News

2007: The year in review

By KASSIE KORICH

Editor

It’s almost time to ring in the new year, but before we welcome 2008, we must revisit the events that made 2007 — and what a year it was. Whether it was the closure of two longtime schools or the wild weather that took Central Kitsap for a crazy ride, both at the beginning and end of the year, here’s a look back at the most memorable happenings of the year that was 2007.

CK’s accolades

Central Kitsap High School’s David Pevovar made his school proud after he was voted the Advanced Placement Teacher of the Year for Washington state by the Siemens Corporation and College Board in March. A CKHS teacher of more than 20 years, Pevovar has been involved with the AP program throughout his career. This year, he taught a full schedule of only AP math and science courses.

“This is a really special honor,” Pevovar said. “Only 50 are named in the nation.”

In June, The TuTu girls, made up of Central Kitsap Junior High School students Ali Gingrey, Dana Rubenstein, Julie Fedorko, Lauren Cox, Scarlett Broere, Shannon Luetich and Elizabeth “ZZ” Cook, showed just how creative and skilled they really are, taking home first place at the global Destination Imagination competition at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Central Kitsap High School earned distinct national honors in June when it was named one of the United States’ best high schools by Newsweek magazine, for the fifth time. The school’s score, 415 out of 1,258, was based on the number of Advanced Placement tests taken by students.

Silverdale was again put on the map in July when it was named No. 99 in Money magazine’s “Best Places to Live: Top 100.” The list focused on smaller places that offer economic opportunity, good schools, safe streets, things to do and a sense of community.

In October, not one, but three awards were bestowed upon Central Kitsap by “Evening Magazine” viewers in the Best of Western Washington contest. Silver City Restaurant & Brewery was honored with two awards, “Best Neighborhood Watering Hole” and “Best Brewmaster.” Clear Creek Trail earned acclaim as the “Best Hidden Hiking Trail.”

Just this month, the Bremerton-Silverdale area was named No. 10 on Farmers Insurance’s 2007 “Most Secure Places to Live” list out of 127 U.S. cities with populations of 150,000 to 500,000. The rankings took into account variables such as crime statistics, extreme weather, terrorist threats and life expectancy.

Farewell

William James Hibbs, a local Navy chief and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue volunteer firefighter, died tragically in March after a head-on car crash on Highway 101. He was 42. Hibbs was a respected chief petty officer at Naval Base Kitsap and was in charge of the physical readiness program.

“This will be a tremendous loss to our command,” said Tom Danaher, Naval Base Kitsap spokesman.

Hibbs also was a volunteer firefighter at CKFR’s Station 52 on Olympic View Road.

Olympic High School lost longtime teacher Darryl Gellert to heart failure in April. Gellert taught at OHS for 28 years and was a teacher in the business education department. He was 61 years old. Gellert was remembered as a positive force at the school.

A major void was left in the community with the untimely death of Kitsap County Fair Board Vice President John Chittenden. He died of a heart attack in late April at the age of 60. He was involved in several community organizations including the Kitsap Rodeo Cowpokes, U.S. Navy League and Disabled American Veterans. He was on the Fair Board for six years, serving as president in 2005 and 2006.

“He put in numerous hours out there. He was part of the Fair Board team and a big part. He will be missed,” said fellow Fair Board member Jim Rye.

The community bid a fond farewell to Clear Creek Trail founder Paul Brittain in January. He died after a long illness at the age of 67. Brittain, a Silverdale pharmacist, was instrumental in making sure that Silverdale was more than a commercial center by backing a number of outdoor public spaces from Silverdale Waterfront Park, Old Mill Park and Anderson Landing to the Clear Creek Trail.

Helen Higgen, the owner of Helen’s Health Foods, was known as a local pioneer of the health food industry. She died May 1 at 99 years old. Higgen and her husband opened the first health food store in Kitsap County in 1940. She also was a pioneer for local women as it wasn’t typical for women to own their own businesses in the 1940s. Her family continues to operate the health store at Kitsap Mall.

Known as the “founding father” of Silverdale, Ken Hermanson died of a heart attack May 20 in Bremerton with his family members by his side. He was 77 years old.

“He helped build this community with a lot of other people,” said Hank Mann-Sykes, one of Hermanson’s best friends.

Hermanson moved to Silverdale in 1973 to open Suburban State Bank. Under Hermanson’s leadership, the bank flourished. He retired from Kitsap Bank in 1997. He was an active force in the community, serving as a member of Silverdale Rotary for 23 years and past president of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce.

Wynne Littman will be remembered for her generosity, energy and love for the community. The longtime Kitsap County resident and business owner died in November. She was 66. Littman helped her family’s business, Goldberg’s Jewelers, flourish. She won many awards for her marketing seminars throughout the United States. She also was a founding member of the summer collegiate baseball team, the Kitsap BlueJackets.

“She gave more than what she wanted to receive,” Charlie Littman said of his wife. “She loved everybody and always saw the positive in everyone.”

Changes abound

For new Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, the year started off a little rocky. His residency was challenged by CK resident Robert Ross who alleged Brown lied about his place of residence during his campaign. A second legal challenge was made by Bainbridge Island resident James M. Olsen two weeks later. A court battle ensued in February. Brown was victorious in the case and Olsen withdrew his challenge.

The Central Kitsap Community Campus has been years in the making, but it did move one step forward in March with the completion of the first master plan concept by Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning. Its features include being pedestrian-oriented and low impact, having transit access, green principles, high visibility and capable of accommodating a phased implementation. In October, county and YMCA officials met to discuss bringing the facility to the future campus.

In May, the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce withdrew its partnership from the quicksilver hydroplane races because of a lack of funds, leaving many wondering if the race would still go on. The Unlimited Lights Hydroplane Racing Association quickly announced it would take on the event which went off without a hitch in August.

The last day of school was a sad one for the staff and students of Seabeck and Tracyton Elementary schools. This year marked the end for the two schools which were closed by the Central Kitsap School District as a result of an increasing budget deficit and declining enrollment. Because of the age of the structures, the cost of the multiple repairs needed and yearly upkeep was more than the district could afford.

“What I’m going to miss most is the community feeling. We’ve all become a very tight-knit community,” Seabeck Elementary volunteer Lori Pammeyer said.

Students and staff were relocated to other district schools and many have reported a positive transition.

A 60-year ban on shellfishing in Chico Bay was lifted in June. Along with multiple water samplings conducted by the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program, the Kitsap County Health District completed a pollution identification and correction project in the Chico Bay Watershed.

Kitsap County commissioners implemented four-hour parking limits throughout Old Town Silverdale in June. The project costed about $5,000, which some argued was a waste of money.

A 234-page report was released by Emergency Services Consulting inc. in June that recommended the merging of Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Bremerton Fire Department and South Kitsap Fire & Rescue. A planning committee has since been formed and will meet on a monthly basis. A decision is not expected until 2009.

Silverdale was made a little more pedestrian-friendly in late June with the addition of new traffic lights on Bucklin Hill Road. New traffic lights were installed near Hollywood Video and the pedestrian crosswalk at the Clear Creek Trail. The final cost for the project was $990,000.

Talk of incorporating Silverdale heated up again in August with a meeting to gauge the interest of residents who live in Silverdale’s Urban Growth Area. Talk has cooled for the time being, but should the incorporation process begin, it would be Silverdale’s fourth attempt; the first was in the 1950s followed by another in 1983 and the last attempt in 2000, in which nearly 60 percent of voters were against incorporation.

Long-awaited Chuck E. Cheese’s made its debut in Silverdale with a successful opening in late August.

“The community seems to be pretty excited about having us,” general manager Ron Jackway said soon after the grand opening. “It’s been pretty much nonstop from about 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.”

Parents used to have to travel to Tacoma to find the nearest Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Westbay Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts became one in November. Local NAPA stores closed and merchandise was moved to Westbay locations. Westbay stores continue to be locally owned and operated.

After months of remodeling, Kohl’s opened in November in the former location of Mervyns at Kitsap Mall. The community welcomed the department store with open arms with $110,000 in reported sales on opening day. The store carries a variety of items including clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children as well as kitchen accessories, bedding, cosmetics, luggage, jewelry and more.

Weather woes

2007 started off with a bang after an arctic blast made things interesting for area drivers. Temperatures dipped to freezing and below for several days in January, creating sheets of ice.

“Some (roads) look good, but then you hit a corner with shade and you hit a sheet of ice,” Public Works spokesman Doug Bear said. “You can go from a perfectly dry road to a sheet of ice within seconds.”

Kitsap County Department of Public Works employees worked round the clock to battle the ice. About 2,000 residents lost power after a tree fell on a power line on Anderson Hill Road.

Some have called it the 100-year storm. But whatever you call it, the snow and heavy rains earlier this month left Central Kitsap, as well as other parts of the county and state, paralyzed for days, even weeks in some areas as the flood waters rose beyond belief. Some reports estimate more than 10 inches of rain fell. Coupled with the melting snow, it was the right mixture for disaster. At least 100 different roads were restricted or impassable at the height of the storm. Roads going to and from South Kitsap were closed for hours, wreaking havoc on commuters who were left to sit and wait it out. Repairs on the collapsed Chico Creek bridge and washed out Illahee and Mountain View roads are expected to take several months. Kitsap County was recently added to the list of counties eligible to receive federal individual assistance.

Crime and punishment

Silverdale-based Kitsap Animal Control rescued 19 German shepherds from a Port Orchard home in January that was later condemned. Animal Control officers reported it was one of the most filthy places they had seen. The dogs’ owner, 51-year-old Gerold Ebel, was reportedly selling the animals through local newspapers. Two of the dogs had to be euthanized because they were in such poor states. The remaining dogs, however, were taken to the Kitsap Humane Society where they were later adopted by the Washington German Shepherd Rescue organization. Ebel was charged with second-degree animal cruelty.

Naval Base Kitsap Command Master Chief Edward E. Scott, 44, was arrested in March after a month-long undercover investigation by Bremerton Police detectives and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. An undercover ICAC agent had been posing online as a mother of two 12-year-old twins, according to the Bremerton Police Department. While online communicating from his computer at work, Scott engaged the undercover agent in sexually explicit conversations.

“The conversations became very graphic and specifically involved the ‘mother’ and both children,” according the to Bremerton Police Department. “After extensive communication, Scott requested to meet the ‘mother’ and her two children. Scott provided graphic detail of specific sex acts he wanted to perform, and which he wanted the children to perform as well.”

Scott was arrested at a Bremerton motel where he intended to meet the “mother and her minor children” for sexual activity. He was convicted of soliciting sex with a minor in June and sentenced to nine months in jail and a conditional three-year offender program.

Monica’s Waterfront Bakery experienced a rash of burglaries since the new owners took over in 2006. The thefts continued well into this year.

“We knew things had been going on a while but we finally proved it by putting in cameras,” owner Monica Downen said in April.

Four juveniles, two males and two females, were caught on tape breaking into the outdoor refrigerator. The security tapes were turned over to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Waves were sent through Klahowya Secondary School in April after a 17-year-old student was arrested for threatening to bring a gun to school and do a “Virginia Tech thing.”

He told a classmate he would bring a gun to school and kill 30 people, according to court documents. Other students heard about the suspect’s comments as CenCom (911) became inundated with phone calls from parents. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor harassment and was sentenced to five days of juvenile detention and three months of probation by Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Russell Hartman, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

A CK man was arrested in May after a barrage of illegal explosives were found in his home. Brian Sandberg’s wife was concerned for the safety of the couple’s four children and notified the sheriff’s office, according to reports. Deputies found a plethora of firearms, ammunition and military explosive devices including four 40 mm M-203 grenade rounds produced for the military, 17 40 mm M-212 marker rounds, M-142 firing devices, M-136 AT-4 anti-tank launchers and four M-72 light anti-tank weapon (LAW) rockets.

A three-acre arson brush fire was set July 16 at Erlands Point Park. With flames a mere 50 feet from endangering nearby homes, nearly 30 firefighters from seven different stations helped extinguish the wildfire with both water and flame retardant foam. No suspects were reported.

William E. Miller, a senior chief petty officer stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, was arrested in November for allegedly sexually abusing an 8-year-old family member related through marriage. The girl first told a close friend about the sexual abuse which began in July. She said the incidents occurred at her home and at a hotel in West Virginia as well as at a family member’s home in Indiana, according to court documents.

Miller is currently in Kitsap County Jail for first-degree child molestation.

NW Golf Range Manager Scott Fuchs, 41, was arrested earlier this month for voyeurism after allegedly using two video cameras to record customers using the restroom. Detectives from the Bremerton Police Department’s Special Operations Group served a search warrant on Fuchs’ Fairgrounds Road home Dec. 7 “in regards to a narcotics purchase that was made with the suspect two days earlier” when they found the video cameras, according to court documents. Fuchs told detectives he purchased the cameras in January and has been secretly hiding them on top of the bathroom trash can at NW Golf Range. He was arrested, posted bail and released. His trial is set for Jan. 29.

Tragedy

Kevin M. Davis, of Silverdale, was swimming with family and friends in Island Lake July 10 when he drowned.

He was wearing goggles and fins and would dive below the surface of the water from time to time. When he did not surface for air at one point, the group went to shore and contacted 911, according to a report.

Family and friends said he had a history of seizures. He also was reportedly a strong swimmer and very familiar with Island Lake.

A day out on the water on July 15 turned deadly for a newlywed couple from CK when the Kawasaki Jet Ski they were riding was run over by a boat in Port Orchard Bay near Brownsville. Jeanette (McClister) Bayne, 42, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, Ken Bayne, 47, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition where he died a few days later. The couple on the Jet Ski was running parallel with the boat when they suddenly crossed in front of the Sea Ray outboard boat.

A Wildcat Lake woman was mauled by a black bear on her property in August and survived. The woman and her husband had spotted the bear near their home and shot at it. The injured bear ran off into the woods and the couple followed not wanting the bear to attack them or hikers who frequent the area. Hiding in the brush, the bear sprang out at the woman, upon which she fired again at the bear, however it took her head in its jaw with razor sharp teeth. Her head was literally inside the mouth of the bear, her jugular vein was nicked and the attack left deep teeth marks over her face and neck. Her husband shot five rounds into the bear with a .460 Magnum, killing it before it could kill his wife.

Former Central Kitsap High School teacher Kenneth Lund was working on improvised scaffolding at an oyster processing facility in Seabeck on Aug. 28 when he accidently fell 30 feet. CKFR crews arrived to find Lund unconscious and unresponsive, but breathing. He was rushed to Harrison Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Jack Jenson, a former co-worker and friend, described 73-year-old Lund as “one of the world’s nicest guys.”

Few events have hit the tight-knit community of Seabeck harder than the death of 20-year-old Jerid Sturman-Camyn in November. The 2005 Klahowya Secondary School grad died after being dragged 13 miles behind a pickup truck at an Eastern Washington campsite after an alleged confrontation with 45-year-old Wendell Sinn Jr. Sturman-Camyn will be remembered by many as a standout athlete with a big heart.

“Jerid was passionate about sports, hunting and fishing. He lived out his love for his family and friends. Jerid was in daily contact with his family just checking in and making sure everyone was doing OK,” his family said in a statement shortly after his death.

Sinn Jr., of Newman Lake, Wash., has pleaded innocent to second-degree murder and manslaughter. His trial is set for March.

Faces going places

Silverdale’s own Miss Washington Kristen Eddings’ exciting journey to the Miss America pageant in January culminated in the top 10 at the competition in Las Vegas. Eddings, a 2002 Klahowya Secondary School grad, had more than 150 local friends, family and fans travel to see her compete.

“Top 10 is wonderful, we couldn’t be more proud,” her mother Anita Eddings said shortly after the competition.

For placing in the top 10, Eddings, who graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2006, received a $7,000 scholarship to go toward her continuing education.

Carolyn Lightfoot of Silverdale played out her love of puzzles on the game show, “Wheel of Fortune” which aired in early April. She was one of 400 people to attend the Sequim audition. She competed well on the taped show, winning cash and a trip to Ireland.

A vacation aboard a cruise ship proved to be more than a group of local students and adults had bargained for when their ship sank off the coast of Greece on April 5. A group from Klahowya Secondary School, Bremerton High School and a student from King’s West School were aboard the Sea Diamond. No injuries were reported from the incident, but ship passengers did lose all of their personal belongings.

Six Harrison Medical Center nurses traveled to Haiti where they provided free medical care as part of the Friends of the Children of Haiti organization. Prior to leaving, the group collected 10 duffel bags filled with medical supplies from Ace bandage wraps to diapers to saline solution for intravenous therapy treatments. They treated more than 1,600 patients in nine days who had ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, dehydration, cancer, bacterial infections and malaria.

Frank Ellerbroek, a mortgage broker at Olympic Northwest Mortgage in Silverdale, raised more than $7,600 for the YWCA of Kitsap County and climbed Mount Rainier in August in the name of the non-profit organization.

An elated Linda Joyce, executive director of the YWCA, questioned, “How many times does that happen when someone says I’ll climb a mountain for you?”

Ellerbroek successfully reached the summit of Mt. Rainier the weekend of Aug. 18.

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