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Kitsap County: A year in review

By CHARLIE BERMANT

Kitsap County writer

Some of the large and small Kitsap County headlines of 2007 included:

• January: The New Year began with a new county commissioner, Central Kitsap’s Josh Brown, but another key county position had a new face. County Administrator Cris Gears moved back to Minnesota and was replaced by Poulsbo native Nancy Buonanno Grennan.

The county commissioners endorsed a plan to subsidize foot ferries between Bremerton and Seattle, but the measure was eventually defeated by voters.

A list of legislative priorities supported ferry funding and other transportation needs, but stayed neutral on NASCAR.

• February: Kitsap County filled its final department head position with the appointment of New Mexican Chip Faver as Parks and Recreation director. He came to the county with more than 15 years of related experience.

Renovation work began on the public works building to correct faulty windows and porous walls. The renovations were scheduled to take at least a year to complete.

The county outlined specific efficiency goals for each department in anticipation of budget discussions.

• March: State Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor) was criticized for “racist” remarks he made about NASCAR fans. He later said they were directed at the corporation.

The Kitsap Health District and Kitsap County faced off in a competition to see whose employees could lose the most weight.

• April: NASCAR abandoned plans for a Kitsap County racetrack.

Jan Angel announces she will not seek another term as South Kitsap commissioner, while North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen announces plans to join U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s staff.

By the end of the year Angel is reconsidering her decision.

• May: The Kitsap Regional Libraries fail to gain voter support for a library lift. The astonished staff immediately begins plans to cut services.

Longtime state senator and Port Orchard resident Bob Oke died after battling blood cancer for three years. Oke, 66, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2004. He received two stem cell transplants, the last in 2006 from his brother.

• June: The Kitsap County Department of Community Development (DCD) has changed its permitting process and cleared a backlog of 125 requests out of its system over the past two months.

“We found we were not getting to our permits in a timely manner, so we took a number of those that had been around for some time and cleared them up,” DCD Director Larry Keeton said.

In an effort to increase safety and decrease speeding, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office loaned out radar speed detection devices to neighborhood groups.

A $1 million allocation that will be used to install infrastructure for the Port of Bremerton’s proposed Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project drew the ire of South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who said the nature of the grant has changed since it was first approved by the county.

• July: Steve Bauer takes over as the new North Kitsap Commissioner, Josh Brown becomes board chair.

A political blog allegedly written by a Kitsap County employee about local government issues suddenly disappeared.

• August: The Kitsap County Health District approved a series of cost-cutting measures expected to affect the quality and availability of public health service.

“Public health funding is now in crisis,” Kitsap County Health District Director Dr. Scott Lindquist said.

The Kitsap County Rodeo and Stampede draws record crowds, also raising money for the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” cancer prevention program.

The county commissioners consider a proposal to raise car license fees in selected areas to fund specific road projects.

• September: The Kitsap County commissioners adopted a 60-day emergency ordinance imposing a development moratorium in some of the county’s urban-growth areas.

South Kitsap resident Monty Mahan filed the required public disclosure documents for his bid for the South Kitsap Commissioner job. Mahan said he ran because Jan Angel was retiring, but when she hinted at a change of heart, Mahan said he was in the race to stay.

Port Orchard Mayoral Candidate Lary Coppola said he wanted to stay on the Kitsap County Planning Commission if he wins the mayor’s race.

• October: Kitsap County commissions the Votemobile, a voting machine-equipped van scheduled to visit 19 locations, mostly senior citizen centers.

The Kitsap County Parks and Recreation Task Force completed nearly two months of study about how to make the system more sustainable and efficient.

• November: In an effort to connect with the public, the county commissioners move their regular meeting to Monday night. Attendance skyrockets, with a corresponding increase in meeting length.

The Veterans Day commemoration, a combination of several previously existing celebrations, draws two U.S. Senators, a congressman and several other dignitaries.

The county announces its first balanced budget in a decade.

• December: More than 200 South Kitsap residents gather for a spontaneous counter-demonstration against an evangelical group that intended to disrupt a soldier’s funeral.

A 100-year flood drowns Kitsap, for the second time in four years. Hundreds of roads are closed but are re-opened in days.

For the seventh consecutive year, Kitsap County was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the 2007 EPA WasteWise Program Local Government Partner of the Year.

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