

Barbara Sneed’s murder rocked her quiet Fern Street neighborhood this July. Her caretaker found the 65-year old Sneed in her home. The murder occurred on an unknown date in late July. Teams of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department detectives worked for months canvassing the area and calming fears. Rumors about the murderers whereabouts swirled around as they worked to solve the crime.

Months later deputies arrested and charged DuWayne Bender of Suquamish. He pled guilty to aggravated first degree murder charges and will carry out a life sentence with no chance for parole. DNA evidence submitted by Bender and evidence collected at the murder scene linked him to the crime, detectives said. Bender, a former neighbor of Sneed, also confessed to committing the crime.

WSF worker rescued from perilous waters.

A Washington State Ferries employee received relatively minor injuries and escaped harm after a transfer span he was standing on collapsed and plunged into Appletree Cove.

A man nearby dove into the water and pulled the worker to safety as a boat full of ferry passengers looked on. A cable that apparently controls the counterbalance weight snapped, sending the ramp into the water. The cause of the accident is being investigated by the Department of Labor and Industries.

Tribe land trades stall.

The Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes faced the same fate when trying to move forward on land trades and purchases with the Department of Natural Resources. Both deals were put on hold indefinitely when public hearings revealed opposition to both plans. The Suquamish Tribe tried to make a land trade for tidelands next to its tribal center. In return it offered to give the department a stretch of tidelands on Bainbridge Island. The S’Klallam tribe has been working to purchase about 400 acres adjacent to their reservation boundaries. The tribe maintained the deal was to secure additional land for the future, but neighbors and the community worried the tribe would build on the land.

Kingston makes headway on future.

This year Kingston took two big steps in resolving two issues related to how the community will look several years from now. First the community’s advisory committee made its recommendation for the Village Green plan. They decided to make Kola Kole Park into a village green with a pavilion and small community building. A large park with ballfields and a larger community center is planned for the current water treatment plant site.

A 15-member steering committee also made headway on the Urban Growth boundaries for Kingston. They narrow the plan down to two alternatives, one that includes the school sites and one that does not. Environmental Impact Statements are in the process of being done for each of the boundary plans.

United we stand.

Sept. 11 brought out the community spirit in the north end from children selling lemonade at the Kingston Farmer’s Market to people constructing homemade signs of support. The horrific events brought out generosity and compassion from people here as they sent money and good thoughts to New York CIty, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Flags waved and still wave throughout town as a reminder of how the world has changed.

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