Poulsbo shows progress with college, rates, library

Little Norway takes big steps forward as it strides to 2003.

Bellringer tops $25,000 goal

The 2001-2002 Bellringer campaign broke the $31,000 mark as donations were wrapped up in January. The annual fund-raiser, sponsored by the Raab Foundation and the Poulsbo Noon Lions, gathers resources that are used throughout the year to help residents of the North Kitsap School District.

Poulsbo, Olhava and OC reach agreement

Years of talk, deliberation and frustration came to an end Jan. 2 as the Poulsbo City Council, Olympic College and officials from Olhava Associates reached a long-awaited agreement on the local branch campus. Hailed by Mayor Donna Jean Bruce as possibly the “most important thing” the city council would do in 2002, the official Memorandum of Understanding allowed the 20-acre project finalize planning and begin actual construction. One driver for reaching the agreement was that delays on the allocated money, originally set at $13 million, had already cost the college roughly $100,000. The 20-acre campus is set to open in late-2003.

Front Street work begins in Poulsbo

Surveyors began taking measurements for impending improvements to Front Street, between Jensen Way and Lindvig Way, for a street widening and resurfacing project set to begin later in the year. The $1.37 million project, which tore up the street and raised the ire of downtown businesses during the usually lucrative summer tourist season, began in mid April and concluded in August behind the originally scheduled completion date.

Munroe loses council appeal

Former Poulsbo City Councilwoman Donene Munroe lost an appeal to regain the council position 3 seat in a January Washington State Court of Appeals decision. Munroe resigned the council post, which was later filled by current councilman Jim Henry, in February of 2000 after she was asked to recuse herself from votes on the proposed Olhava development. Munroe later changed her mind, and after losing to Henry for the position in the fall 2001 election filed suit in Kitsap County Superior Court.

City council ponders a new municipal campus

The city council unanimously agreed to continue efforts to move government offices from sites on Jensen Way, Hostmark Street and 8th Avenue to a single location on the corner of 7th Avenue and Iverson Way, the site of a planned municipal campus. The 27,000-square-foot building plan calls for a budget of $5.7 million and about $1.1 million in site work. If the city sells $5 million in bonds to fund the campus and pays the amount back over 25 years at 4.9 percent its average annual payment would be about $350,000. The city can come up with the money each year by using $100,000 in current debt service; $100,000 in real estate excise tax; $75,000 in admissions tax revenues; and $75,000 in utility support for government facilities.

Port of Poulsbo fires manager

Claiming that manager Barbara Waltz had committed malfeasances and misappropriations, Port of Poulsbo Commissioners voted unanimously to terminate her from the payroll in February. The board gave her a choice to either resign or be terminated. Waltz denied this claim and refused to resign, noting, “I would like the record to show I was given a choice and I did not say I would like to be terminated.” The claims against Waltz included allegations that she had disobeyed port policy on liveaboards, taken a work desk home, allowed port employees to salvage items off an abandoned boat, written off moorage costs for one tenant and changed boathouse charges for another tenant.

Appeals denied, continue for Lemolo group

For the second time Richard Best and members of the Lemolo Citizens Club received disheartening news from Kitsap County Hearings Examiner Stephen Causseaux, Jr. that their appeal of the Kitsap County’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the central Wastewater Facilities Plan had been denied in February. The group’s claimed that the sewage proposal did not adequately address environmental concerns and that the issue of pressurizing the existing underwater lines to the sewage station at Brownsville was not addressed by the hearings examiner in his previous findings. It also said a successful inflow and infiltration reduction program by Poulsbo had negated the need for the project. Just weeks later the group again appealed the decision.

Iverson honored with park name

The city council agreed in February to honor Betty Iverson’s long-lasting commitment to Poulsbo by renaming Scandia Knolls Kiwanis Park to Betty Iverson Kiwanis Park to pay tribute to the example she set through a life of volunteering. Iverson, who died of cancer in 2000, was involved with the Poulsbo Tree Board, the Marine Science Center, Kindergarten Reading Program, Iodine Deficiency Disorders Project, the Kiwanis’ Bicycle Rodeos, kindergarten parenting classes and numerous other programs to benefit the greater Poulsbo community.

Martha & Mary survives budget

After concerns that local nursing homes like Martha & Mary would suffer major losses from the state’s $1.6 billion budgetary knife, the blow ended up being softer than originally thought. Under the governor’s original plan, the 111-year-old institution was on the financial brink and staring at an existence-threatening $1.1 million annual loss. A proposal from the senate and house restored $69 million in state-sponsored Medicaid programs throughout the state, deterring any huge cuts in service at Martha and Mary for now. Reactions to the budget were mixed as it restored $69 million in cuts to nursing homes but kept about $2.8 million in Medicaid reductions for assisted living centers.

Port wall funding search continues

An eroding rock bulkhead that presently serves as the sole buffer for Waterfront Park became a cementing force between the City of Poulsbo and the Port of Poulsbo in March as the two realized they needed each other to acquire the needed funding. The 26-year-old wall has been sloughing since it was built. Roughly $1.8 million in grant money that could have been used to fix the problem went down the drain over the past year as well-scored grant applications were denied because of a lack of cooperation. The city and port decided to fully partner in the project and as of November, the two had chosen a consultant to work on solutions for the still-moving landmass.

Eddings named Miss Poulsbo 2002

“I can’t believe it, oh my goodness, I’m Miss Poulsbo,” exclaimed Kristen Eddings as she was picked from a field of 12 contestants to serve as the 2002 Miss Poulsbo. The daughter of Gary and Anita Eddings of Silverdale, Eddings was a senior at Klahowya Secondary School and chose school violence prevention as her platform. Heidi Bay, daughter of Michael and Ericka Bay, was chosen first runner up and Miss Spirit of Poulsbo, as well as the winner of the scholarship award for her 4.0 GPA at Klahowya. Maria Knox was fourth runner up, Hannah Burbank was third runner up, Megan Hornbuckle was second runner up and received the talent and Miss Congeniality awards. Diana Myrvang won the people’s choice talent award.

City eyes water and sewer rate increases

The Poulsbo Public Works Department’s study of the city’s current utility rate structure, entering its second year, showed that a new fee schedule will likely include raises for some customers. The study was undertaken in January 2001 because rates for water hadn’t been raised in about 10 years and sewer rates hadn’t been changed since 1998. The study also aimed to create equity among customer classes. The new rate structure was passed in December.

Broadband inches closer to Poulsbo

Poulsbo City Council approved a telecommunications master permit for the Kitsap Public Utilities district in April, effectively approving installation of a broadband fiber backbone that will wind its way through Poulsbo. The next day crews were already stringing cable down Finn Hill along existing power poles to Poulsbo, up Lincoln and out toward Kingston. Another piece of the backbone was planned for 305, potentially linking with Bainbridge Island. KPUD planned to string line through Kitsap in a $4.5 million project that still needs “last mile” solutions to hook up customers.

Library elevator gets funding lift

The Poulsbo public library’s bid for an elevator was finally awarded with a $50,000 State Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant in April. An elevator was desired for the remodeled structure, which was completed in January 2001, however, there was not enough money in the original budget so only the infrastructure was completed. The project was expected to be out to bid by the end of 2002 and the elevator is set to be in place by late spring of 2003.

Duchemin named Miss Viking Fest.

Alex Duchemin was chosen as the 2002 Miss Viking Fest out of seven competing girls faced off in third annual event. Kelsey Erickson and Victoria Jones were named princesses. Duchemin won for most ticket sales, highest GPA and best speech. Erickson also won the Miss Congeniality award. Lindsey Stockton won the director’s award for “coming out of her shell.”

City loses method of annexation

The Supreme Court invalidated a popular planning method in April when it ruled that the much-used petition procedure of annexation is unconstitutional. Without the 57-year-old petition method in place, cities throughout the state will be facing a technique that could realistically be termed “annexation without property owner representation.” Besides putting the burden on cities over actual annexations, the ruling also put the city into a quandry over how it should proceed with utility extensions outside of its boundaries, which it decided to halt for the time being in May.

City faces decision on Nelson house

The 33-member Bight of Poulsbo offered its help to the city should it decide to renovate the dilapidated Nelson Park Farm house. Repairing the historic homestead will cost about $180,000 and in order to make the restoration dream a reality, the city will have to come up with some supporting money. In August the group revived its Mudstock music festival, which over one weekend raised about $4,000, as well as a lot of publicity for the renovation projects. The city council and Bight reached a formal agreement to have the non-profit renovate the home in December and the house is expected to be finished and ready for occupation as the new caretaker’s abode by June 1, 2003.

Viking Fest cheers Poulsbo’s heritage

May once again saw the return of Poulsbo’s annual Viking Fest celebration complete with the parade, bands, singers, dancers, kickers, fireworks over Liberty Bay. Besides Vikings roaming the city streets, Norwegian heritage was the talk of the event, with entertainment like a lutefisk eating contest where 2000 champion Eric Perkins’ snagged the title back from Poulsbo’s Tom Westerlund.

Poulsbo finally gets UGA

The City of Poulsbo UGA process, which had been in the works since 1997, finalized with the city council’s approval in June. The plan didn’t come easy as the city and county often took contrary positions during the process. The existing plan accommodates 20-year growth based on the state Office of Financial Management’s 1992 statistics. The OFM expects 8,000 residents in Poulsbo by 2012, meaning that in the next few years Poulsbo and Kitsap County will have to start considering how to allocate additional population through 2032.

New Library faces weedy problem

Poulsbo library and Public Works staff announced in June that weeds at the newly renovated library was beginning to outrun the resources of caretakers. It was originally hoped that the care of the expanded landscaping that was part of the revamped library would be taken care of by the Friends of the Library and the Poulsbo Garden Club, however the care was too much work. The Friends of the Library are willing to purchase beauty bark and weed-deterring landscape fabric, but said the city needed to establish a maintenance routine and budget in 2003.

Poulsbo hosts Midsommer Fest

Flying dogfish, a Viking bonfire and lots of family-oriented fun marked the true beginning of summer as the Sons of Norway hosted Midsommer Fest. Kids took part in events like the potato sack, balance beam and three-legged races for starters while adults enjoyed Norwegian folk dancing, music and the solstice fire.

Lions roar over picnic shelter

The June razing of the long-standing picnic shelter at Raab Park was a major sticking point for the Poulsbo Noon Lions. The organization, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in September, donated the time, materials and talent to build the structure in the 1960s and were not consulted by the city before it was demolished. City staff said the structure had to be taken down for safety reasons and they did not realize the history of the shelter.

Library suit wraps up

In July the city announced a non-binding arbitration date had been set between it and Flag Construction of Kent for August over a furnishings dispute with the newly remodeled city library. The contractor claimed the city stuck it with about $1.1 million in furnishings and other related costs not outlined in their approved contract. Arbitration was later delayed until October and then an out-of court settlement for $140,000 from the city was reached in December to avoid a November 2003 court date.

Poulsbo man affects ferry schedule changes

Mark Nazarino, a Poulsbo resident and technician at a Seattle television station, led a battle in August against two proposed Washington State Ferry schedule changes that would have eliminate the 5:20 a.m. Bainbridge-to-Seattle run. Nazarino spent days giving speeches and collecting signatures aboard his ferry run said he knew others workers firefighters, nurses, longshoremen and other blue collar workers relied on the run to get to work just as he did. The WSF eventually decided to keep the run.

Poulsbo opts for KPUD WAN

The City of Poulsbo decided in August to build a broadband wide area network (WAN) to link city offices with the help of the completed KPUD fiber optic backbone. The WAN is underway and the city is currently exploring ways to possibly share the capabilities with other municipalities.

City wavers on extension package

In August the city approved $1.47 million utility extension to the northern UGA and Olhava property. The project was later scrapped because the city was unable to fully predict its revenue capabilities in order to sell bonds because of its ongoing utility rate study. A pared-down project costing only about $555,179, which Poulsbo will pay through reserve funds and an interfund loan, was approved in its place.

Rudolph down but not out

Poulsbo City Councilman Dale Rudolph was involved in a bicycle accident in August which put him in a full-leg cast for several weeks. During his inability to visit City Hall for council and committee meetings, Rudolph and the city communicated through e-mails, conference calls and other innovative ideas. Rudolph was up and walking by the end of the year.

City adopts new cutting rules

The city adopted an addition to its Critical Areas Ordinance that prohibits tree cutting, tree topping, tree trimming and vegetation clearing in critical areas without approval from the city and possibly a permit. The idea for the change came from community members who were concerned about the health of these areas, which contain either wetlands or unstable slopes. Planner said in most cases normal maintenance activity poses no threat to public safety or environmental concerns, however they want to be able to review proposed projects.

City commemorates Sept. 11 anniversary

Hanging flags and committing to acts of kindness and love were the order of the day as North Kitsap commemorated the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

OC breaks out the golden shovels

Touted as “probably one of the greatest days in the history of Poulsbo,” by Poulsbo Mayor Donna Jean Bruce, the Poulsbo branch of Olympic College at the Olhava property broke ground in September. The event marked the end of more than 10 years of planning and frustration between the college and the City of Poulsbo. The campus is expected to be serving students in 2004

MSC gets first “fin” lift

A new reception area, octopus tank and artwork are just some of the changes that got underway as part of a $168,000 face lift to the Marine Science Center in September. The phased project, which is the first remodel of the center since its opening in 1990, includes a planned Liberty Bay exhibit, possibly a weather center, a remodeled children’s area and updated exhibits with “on-demand” videos. The remodel is planned to be finalized by the end of 2003.

Festival wows, raises ire

The Septemberfest carnival, offered by the Viking Fest Corporation, returned to the Poulsbo waterfront in September after a year’s hiatus. While organizers called the event a success because of a small but steady stream of festival-goers, downtown businesses were not singing the event’s praises. Store owners said the carnival was too loud and took away needed parking on one of the last weekends of an already slow summer. Viking Fest Corporation is currently looking into alternate locations and methods for Septemberfest to avoid further conflict.

Grant to build up Nelson

Poulsbo Parks and Recreation received a $320,000 matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to develop the about 3.5 acres of the 11-acre Nelson Park into passive parkland. Development, set to take place during the summer of 2003, will include a 16-stall parking area, picnic and children’s play areas and landscaping, infrastructure and a right-turn-only exit onto Viking Avenue.

Recount finds Stephenson winner

In one of the closest political battles in the county, Poulsbo resident Barbara Stephenson edged out Poulsbo resident Paulette Alvarado by 107 votes in primary to take the Kitsap County Treasurer’s spot. The race for the open position was decided in the primary because only two Democrats chose to vie for the seat.

‘Fisk returns for 89th annual dinner

Between 1,100 and 1,200 people enjoyed a traditional Norwegian delicacy at the 89th annual First Lutheran Lutefisk dinner in October. For weeks, the church labored with the 2,000 pieces of lefse, 600 pounds of meatballs and more than 200 dozen Norwegian cookies that were just some of the accompaniments to the 2,000 pounds of New Day Fishery lutefisk that was cooked up for the occasion.

One pageant, two crowns announced

Organizers of the 49th annual Miss Poulsbo pageant announced in November that the Miss America-affiliated program would also be reviving the Miss Kitsap pageant in 2002. The Miss Kitsap pageant faded away in the 1980s, however, Miss Poulsbo pageant organizers decided to bring it back to give a wider range of local women a chance to compete. Contestants for Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap will compete at the same pageant, scheduled March 15, 2003 in the Bremerton High School Auditorium.

Olhava work surges suddenly

Work on the 216-acre Olhava construction project surprised Poulsbo staff as a surge in progress was made in November just weeks before the site was to close for the winter. The site’s four main reservoirs, including one on the 20-acre Olympic College site, were completed including sediment traps and graded areas were hydroseeded and covered with erosion control. Although Olhava representatives were tight lipped about whether the eleventh-hour growth spurt signaled the possibility of tenants for the development, they did say receiving grading permits earlier in the year gave them greater leverage in negotiations with possible tenants for the development’s planned commercial areas.

Hwy 305 project hits redirection

The failure of Referendum 51 hit home as a $15 million highway 305 project that was part of the transportation package was left with only about half of the necessary funds for the much-needed traffic fix. The city has since recommended at the Department of Transportation has concurred that the plan to add at least one peak-hour HOV lane in each direction, and bike lanes and sidewalks to the two mile length of 305 from Bond Road to the southern Poulsbo city limits should be phased.

The referendum failure will also likely have effects on the cost of city utility extensions.

The results are in on Nov. vote

The Nov. 5 general election had the following local results: Incumbent State Representative Bev Woods of Poulsbo (R) trumped Poulsbo resident and challenger Sherry Appleton (D); challenger Patty Lent (R) beat incumbent Tim Botkin (D) for his seat as a Kitsap County Commissioner; County Sheriff Steve Boyer (D) was re-elected over challenger William Johnston (L); The County Property Tax Lid Lift was rejected; The County Public Facilities District was rejected.

Transit station work begins

Ground was broken on the Kitsap Transit 8th Avenue Transit Station in November, ending years of promises for the future traffic fix. The station, which is expected to be completed sometime around the first of 2003 will relieve traffic congestion along 8th Avenue in front of Christ Memorial Church, which is frequented by transfer busses that must make extended stops.

Sons’ ‘fisk also draws crowds

More than 400 people braved severe winter weather to attend the Sons of Norway’s fourth annual Lutefisk Dinner in November. Crowds began arriving at Grieg Hall at noon for the 1 p.m. event start and at most times between 30 and 40 people were waiting in a staging area for an open seat. About half an hour before the event was scheduled to wrap up, a happy but tired volunteer staff hung a “sold out” sign outside of the hall.

City deeply trims budget

Despite careful budgeting, the City of Poulsbo announced a 4.8 percent cut almost across the board to its 2003 levels of funding. The cuts were said to be necessary because of the accumulative effects of a handful of issues over the last two to three years having to do with expenditures rising faster than revenue. The proposed cuts also assume $600,000 in carry forward from the 2002 budget and some cuts could be restored if the carryforward comes in higher than expected. This information will be known early in 2003.

Jule Fest lights up Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge celebrated its annual Jule Fest in December. This traditional Norwegian celebration has been a mainstay in Europe for hundreds of years that has been celebrated in Little Norway since the 1980s. The event included Miss Poulsbo Kristen Eddings lighting the community Christmas tree, Dr. Roy Johnson enlightening the crowd on Norwegian Christmas traditions, and Sons of Norway Vikings and Lucia Bride Brittany Yendrall inspiring gatherers with a solemn procession and bonfire lighting.