Some Kitsap students are going back to school and that means drivers need to watch out for those that are walking or waiting for the bus.
Here are a few tips to help keep our kids safe.
Slow down. Speed limits are reduced in school zones for a reason. Most schools have some kind of warning lights so pay attention to them, and be aware of crosswalks.
Watch for busses which make frequent stops. Be aware of the students getting on and off the bus, and those waiting on the side of the road. Parents, only drop your student off at the designated areas at school.
Eliminate distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for even two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. Children are quick, and may not be paying attention to traffic. They may cross unexpectedly between cars.
Check your surroundings, especially when backing up. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children in driveways, on sidewalks and around your vehicle.
Talk to your teen drivers. Many of the crashes involving teens are from inexperience. Ride with them and talk about safe driving tips.
Most drivers are driving responsibly, and we thank you for that, so please pass the word to protect everyone that is traveling on our roadways.
Please choose to drive safe. Every trip, every time.
Kitsap County Commissioners sent a letter today to Governor Jay Inslee in response to the Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery and COVID-19 vaccine plans, conveying concerns about the apparent change in direction and lack of communication and clarity. Commissioners also share some observations about involvement, transparency, confusion and COVID fatigue. The letter echoes points made in recent correspondence to the governor from the Washington State Association of Counties and Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials.
Read the Commissioners' letter here. The letter from the associations of counties and health officials is also attached.
County Commissioners announce the appointment of Alexander Wisniewski as the new director of the Kitsap County Parks Department. He begins service on Jan. 19, 2021. He will manage the county's more than 60 parks, greenways and open spaces, totaling nearly 11,000 acres, in addition to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and Events center and other community recreation facilities.
Commissioners are excited to bring new leadership to the Kitsap County team to take over the helm of the Parks Department. With experience in parks systems large and small, Wisniewski will be well positioned to build upon successes in county parks, as he joins other Parks staff in serving the community. He has a deep background in parks administration, maintenance, planning, development and community involvement.
Wisniewski, a resident of North Kitsap, has worked for Port Townsend's Parks, Recreation and Community Services since 2014 and as director since 2017, managing a $2 million operating budget and staff of over 30. During his tenure, he led the update of the city's parks, recreation and open space plan, oversaw maintenance for city hall and other facilities, and supervised community volunteer projects and partnerships.
He previously worked for the Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District as horticulture supervisor and serves on its Parkland Acquisition Advisory Committee and Trails Advisory Committee.
"My career has taken me across the country and allowed me to work for national forests and state, county, and city parks. My approach to leading a parks and recreation department is rather simple: I am community-centered," Wisniewski said. "I listen to what the community is saying they want and then do my best to align those desires with mission, resources, and funding to make them possible. I am very excited to work with the great staff and team in Kitsap County Parks and to serve the residents of Kitsap County!"
Prior to his career in Washington, Wisniewski served as maintenance and operations manager of Coconino County Parks and Recreation in Flagstaff, Ariz. There he led strategic and master planning, private-public partnerships, resource management, community volunteer projects and multi-agency collaborations. He has also worked as an assistant park manager and park ranger with Arizona State Parks.
He earned a bachelor's degree in parks administration from Michigan State University and a master's degree in business administration from Western Governors University. He is certified as a parks and recreation professional through the National Recreation and Parks Association. His hobbies include mountain biking, landscape photography, backpacking, disc golf and cross-country skiing.
"I am a lifelong parks and recreation lover, dating back to my childhood experiences," he noted. "Today, as a parks professional, I certainly have an obligation and desire to ensure parks and other public areas and programs are safe and up to the best standards possible. But these are merely a means to an end – my true passion is creating experiences and memories for others through the enjoyment of parks."
Wisniewski replaces Jim Dunwiddie who retired this month after leading the Parks Department since 2009.
Kitsap County's new Parks Director Andrew Wisniewski
(Port Orchard, WA) – Brownsville Highway NE remains closed between both ends of South Keyport Road. Heavy rains produced additional flow and pressure that caused leaks in a sewer pipe north of the Central Kitsap Treatment Plant. County crews repaired the pipe yesterday afternoon, but the road remains closed.
"Heavy rain over the past week combined with the leaking pipe to undermine material under the roadway," according to Joe Rutan, Assistant Director. Flows from the leaking pipe were controlled by utility crews to limit the impact. About 12,000 gallons spilled west of the roadway into a natural vegetated area. County staff cleaned the area.
"The pipe on that line is over 40 years old making maintenance challenging," says Stella Vakarcs, Senior Program Manager for the sewer utility. "We maintain the pipe as best as possible to stay ahead of issues, but heavy rainfall puts added stress on old pipes," Vakarcs said.
That section of pipe is scheduled for replacement. "That work is part of the larger Bangor/Keyport Forcemain Replacement project currently in design," added Vakarcs. You can find more information about the project at
The County is exploring options to temporarily stabilize soils around the pipe to prevent further breaks until the pipe can be replaced. The road remains closed until those repairs are made. More information about the length of the closure is expected as the stabilization work continues.
Watch the County's Inclement Weather page at kcowa.us/iw for updates to this closure.
Contact: Stella Vakarcs | Senior Program Manager – Sewer Utility | 360.337.4896 | firstname.lastname@example.org
As Kitsap County mobilizes and shifts part of its COVID-19 response to supporting the distribution of a long-awaited vaccine, we feel a renewed sense of hope that the virus will be under control in 2021. But even with vaccinations underway for first responders, health care providers and our vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities, COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Kitsap. Since the beginning of December, over 3,000 new local cases were reported. That number grew from 2,000 in just 23 days. The virus also contributed to the death of 31 of our community members and their loss is felt deeply.
So much has changed in our daily lives – how we work, play, learn, socialize – since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kitsap March 8. There are many shared experiences the last 10 months in staying home, balancing teleworking with schooling children, missing or postponing milestone celebrations in person, struggling with fears and uncertainty, unemployment and loss of business revenue. It’s been more challenging than we could have imagined last spring, but Kitsap’s resilience is stronger than ever and provides a beacon of light through these dark times.
Even with physical distancing and separation, people are supporting each other with extraordinary effort and actions. As 2020 comes to an end, we continue to focus on overcoming the impacts of this pandemic. Nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of our communities, workforce and businesses. We ask for your continued compassion, patience and vigilance in continuing to practice safety precautions through the coming months as COVID-19 is brought under control so we can all get back to doing what we want to do.
Last week, Kitsap County Commissioners passed a resolution summarizing local allocations of millions in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding we received through Nov. 30 to assist in responding to the pandemic’s impacts on individuals, businesses and schools.
Commissioners directed expenditures of CARES funds to support additional staffing in the Kitsap Public Health District and Emergency Operations Center, county operations and personnel related to COVID response, public outreach and education, and the purchase of equipment and other supplies necessary for the public health response. We also allocated $1.84 million to assist small businesses, non-profit organizations and local chambers of commerce; $1.7 million to schools and student assistance for distance learning, related technology, food and facility improvements; $136,000 to food banks; $750,000 for mortgage and rental relief for low-income residents; and nearly $2 million to provide shelter for those living without homes and others who need a safe place to quarantine and isolate when at risk of spreading the virus in their households.
CARES funds also support the coordination of community COVID test sites, distribution of tens of thousands of units of personal protection equipment to doctors and dentist offices, clinics and businesses, a warehouse to store these vital supplies and now assistance in the mobilization for COVID vaccinations.
COVID-19 continues to significantly press upon the public’s health, emotions and our local economy. We are hopeful additional funds will soon be available through the state and federal governments to ensure the well-being of residents, keep our businesses open and the economy strong
We extend gratitude to everyone who has joined in the fight against COVID-19: frontline healthcare workers, health district and county staff, community partners and hundreds of volunteers. Our appreciation extends to everyone doing their part to respond to this unprecedented health crisis. Thank you! You make us prouder than ever to call Kitsap home.
Your outpouring of support and care for each other, endurance, safe practices and acts of generosity and kindness help strengthen the resilience in us all. Stay strong - we’ll get through this together!
Kitsap County CommissionersCharlotte Garrido, ChairRob GelderEd Wolfe
Here are the waste facility closures during the Holidays
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 9 approved the allocation of $5.5 million in funds generated from the 1/10th of 1 percent sales and use tax, designated for mental health, chemical dependency and therapeutic court services in Kitsap County. The awards follow the recommendations of the Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Committee.
“These awards help fill funding gaps and go directly to support programs and services that serve those suffering from mental illness or drug and alcohol dependency,” said Charlotte Garrido, chair of the Board of Commissioners. “Developing a more systematic approach through a continuum of care model diverts individuals from hospitals, jail and the courts into crisis intervention and therapeutic services. This directly benefits the individuals and our communities.”
The Commissioner-appointed, 11-member citizens advisory committee on Oct. 20 voted unanimously to recommend $5.5 million in funding for a 12-month period for 23 of the 26 proposals submitted.
“The CAC evaluated 26 submissions, requesting a total of $7.2 million in funding,” noted Jeannie Screws, chair of the advisory committee. “These submissions were closely reviewed and each of the proposers was interviewed. The committee considered each proposal in relation to the County’s continuum of care, strategic plan for services and available funds. The process was extremely difficult due to the needs of the community being even greater this year and funding lower than anticipated. Each proposal offered services that would benefit our community greatly.”
Fifteen of the programs approved for funding were continuation proposals from the current funding year. These include a variety of therapeutic court programs such as behavioral health court, juvenile individualized and drug courts, adult drug court and veterans courts. Law enforcement received funding for programs that include crisis intervention training, hiring a crisis intervention officer to coordinate response for behavioral health calls, and for reentry services in the jail.
Eight of the programs approved for funding are new. These include awards to the City of Poulsbo and Poulsbo Fire Department to implement Kitsap County Fire CARES (Community Assistance, Referral, and Education Services). Peninsula Community Health Services will provide integrated care coordination program with wraparound services, behavioral health and primary care services.
Five of the funded projects, including those for Kitsap Rescue Mission and Kitsap Homes of Compassion, focus on housing and hiring specialists to support individuals with behavioral health issues.
A complete list of the funding recommendations approved by Commissioners is available here.
For more information, contact Gay Neal, program coordinator in the Kitsap County Department of Human Services at email@example.com or 360-337-4827.
More than one member of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19. To protect the public and the rest of our staff:
Our office will be closed to the public through Friday November13, 2020.
Because of the unpredictable nature of this virus, we cannot promise that this closure will not be extended or made more complete. Please check our website for further information.
If you only want to file papers, you can leave them in the tray on the cart marked for that purpose. Staff will be working. If you have a new case, you can file it by email following the guidelines posted on our website.
If you have questions, please email either Rebecca Wildes at firstname.lastname@example.org or David Lewis (email@example.com). Or call 360-337-7164.
If you have an emergency, or need to file for a Protection Order, please knock on the door.
Passport processing is temporarily suspended.
The Kitsap County Department of Human Services invites the public to participate in a community survey to provide input for its update to the Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Therapeutic Court Program Strategic Plan. Take the survey here. It will remain open through Oct. 15.
In September 2013, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners adopted the treatment sales tax, authorizing 1/10th of 1 percent of sales and use tax to be designated for funding of mental health, chemical dependency and therapeutic drug court programs. In collaboration with community leaders and subject-matter experts, the department developed a six-year strategic plan for behavioral health services that guides distribution of funds.
The strategic plan informs a Commissioner-appointed citizens advisory committee as it reviews applications for annual treatment sales tax funding and makes award recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners. Gaps identified in this community survey will help community leaders and behavioral health professionals as they update the current strategic plan and establish funding objectives and strategies for future years.
The link to the original strategic plan is available here. To learn more about the treatment sales tax program, click here.
For more contact Gay Neal, Program Coordinator, Kitsap County Human Services, at 360-337-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kitsap County Fire Marshal announced this morning that, effective immediately and due to the return to fall weather patterns, the summer's outdoor burn bans have been lifted.
As of Friday, September 25, 2020 all outdoor burning may resume subject to the normal rules and regulations. Land clearing burning is still prohibited throughout the county and burning permits are required for general outdoor burning. Permits are available free of charge through local fire districts' websites. Recreational burning (fires of less than 3'x3'x2′ in a designated pit and containing only seasoned firewood or charcoal) may be conducted without permits.
A Stage 1 Outdoor Burn Ban was implemented on July 30 due to rising fire danger and the risk posed by outdoor burning. Between 80 - 90% of all wildfires are human-caused and escaped outdoor fires are the leading source. The ban was elevated to Stage 2 on September 8 due to worsening conditions that included stretched firefighting resources as wind-driven fires broke out across the state. "The return of fall rains has decreased fire danger enough to allow outdoor burning again," says Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam. He adds his appreciation for everyone's patience as officials waited for moisture levels to be restored to the region's parched landscape. Until earlier this week, less than an inch of rain had fallen since the end of June. "I know there has been rain, but it has taken some time for the moisture to soak in."
Despite the improvement in fire danger, Lynam urges the public to exercise caution when burning and to consider the impact of smoke on neighbors. Find links to local fire districts and the outdoor burning rules on the fire marshal's web page.
Kitsap County Commissioners are about to get underway with the 2021 budget review, a challenging task in coming months as they work with county departments to create a balanced budget during these times of uncertainty brought on by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public is invited to listen in as Kitsap County departments and offices present their 2021 budget requests to the Board of County Commissioners from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both Monday, Sept. 14 and Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Click here to see the full schedule and information on how to attend each session, which will be held remotely via Zoom. Due to the compressed nature of these departmental presentations, the public is invited to listen but there will not be opportunities for public comment. Questions and comments may be submitted in advance to Administrative Services Director Amber D'Amato at email@example.com.
Most county departments were asked to create a 2021 budget with a 10-percent reduction from 2020. This is based on projections for 2021 that indicate a continuing decline of retail sales tax, one of the primary sources of revenue to the county's general fund that finances the majority of traditional county services. Presentations will reflect how departments are going to accommodate this cut, what it means to current services and how those will be maintained while scaling back associated costs.
County Commissioners will be joined by a citizens budget committee during the departmental presentations. Supporting documents for all budget requests and the deliberation schedule will be posted on the Department of Administrative Services website here.
Budget deliberations begin Sept. 23 with preliminary decisions made by the end of October. The final 2021 budget will be adopted in December after public hearings.
To learn more about the Kitsap County budget, review previously adopted budgets and find out how local tax dollars are spent, click here.
For more informaition, contact Kris Carlson, Financial Supervisor of the Kitsap County Department of Administrative Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (360) 337-4417.
Due to rising fire danger and stretched resources, Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam expanded the current burn ban to prohibit all outdoor fires, effective immediately and until further notice.
Under a Stage 2 Fire Danger Burn Ban, no open burning is allowed. All outdoor burning permits remain suspended, recreational fires are prohibited, and only propane or natural gas-fueled cooking fires are allowed.
The move is prompted by several factors. Hot and dry weather has made conditions ripe for ignition and fast fire spread, and forecasts predict more of the same. Multiple local brush fires broke out over the weekend, underscoring the danger. Large fires in progress across the state have depleted all but local firefighting resources.
"Escaped outdoor fires are a leading cause of wildland fires," noted Kitsap County Fire Marshal David Lynam. "Given these circumstances, the best way to prevent a big incident in our county right now is by preventing it from starting in the first place."
While outdoor fires are to blame for many dangerous brush fires, there are other causes as well. "The situation is serious, and we really need everyone's help limiting all ignition sources," Lynam said.
Dispose of smoking materials properly. Secure trailer chains to prevent sparks. Practice fire-safe target shooting (where target shooting is allowed). Defer mowing until conditions improve.
For burn ban status updates, contact the Kitsap County Fire Marshal's Office at 360-337-5777, visit https://www.kitsapgov.com/dcd/Pages/Burn-Ban-Information.aspx or your local fire district.
(Port Orchard, WA) -- Appraisers from the Kitsap County Assessor's Office are now conducting on-site inspections throughout the Bremerton area. Washington State Law (RCW 84.40.025) requires inspections of all real property throughout the county at least once every six years. The current inspections should be completed by April 2021.
Appraisers from the Kitsap County Assessor's Office will be following social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of the public and staff. Appraisers will attempt to stay in their vehicles while making onsite inspections and we have discouraged appraisers from making contact with the property occupant. If you need to approach an appraiser we ask that you please maintain at least six feet of physical distance.
Our appraisers do not drive county-issued vehicles; however, their vehicles are marked with the proper county identification on both sides. Other verification options are to request to see individual credentials, contact our office at 360-337-7160, or check our inspection area progress map on our website at www.kitsapgov.com/assessor.
The cooperation of the public is always appreciated by our staff. We look forward to working with you and answering your questions.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote, Kitsap County will light up the County Administration Building in the official suffrage colors of purple and gold today, joining buildings and landmarks across the country as part of the nationwide Forward Into Light Campaign, named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.”
August 26 marks the official 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment into the Constitution of the United States of America. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others first seriously proposed women's right to vote at Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19, 1848. Susan B. Anthony joined forces with Ms. Stanton in 1851, and they worked together over the next half-century for women's right to vote.
Carrie Chapman Catt, founder and early leader of the League of Women Voters, entered the struggle later and became a leader in the suffragist movement that helped lead it its success. These three women and many others endured public humiliation, ridicule and even jail so that women of the past, present and future can vote.
To mark this historic day, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation Monday declaring Aug. 26 as Women's Equality Day to celebrate passage of the 19th Amendment. The Kitsap League of Women Voters was on hand to read the proclamation.
Purple and gold lights will illuminate the County Administration Building, located at 619 Division Street in Port Orchard, through Sept. 3.
To read the Commissioners' proclamation, click here. To learn more about nationwide celebrations of the women's right to vote, visit https://www.womensvote100.org/suffragemonth.
Photo credit: New York picketers at the White House, January 26, 1917. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Seabeck Holly Road NW closes to through traffic between Foley Lane and Larson Lane from August 12 to December 31, 2020 to construct a 60-foot bridge over Seabeck Creek. Contractors for the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group in partnership with Kitsap County will replace an undersized 72-inch culvert allowing for better fish passage upstream. Through traffic is diverted to NW Holly Road as an alternative route. Learn more about the project details and detour route by visiting kcowa.us/seabeckholly.
This project will also allow floodwaters to pass unobstructed as well as improve fish passage after a history of industrial-scale logging and rural development in that area. The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group plans to add large woody debris to the creek to improve habitat complexity and provide roughness to retain sediment. An aggressive re-vegetation effort involves the planting of over 3,200 native plants. Native plants help create cooler water for fish, provide bank stabilization, and encourage a healthy and diverse ecosystem of local birds, bugs, and other mammals.
For more information: Kitsap1, 360.337.5777 or email email@example.com.