The Kitsap Scene


If you’re planning to take the Bainbridge Island ferry to Seattle between now and Sept. 13, don’t bring your car or other vehicles.

The ferry will be taking walk-ons only as work crews lift walkway structures into place on their concrete and steel pilings as part of the Bainbridge pedestrian walkway project, according to the project page on the Washington State Department of Transportation website. The work began 1 a.m. this morning, and continues through 3 a.m. Sept. 13.

Diagram showing Bainbridge Island ferry walkway project.
From WSDOT: “In September, crews will lift and lower the new walkway structures into place. This view shows how crews will receive and stage the four large bridge spans that will make up the new overhead walkway to the ferry. This work requires using all available vehicle holding space and ferry lanes.”

The route will be operating on a one-boat sailing schedule during that time. The ferry will load only walk-on and ADA passengers via the existing walkway. There will be no drive-on passenger service on the route during that time, including vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and electric scooters.

Staff will be on hand to assist with the expected increase in walk-on ridership, and accommodations will be made for emergency medical vehicles, according to WSDOT.

Additional service will be available on the Edmonds-Kingston route while the Bainbridge route is closed to vehicles, when crewing and vessel availability allows. “Because the Seattle/Bainbridge route will operate on a one-boat sailing schedule, the second boat is available to provide unscheduled service as a third boat on our Edmonds/Kingston run to handle additional vehicle traffic traveling to or from Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula,” WSDOT states.

According to WSDOT, the four bridge spans will arrive from Tacoma via barge, and will be rolled off into the ferry holding lanes. “The longest span, sections 1 and 2 joined together, weighs 90 tons and measures 199 feet long and 18 feet wide,” WSDOT states. “Over two to three days, all four spans will be lifted by cranes and set into place. The other three to four days are needed to erect and stage cranes and equipment, then dismantle and demobilize them.”

Alternate routes for drivers

WSDOT recommends people who usually drive onto the ferry use public transit in Seattle or Bainbridge Island and walk onto the ferry. (People planning to park and walk onto the ferry will find scant parking at the terminal, WSDOT warns, although they may have better luck at adjacent paid parking lots. Kitsap Transit park and ride lots offer an additional 150 spaces. The streets of downtown Winslow are off limits to commuter parking.)

Passengers who must drive are advised to plan ahead and use an alternate ferry route:

More info on Bainbridge Ferry Terminal Overhead Loading Fixed Walkway Replacement

More info on the project is available on WSDOT’s website.

Madeline Ostrander is the keynote speaker at this Saturday’s Bainbridge Island Environmental Conference. We spoke with Ostrander about her book, At Home on an Unruly Planet, which chronicles communities taking action against climate change; how her book’s message can help people find hope among other troubling current events; and how her time at YES! Magazine, which was started on Bainbridge Island, helped shape her book.

The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Can you talk about this environmental conference, your background, and what you’re going to be talking about?

The Bainbridge Environmental Conference is, as I understand it, an annual conference hosted by a bunch of community groups on the island. This year they wanted to make the theme related to having conversations in the community about how to respond to the impacts of climate change and also how Bainbridge Island can be part of solutions to climate change. And that’s really the theme of my book, which tells a series of stories about communities that are responding to climate change and its impacts in different ways across the country. And so they asked me to come and give a talk about, what can Bainbridge learn from some of these stories that I’ve written about, and then how can they apply them to things that are happening locally? So I’ll be giving a talk and then we’ll have a discussion, and then there’ll be a series of breakout groups where people can talk about different things related to local impacts.

I know one of the discussions around climate change is how much of an impact one person can make, versus how much you need collective action through, say, legislation. Can you talk about that, and some of the actions people take in your book? Is the idea that smaller scale projects add up to have a greater effect?

I think my book really occupies a middle scale between acting as just one lone person or acting on some big legislative scale. I write about communities in the book and how communities are searching for solutions related to climate change. And I think there’s a lot of potential for people to make a big difference at that scale. I think there’s also a lot of interest from climate experts, and climate organizers, and people who work on policy on what can be done by cities, what can be done by communities. And since the Inflation Reduction Act passed in the summer, there’s a huge push to organize communities all over the country to be involved in different kinds of transitions to renewable energy and to electrification and electric vehicles and different kinds of transportation.

So there’s a lot happening at the community scale, and I think communities also learn from each other and adopt solutions that they see working in another place. And I also think that what happens at the level of the community can become an example that then can influence state policy and then, eventually, federal policy. But there’s a lot you can do kind of quickly and simply and in a really empowering way at the local level. I also think it’s a place where it’s just more tangible for people to see what they’re doing and to get together and organize something. It feels more immediate. And so I think there’s something really inspiring about when people get together and do something locally.

Are there illustrative examples in the book of something that’s really effective at making a change?

I think all four stories are about different examples of that. There’s four main stories that I focused on and they’re kind of braided through the narrative arc of the book in terms of taking action and rethinking what our economy looks like. The story that reflects the most on that in my book is from Richmond, Calif., which is actually an oil refinery town — it was built around this rather large oil refinery, one of the largest on the West coast. And it’s also one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions on the West coast. And over time the community has both been confronting that industry about pollution, but also then developing a lot of grassroots projects to do with urban farming, to do with developing little green businesses around the community, and recruiting solar companies to come to town and starting solar jobs training programs.

It’s allowed people there to start to imagine what it might look like if there weren’t a refinery there or if the community were something else besides an oil town. And over time they’ve been having a more and more assertive conversation about, what say do we have over the energy choices that are made here, and what can we do to influence whether this refinery stays here forever or not? And can we actually shape what happens with oil policy in California? And so I find it to be a really inspiring example.

And it’s also happened across the northwest as well. For instance there was a lot of local resistance to the idea of putting a lot of coal export terminals across the region. People really got together and said, we care about this place and we don’t want these here. And those export terminals didn’t get built. And a lot of that has to do with the way people care about their communities and the way they care about the northwest.

Beyond climate change, it sounds like the point of your book is that these huge problems may seem hopeless, but people can gain a sense of purpose by taking action. There’s a lot of things like that nowadays: We had this global pandemic, and you have political division and inflation and all this stuff; I think there’s an undercurrent of hopelessness on a lot of different fronts. Does your book have a broader message about how even though it might feel hopeless sometimes in the face of these issues, there are things you can do to make an impact?

One of the things I reflect on in my book is about the emotions that we feel about the climate crisis, which I think you can think about more broadly is the emotions we feel about the state of the world right now. We’re living through a lot of overlapping changes that are scary, overlapping crises. We’ve lived through the pandemic, there’s been a lot of economic uncertainty. There’s been a lot of political turmoil and divisiveness over the last few years. And so I think we all feel uneasy. I think that title, about living on an “unruly planet,” could play to a lot of things. But one of the things that I reflect on in the book is that this anxiety that we feel, when researchers and scholars have studied what it is that makes us able to cope with that anxiety, or able to cope with this level of change and disruption, is to be able to find community and to be able to come together and come up with shared things that inspire us, shared actions that are creating something positive.

That’s hugely helpful for people’s ability to cope with whatever it happens to be, whether they’ve lived through a wildfire that’s burned down a lot of their community, or whether they’re really just coping with a sense of unease about how troubling things are right now.

A separate crisis, so to speak, is this loneliness epidemic we’ve heard about, and deaths of despair. You mentioned coming together to work toward a common goal, and it seems like maybe that is also something that can address that, where you’re building community and staving off that loneliness a lot of people are dealing with nowadays.

Someone asked me recently on social media, what’s one surprising solution to climate change that you’ve come across? And I said: getting to know your neighbors. Because even though that seems small, there’s a lot that can come out of a conversation with your neighbors. And also we’re all more resilient against certain kinds of threats and impacts and crises when we get to know our neighbors. For instance, there was a famous study done by a sociologist in Chicago after a heat wave where he shared that in communities where people knew their neighbors, where there was more social cohesion and people were friends with each other, they were better able to withstand the heat wave and have fewer health impacts, even if there are all sorts of other things that made them vulnerable, like a lot of elderly people, or having lower incomes, or not having that much access to buildings that had proper heating and cooling. The effect of people knowing their neighbors was as powerful as if you had given everybody an air conditioner. Because people checked on each other. So I think there’s a lot that comes from getting together in community and talking together about, how do we deal with the challenges we’re facing?

That’s interesting, because preppers — you know, like “doomsday preppers” — that’s one of the pieces of advice that they give, too: One of the first things you should do is make connections with your neighbors and look out for each other. I think that’s a universal thing we’ve kind of lost sight of, and getting back to that is a good thing in general.

Yeah, I mean there’s so many other implications about being together in community. There’s so much research about how much healthier it makes us, how much happier it makes us. We live longer. I just think we as humans, we’re wired to want community and we do much better when we reconnect with one another. And I think that’s a solution to a lot of different things. But in particular, my book is about how it’s a solution to things related to climate change and how there’s a lot of power and a lot of inspiration people can find from community.

Switching gears a bit, I know you’re based out of Seattle, but you were the editor of YES! Magazine, which was founded in Bainbridge Island. Can you talk about your experience working there?

I think, really, the book came out of my experience working as editor there particularly. We did an issue — I think it was in 2010 — on resilience. And that was the first time I actually reported on Richmond, but I also went down to the Bay area of California and I talked to a lot of environmental justice groups who were working on climate change. And one of the things I noticed when I talked to those community organizers was that they spoke about climate change in a very tangible, local way because they were used to thinking about, how would an issue affect their communities that they worked with, how would it affect vulnerable people? How would it affect communities of color, people living in poverty, people who are at risk in a lot of other ways? Because decisions that are made on a local level can either make better or make worse the kinds of disparities that we already have in our society. But what was inspiring about all of that was that they had such a tangible, real way of talking about climate change — what does this mean for us here in our home? And I think that was one of the first threads that got me thinking about this book. How do we talk about this in a way that people understand it in places that are familiar to them, in contexts that are meaningful to them?

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I didn’t talk at all about the fact that the first story in the book is all about the Methow Valley [in northern Washington] and about its experiences going through multiple mega wildfires. It also talks about my experience living in Seattle and how all of us have dealt with these seasons of wildfire smoke year after year now. I think for all of us, our perception of what it means to live in the northwest has changed because we’re going through these heatwaves and wildfire smoke, almost every summer it feels like. So those stories are both about recovery. They’re talking about how, especially Pateros [a small city in north central Washington] and the community recovery efforts out in Okanogan County played out because those are the kinds of examples for communities all over the nation.

Carlene Anders, who was a former mayor [of Pateros], who led those efforts, now goes and consults around the country about how to recover from disasters. And they’re also about, how do we take care of our forest ecosystems in a time when there’s more wildfire risk? And then it’s about our connection across the northwest between the east and and west and places that are more prone to wildfire. And here in the west we’re living in places that are increasingly getting their own wildfires. How do we navigate living in this time of fire and heat?

A couple years before COVID, I bought some N95 masks to deal with the wildfire smoke because I have asthma. And those came in handy when COVID hit. But it is crazy how frequent it’s getting.

I reflect on the same thing in the book actually. I think it was in 2018, I bought an N95 mask because the air quality in Seattle was so bad. And then I still had it when the pandemic came around. For a while you couldn’t get that kind of mask. And so I kept using the same mask that I bought for wildfires during the pandemic.

Any last thoughts?

I realized when I was talking about these stories, I haven’t reflected that much on the people in them and they’re very much driven by the people in particular communities who have come to these realizations about how climate change is affecting the place they love and care about community — they care about and are taking it upon themselves to organize responses and to organize inspiring solutions. I mentioned Carlene Anders as one. She’s the former mayor of Pateros. She was I think one of the two first female smokejumpers in Washington state. She has been a firefighter for a couple of decades and also has run a fire recovery organization in Okanogan County.

And then in Richmond, the person there is named Doria Robinson and she’s an urban farmer and also now a city councilor. She was just elected in the fall and she’s been leading efforts to get kids, especially young people, teenagers and youth, involved in urban farming. It has evolved into this big community conversation about what else could we be in Richmond — could we actually be a healthy community that doesn’t have all this pollution from an oil refinery and have a different kind of economy that can be a different kind of place?

I think people might think at first glance that it’s a pretty dry journalistic account, but it sounds like it’s more of a character-driven narrative nonfiction book.

It is a narrative journalism book, yeah. It also has a lot of essays as well where I’m reflecting on some big ideas about home and about, what does it mean to live with uncertainty in this time that we’re living in? It’s very much focused on storytelling. I’ve had a couple people tell me it reads like a novel, which is what every narrative journalist wants to hear.

I definitely respect the craft of narrative nonfiction journalism, because I’ve tried to do that a couple times and it’s definitely harder than it seems. It’s not like a novel where you can just make stuff up; you have to find the narrative elements within things that actually happened and make sure you’re still maintaining your journalistic ethics. I definitely appreciate the skill that goes into that.

Thank you. It’s a huge amount of documentation, like photographs and audio and checking back with people. I had three fact checkers work on the book. It was quite a labor, um, to have all the details be part of the story. And yet I think they’re really important because too often we think about climate change as this abstraction or as this kind of wonky policy question. And I really wanted to write something where people would feel it — they would feel it in their heart and in their gut and not just think about it as an abstraction or as a scientific issue, but as a personal question. And so the story is very personal and the writing is really personal and all of the essays are also very personal.

Washington State Ferries released an update to its service restoration plan on Tuesday, and it’s a mixed bag for ferry routes servicing Kitsap County.

State ferry service was severely curtailed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent shortage of crew members. The restoration plan, first released last March, lays out the ferry service’s plan for increasing its service to meet increasing demand, with an aim to “maintain reliability of service, ensure that service restoration can be maintained, prioritize routes based on ridership needs, and facilitate transparency and customer communications.”

The Seattle-Bremerton route, which has been operating on an alternative schedule and is being serviced by only one vessel (much to the frustration of people who rely on that route), is estimated to return to a regular schedule by October 2023, according to the plan. WSF doesn’t anticipate having enough crewing to restore full service to the route until after the end of the summer 2023 season; a trial of two-boat service is expected at the end of September. The route will be considered fully restored once it reaches 95 percent reliability over a three-week period, according to the plan.

In the meantime, the ferry service will add morning and midday trips as crewing and vessels are available, restoring partial two-boat service before the start of the summer season, the plan states.

Additionally, the ferry system will continue to support additional passenger-only fast ferry service from Kitsap Transit until the Seattle-Bremerton route is fully restored, the plan states. Kitsap Transit reached an agreement with the state in November to expand sailings to alleviate the impact of curtailed WSF sailings.

Full service for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is estimated to be restored by May 2023 for weekday service, and Fall 2023 for full service, the plan states.

WSF expects to begin trialing full weekday three-boat service in early April, or once a vessel and crewing are available. “Because the three-boat schedule is so different from the two boat schedule, the Trial Service stage will be more challenging than trials on other routes. WSF will communicate with customers regularly about each day’s expected schedule and anticipates it may take longer than three weeks to reach full route restoration,” the plan states.

Additionally, the plan states that while waiting for vessel and crewing availability necessary to trial three-boat service, WSF will add midday and evening service to fill gaps in the two-boat schedule.

On the bright side, full service was restored to the Edmonds-Kingston route in February. Full service was restored on the Seattle-Bainbridge route last April.

Crewing and vessel availability have been the primary challenge affecting WSF service levels, according to the plan update.

Chart showing Washington State Ferry staffing needs
A chart showing Washington State Ferry staffing needs, taken from WSF’s February 2023 service restoration plan update

“In addition to the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, WSF faces numerous ongoing challenges that compound the immediate crew and vessel shortages,” it states. “Many of these challenges were identified in the WSF 2040 Long Range Plan (LRP), submitted to the Legislature in January 2019. The LRP provides a proposal for investments and policy recommendations that support reliable, sustainable, and resilient ferry service through 2040 and beyond. The LRP identified investment in WSF’s workforce as one of the top priorities to ensure continued system reliability. It also placed particular attention on stabilizing the ferry fleet by building 16 new vessels and providing adequate time for vessel maintenance.”

WSF employs nearly 1,900 people on vessels, in terminals, at the Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility, and at WSF headquarters in Seattle, the update states.

“Due largely to funding provided by the Legislature in spring 2022 that allowed WSF to change the way it recruits, hires and trains employees for marine positions, the agency has made good progress in addressing crew availability challenges,” it states. “In 2022, WSF hired 202 fleet personnel. With 42 retirements and 99 separations for other reasons, that’s a net gain of 61 new fleet employees. With attrition still an issue, WSF continues to focus on the recruiting and training necessary to restore service across the system.”

The Kitsap Public Health Board has added a tribal representative, completing a restructuring process required by a state law passed in May 2021.

Jolene Sullivan of the Port Gamble S’Klallam tribe joined the board for its January meeting.

She joins three community members and one tribal representative who joined the board in September 2022.

Jolene Sullivan
Jolene Sullivan

Sullivan is the tribe’s health services director and manages its health clinic, dental clinic, behavioral health clinic, community health services clinic, and business office, according to a news release from the health board. Her service includes program development and oversight, grant management, program and community organizing, and administration of multiple programs.

According to the bio for Sullivan listed in the news release: She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and is currently a doctoral candidate in Integrated Behavioral Health Management at Arizona State University. She has more than 15 years of experience working in social services within the tribe, including Child Welfare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Child Support, Youth prevention services, and Behavioral Health. She has held her position as program director for the past 15 years. She is a delegate on the American Indian Health Commission and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.

“Ms. Sullivan is an enrolled member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. She has worked to incorporate tribal culture in all aspects of her programs,” the release states. “She provides training and guidance to new staff on S’Klallam values and traditions. Her ongoing leadership as the Health Department director includes educational presentations at multi-level meetings, consultation to other Tribal programs, and participation in Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal government.”

Sullivan was appointed to the health board by the American Indian Health Commision for Washington State and the tribe, in accordance with the new state law.

With Sullivan’s appointment, the health board is now made up of 10 members, concluding the expansion and restructuring process that began in early 2022 to comply with Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1152, which requires that local health boards must include an equal number of elected and non-elected members, the release states. The health board expanded from seven to 10 members to comply with the law. The board now is made up of one elected county commissioner, four elected city officials, three non-elected community representatives, and one nonelected representative each from the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Suquamish tribes. The four non-elected members were appointed to the board last fall.

MultiCare Health System announced today that it plans to open a new neighborhood emergency department in Bremerton. It’s expected to break ground in Spring 2023, and open sometime in 2024.

The 10,500-square-foot facility, which will operate under Tacoma General’s license, will be located on 2.4 acres that MultiCare purchased at 5900 SR 303 NE, according to a press release from MultiCare. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be staffed by board-certified emergency physicians. Additionally, it will include 10 patient rooms, four observation rooms, and on-site radiology services, including X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scans.

“There’s a critical need for more emergency medical services in Kitsap County,” said Mark Robinson, president of MultiCare Tacoma General and MultiCare Allenmore hospitals, in the release. “Emergency departments across the Puget Sound are often at or near capacity. This new ED will give Kitsap County residents another option for emergency medical care.”

Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler reacted positively to the news, stating in a news release, “This is great news for our community. The new MultiCare facility will supplement the current emergency services offered in our region. Once completed, the emergency department will help increase capacity, availability and access to care for residents in Bremerton as well as across Kitsap County.”

According to the release, Wheeler met with MultiCare leadership last year to discuss the city’s need for additional hospital capacity; he continued the discussion this October, “to continue building a long-term partnership.”

“I thoroughly appreciated MultiCare’s commitment to discussing opportunities for our area,” Wheeler said in the release. “We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with MultiCare into the future.”

The city’s news release adds that the new emergency department “will fill an important need for local residents.”

The announcement of the new facility comes as the hospital home to Kitsap’s only emergency department, St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale, has been plagued by numerous problems. The hospital has experienced ongoing staffing shortages, which were exacerbated by a ransomware attack in October that left staff unable to access patient records. This summer, ambulances faced sometimes hours-long waits to drop off patients at the hospital. In October, the head of the emergency department departed the hospital, which is also at risk of losing its accreditation after an on-site survey found more than 30 standards were found to be out of compliance, according to a report filed in September.

The hospital system that owns St. Michael’s — Virginia Mason Franciscan Health — closed the emergency room it had been operating in Bremerton last year.

When MultiCare’s Bremerton facility opens, it will be the hospital system’s sixth neighborhood emergency department, according to the news release. The health system opened emergency departments in Parkland and Bonney Lake in 2019; South Hill in 2020; and Federal Way in 2021, and a new emergency department is slated to open in Lacey in Fall 2023.

You’d better be nice — and if not, you’d better watch out for Krampus.

Krampus is returning Dec. 2 for the annual celebration of Krampusnacht in downtown Bremerton.

The folkloric tradition of Krampus originated centuries ago in the Bavarian region of Europe, said Eric Morley, who organizes the Bremerton Krampusnacht event and will participate in full Krampus garb. Krampus is also traditionally celebrated in Germany, Switzerland, northern Italy, and parts of Scandinavia, he added.

Krampus roams the streets of downtown Bremerton at last year's Krampusnacht
Krampus roams the streets of downtown Bremerton at last year’s Krampusnacht (Kitsap Scene file photo)

The original intent of the Krampus folklore was to deter misbehavior in children, Morley said. Krampus would typically appear around the winter solstice to punish naughty boys and girls.

“Over time, with the integration of Christianity and back and forth with St. Nicholas, over time the two traditions kind of merged,” he said. Modern interpretations of Krampus integrate the character with Santa, positing that he is Santa or St. Nicholas’s shadow.

“That leaves Santa Clause the liberty to be the good guy and dole out the rewards for good behavior,” he said. “And Krampus is the bad guy who doles out the consequences.”

This year’s Krampusnacht is expected to be bigger and better than ever, Morley said. Last year there was only one participating business, but this year there are 35; in fact, there are more businesses in downtown Bremerton participating than those that are not, he said.

“A big reason that I do this is not only for the fun and tradition of Krampus and bringing something new and quirky to Bremerton, but it’s to support our local economy, support our local businesses, promote tourism and support our community, and to bring something new and exciting to Bremerton,” Morley said. “I really wanted to start at our core established businesses, the people who make Bremerton Bremerton, and get them involved and engaged.”

This year’s event will also feature many more people dressing up as Krampus. Morley said he’s anticipating as many as 30 people in costume, including people from Krampus groups based out of Seattle and Tacoma.

Additionally, downtown watering holes will participate, offering Krampus-inspired cocktails and beers. And kids can get in on the fun as well with activities at the Kitsap History Museum; they can color their own paper Krampus mask to wear out on the street — “so they can scare Krampus back,” Morley said.

There’s even more: Frog Soap has designed a unique Krampus soap, and at the end of the night, people will be able to head to Bremerton Vintage Flea Market to get photos with both Krampus and Santa.

Morley said he’s excited for this year’s event, and to see how it grows in the future.

“It’s taken off a lot faster than I thought it would, and I’m really excited about it,” he said.

Krampusnacht Bremerton

Krampusnacht Bremerton is 5:30-8 p.m., Dec. 2, in downtown Bremerton, starting at Collective Visions Gallery, 331 Pacific Ave.

Get more details on the Krampus Bremerton website, or follow Krampus Bremerton on Facebook or Instagram.

Kitsap Transit has reached an agreement with the state to expand fast ferry service on its Seattle-Bremerton route until Washington State Ferries’ two-boat service between the two cities resumes.

Two-boat service is expected to resume on a trial basis in Spring 2023, according to a news release from Kitsap Transit. Washington State Ferries reduced service on the route last September after facing ongoing staffing shortages in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expanded fast ferry service will begin on Dec. 1, and consist of an additional four round trips in the morning and three round trips in the evening on weekdays. There will be one morning round trip and six afternoon/evening round trips added on Saturdays. Kitsap Transit normally doesn’t operate the fast ferry on Saturdays between October and April, and does not operate on Sundays.

Kitsap Transit will be able to staff the additional sailings with its existing workforce, according to the news release.

Kitsap Transit's expanded fast ferry schedule for Seattle-Bremerton starting Dec. 1. The highlighted times represent sailings added as part of Kitsap Transit's agreement with the state.
Kitsap Transit’s expanded fast ferry schedule for Seattle-Bremerton starting Dec. 1. The highlighted times represent sailings added as part of Kitsap Transit’s agreement with the state.

In a statement, Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler expressed gratitude to the local organizations and lawmakers who expressed support for the plan to the governor’s office.

“This was an outstanding effort and I appreciated working with the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, Port of Bremerton, Teamsters Local 589, Bremerton Metal Trades Council, International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 12, and Greater Kitsap Chamber who sent letters to Governor Inslee in support of my request for state support for expanded fast ferry service back in September,” Wheeler said in a statement.

“I also appreciated the opportunity to work with Senator Christine Rolfes, Senator Emily Randall, Representatives Tarra Simmons and Drew Hansen, Mayors Becky Erickson, Rob Putaansuu, and Joe Deets, Kitsap County Commissioners Ed Wolfe, Robert Gelder and Charlotte Garrido, and Bainbridge Island Councilmember Leslie Schneider who signed on to my initial letter to Governor Inslee in mid-September,” he continued. “In addition, I want to recognize and thank Kitsap Transit for supporting expansion of its passenger only service and for pulling out the stops to put together a proposal for the Governor.”

Kitsap Transit ferry M/V Finest of Bremerton, WA.
Kitsap Transit ferry M/V Finest of Bremerton, WA. (Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.9 International license)

Wheeler stated that although staffing and other issues have presented challenges for the Bremerton-Seattle route, “I appreciate that our concerns about the hardships our residents were facing were heard at the highest levels of state government. More Kitsap Transit ferry trips will provide consistent and reliable service for residents who depend on Bremerton ferry service for their livelihoods, medical care, and businesses.”

State Sen. Christine Rolfes, who represents the 23rd Legislative District, said in Kitsap Transit’s news release that the expanded service will “help fill in some of the gaps in the day for Bremerton ferry riders until WSF gets back to full-service on the route. I’m thankful to the Kitsap Transit Board for approving the additional, temporary runs.”

Gov. Jay Inslee praised the plan as a creative solution to a difficult problem.

“This has been a challenging season for everyone, and we’ve heard the call to be creative with solutions,” Inslee said in a statement. “We appreciate the willingness of Kitsap Transit to partner with WSF in ensuring additional ferry services are available to the community.”

Kitsap Transit Executive Director John Clauson said he’s glad his agency can help people get where they need to go while Washington State Ferries works to restore service levels to what they were pre-pandemic.

“One of the many scars of the COVID-19 pandemic was a wholesale reduction in service by transit agencies, and we, like others, are still navigating a path toward a new normal,” he said in his agency’s news release. “Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler and other community leaders have called upon WSF to restore two-boat service, and until then, for the state to support expanded Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry service. We’re glad we can support Bremerton and our partner, WSF, with these additional sailings while WSF works toward restoring two-boat service.”

Although the additional sailings from Kitsap Transit will provide some temporary relief to ferry commuters, restoring two-boat service remains a priority for Washington State Ferries.

“Restoring full service to all routes is WSF’s top priority and we are constantly looking for ways to accelerate service restoration and to make the best use of our crew and vessel resources to implement our Service Restoration Plan,” Patty Rubstello, Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary, said in Kitsap Transit’s release. “The timing of full restoration of the Seattle/Bremerton route is dependent on the number of new licensed deck officers who complete training early in 2023.”

A Gig Harbor bartender and entrepreneur’s business was put to the test after recently participating in an online reality TV show.

Dane Drebin founded Gig Harbor-based, a website where people can find bartenders to hire for their private events. Although the business has been around for a few years, this is the first year it’s formally incorporated as an LLC, Drebin said. He recently finished participating in season 6 of “The Blox,” an online reality show in which entrepreneurs go through an intense startup incubator.

Drebin, who worked as a bartender at Anthony’s restaurant in Gig Harbor for almost 13 years, said he was often asked by regulars if he was available to bartend at private events. He’d pick up gigs here and there, and eventually realized he was making more money than with his day job.

Dane Drebin (left) with The Blox host Wes Bergmann
Dane Drebin (left) with The Blox host Wes Bergmann (Photo courtesy of Dane Drebin)

“I started doing those more and more and eventually I was like, ‘Why don’t I turn this into a … side hustle?'” he recalled. “And now the side hustle is becoming the full-time business.”

Drebin said he has about 20 bartenders currently active on Bartender for Hire, although he is in contact with more than 40 he can draw from. The company averaged about five events a weekend throughout the summer, ultimately doing more than 50 events total for the season, he said.

Drebin said he’d like to scale the business up to the point that it’s like Uber for bartenders. He’s in the process of crafting a subscription-based training course to help ensure the bartenders on the site have the skills necessary for the job.

Contestants participating in season 6 of The Blox
Contestants participating in season 6 of The Blox (Photo courtesy of Dane Drebin)

“You talk to a lot of people and they’re like, ‘Did you ever go to bartending school?'” he said. “And it’s like, I don’t even know what that is. Is that real? I’d like to make it real, though, by making it so you go through this bartending school and then it’s not just some fake certificate, because you then get incentivized … to work for Bartender for Hire.”

Drebin has been inspired to take his business to the next level thanks to his appearance on “The Blox,” which was created by Wes Bergmann, a past contenstant on MTV reality shows “The Challenge” and “The Real World.” Bergmann conceived of “The Blox” as a reality show for the streaming age, and it’s available to view on its Android and Apple phone apps, or on Facebook. The show is part of BetaBlox, a Kansis City-based startup incubator and accelerator that Bergmann founded.

Drebin describes the show as “The Real World” meets “Shark Tank.” The contestants are all entrepreneurs who go before four judges who are all worth more than $10 million, Drebin said.

“They’re judging you from morning to night on everything you’re doing,” he said.

Participants get a crash business course, taking three hours of lessons in the morning and then being put to the test later in the day: “Here’s a budget, and it’s based on this kind of business … You have 10 minutes to take what I taught you in that three-hour class and make a three minute pitch to this guy who’s worth millions and millions of dollars.”

“It’s a total pressure cooker, 16 cameras on you, mic’d up,” Drebin said. “It was very strenuous. We had a lady have to get put on an IV from exhaustion, and a lot of people had to leave. It was the most strenuous week of my life, for sure.”

Drebin said the production values of the show have improved with each season. He said he was told the first season had a budget of $5,000, the second had a budget of $10,000, and the third had a budget of around $20,000. Season 6 — the forthcoming season which Drebin will appear on — had a budget of almost $400,000, he said.

“So the production value of ours should be way better than the first few seasons,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how it looks.”

Dane Drebin being filmed for season 6 of The Blox
Dane Drebin being filmed for season 6 of The Blox (Photo courtesy of Dane Drebin)

There isn’t a clearcut prize for the winner, Drebin said. Any of the contestants could end up getting investment opportunities from the show.

“The best thing that we got out of it, honestly … is you met with 55 other businesses that got chosen out of 60,000,” he said. “And so everybody’s business had something super awesome to offer. I just felt like we all became family and we all text each other and help each other.” Some contestants are even partnering up and founding new businesses together, he added.

Although Drebin said he couldn’t speak about the outcome of the show before it airs, he said he plans to expand his business using tactics he learned from the show.

“I want to go into other states, I want to go all over the place, but also there’s an opportunity for me just to build it up to something that I could sell someday; I realized that’s also an option,” he said. “I already had a couple people offer me some interesting offers in that aspect. So it’s like, maybe the end game is to make it a super awesome business and sell it eventually. It just opens more doors.”

Drebin also recently purchased a party bus and is starting a second business, which will be called Party Bus for Hire, with his friend (and Bartender for Hire COO) Antonio Schiaffino. The bus will operate in Gig Harbor, Tacoma and Kitsap County, he said.

If that sounds like a lot of responsibility for one person, Drebin is quick to agree that it is. But he likes it that way.

“If I’m not busy, I feel like I’m dying,” he said with a laugh. “I have to be doing something at all times. So it’s not anything new for me.”

Watch The Blox

Season 5 of The Blox is airing soon; Drebin’s appearance is on season 6. Catch up on all the past seasons in the meantime on The Blox’s Android and Apple apps, or on Facebook.

To check out Drebin’s business, head to

Lady Dice believes music should be used to make a difference. Originally hailing from California but now residing in Oregon, the rapper has built a career crafting music that both uplifts and entertains.

In that vein, when Lady Dice performs at the Slippery Pig on Saturday, the proceeds from the show will go toward Feed the Streets, a charitable effort put on by local producer Doc Blackwell, who operates the charitable organization DocLuvTheKids.

We spoke with Dice about the message of her music, the benefits of remaining an independent artist, and what people can expect when they see her live.

The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

My understanding is that you grew up more into alternative-type music and fell into performing rap. Can you talk a bit about that?

Yeah, I grew up listening to classic rock and a lot of Motown when I was younger. And it wasn’t until I started, maybe like in high school, listening to more hip-hop. And I I’ve always loved it, but I just never thought it was going to be a path for myself necessarily.

It wasn’t until later I started making friends who made music and a rapper friend of mine was like, “Hey, you sing; you should do this hook for this song.” And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, OK, I’ll do that.” Well, it ended up being two hooks and I kind of had a little instant fan base from it and I just realized I could do it. I think it was more just gaining that confidence, too, of knowing that I could do it. And then it just took off from there.

Can you describe the songwriting process in terms of rap and hip-hop and how that’s different from genres like, say, pop or alternative?

Usually if it’s something that I feel I’m going to sing to, I’ll go and find the melody first. I’ll hum it out and figure that out and then I try and come up with a concept and fit words to that. But a lot of times even my singing stuff, I actually write it. I speak it first, and I did that before I was ever even into rap. So I would write it rhythmically, essentially, and then put it to a melody. So it’s kind of always been there.

And I have different writing processes every time for every song. If you listen to my music, some are very straight-up pop singing; only some are only rap. I definitely don’t keep myself in a box, so I go with my emotion and it kind of seems like every song is written a little bit differently. I don’t necessarily have a set process.

That touches on something I’ve asked other musical artists: Obviously there’s pros and cons to the rise of streaming music, because it can be harder to make money from music sales. But it seems like a benefit is that you’re not in a box as much and you have more creative freedom, because it’s so easy to find very specific niches. Has that been your experience, being able to explore different combinations of music without being pegged to one specific genre?

Yes, absolutely. That’s been something really big with social media. It’s opened it up to such a wide, vast variety of people and you get to find the people who aren’t necessarily only into what’s on mainstream radio or what everyone knows from the rock genre. You’re able to find more of your niche and that’s been really, really cool for me.

Also, we have so much information because of the internet and we can stay independent now. We don’t have to rely on a label to do everything for us. If you have the initiative and the hustle, you can learn how to do just about anything. So it really comes down to that — we have so much at our fingertips now. It’s been a great for reaching your audience, but also for us to educate ourselves so we aren’t forced to only give this sound, “Oh, well this label loves your singing, so only sing.” No, I do all these other things, too. So I’m real big on staying independent. I think we’re in a really cool time for music and talent.

Are you completely independent? Are you on an indie label?

I have distribution deal for my first album, but other than that I am independent. So I released my last couple singles on my own. I’m just trying to learn how to do all that, the importance of getting and buying all your beats and learning how to own all of your own stuff, because gosh, you can make a lot more money at the end of the day.

It seems like that’s becoming more common. I think one of the big examples is Macklemore, who I believe has been independent his whole career.

Yeah. He recorded “Thrift Shop” in a garage!

Wow! Yeah, so it definitely seems like that’s another pro of the internet, and of the equipment and software getting more affordable and accessible. It’s just a lot easier to do it yourself than it might have been maybe even 10 years ago.

Yep. And you used to need that cash advance in order to get the recording, to get the videos done, all these things, and now we can learn to do it on our own. It’s hustle now. There’s so much talent; talent isn’t it anymore. You have to be more than talented and we have it at our fingertips. You just have to utilize it.

Can you talk about your stage name, Lady Dice? And judging from your photos, it seems like you have a well defined sense of style. Can you talk about your musical persona and where that comes from?

My last name actually is Dice. So it is not as as cool of a story as a lot of people may think, but the idea of my look and the way that I present myself on stage is, you know, I get compliments a lot from women who are not itty bitty tiny, and they talk about, “I love that you wear short shorts and you let your legs jiggle on stage.” I really push for being proud of the body that I have, even though when I was younger, girls were obsessed with the magazines and having to have that Victoria’s Secret look, which don’t get me wrong, those women are beautiful, too. All bodies are beautiful. But it wasn’t an accepted thing to feel comfortable in your skin if you had a little bit of a belly or if you wanted to wear a crop top, but your stomach is going to go over your shorts when you sit down.

And I think that a lot of my style is showing that you can be different, be what you want to be and be comfortable in your skin. There is such a broader spectrum of a word than it used to be and people are really realizing there’s a lot of different types of beauty. So I love being different, I love being able to also have that “baddie” look, but being a good, kind person.

I go to schools and speak about bullying and the effects of bullying and suicide awareness. You can be beautiful, you can be that baddie, but you’ve also got to be a good person, because at the end of the day it really makes a difference and words matter. So I think that’s a lot of what I’m trying to drive, is even though I may look crazy, I may look a certain way, you could still be a great person and make a real big difference in this world. Kids want to listen to me when I go talk to them. I’m not there with a clipboard and a button-up shirt and I just feel like I can connect to fans and people in a little bit different of a way. And that’s my goal, is to reach the youth and make a difference at the end of the day.

How would you describe your performances? What can people expect if they’ve never seen you live before?

It’s definitely a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m going to take you everywhere. There are going to be times when you’re going to cry, there’re going to be times when you want to shake your butt. I take you everywhere, because that’s what I am. I won’t put myself in a box. If I feel a certain emotion, I write about it. I feel like there’s something for everybody at my shows.

I was into theater growing up. I’m real big on theatrics. I try to bring more than just a show. I try to bring a production and an environment and a feeling. I want to change something in someone by the time they leave.

Where are you based out of?

I’m originally from Southern California and that’s why a lot of my music, I talk about that, that’s where I was born and raised. But I actually live in Oregon now.

Have you performed in western Washington before?

I actually haven’t. I did a show in Spokane once … two shows actually in Spokane. But I’ve never been up that way.

Hopefully it will be good for you — we’ve been dealing with a lot of wildfire smoke. I don’t know how much you have down there, but it’s supposed to start raining; usually you kind of dread the rain, but I think everybody’s looking forward to it helping with the smoke.

I’ll bring my gas mask.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m really honored to be a part of this event, because it’s more than just music. It’s a group of people coming together and really working very hard to help others. And at the end of the day that’s what I want to do with my music. I have a gift and I want to use it for good and I just can’t thank Doc Blackwell enough.

Doc is just an amazing human. He runs DocLuvTheKids. He’s always doing community work out there. One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds are going toward this event he’s doing in November called Feed the Streets. He gives food, he makes emergency packs, they give out warm clothes. It’s just trying to help families in need and people in need during these winter months. And I think it’s amazing and I’m just so proud to know that that is what I’m traveling out there for. And I let Doc know, and I guess I can let you know, too, me, my kids, we’re all going to be coming back up and volunteering our time for that event as well. So all the money that’s raised, we will be coming back and doing that. I’m just very proud for what this event is about, that it’s going to help people. We have this talent, we have the fan base. If we can help, we should.

Lady Dice at the Slippery Pig

Lady Dice performs 7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, at the Slippery Pig, 18801 Front St. NE, Poulsbo. The show features DJ Defkawn and special guest. All ages. Tickets are $20. Buy them here.

All proceeds from the show will go toward Feed the Streets, an effort by DocLuvTheKids to feed the homeless.

Learn more about Lady Dice on her website.