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By Chief Petty Officer Ahron Arendes

BANGOR, Wash. – The Trident Training Facility (TTF) Bangor First Class Petty Officer Association (FCPOA) completed a donation of more than $3,000 worth of toys and food Dec. 19 to ensure underprivileged families in Kitsap County have a happy holiday season.The TTF FCPOA made the donations to the Kitsap Community Resources (KCR) Christmas Angels program and the Kitsap County Food Bank Coalition.

“We, as service members, are very blessed,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS/EXW) Nathan Patrick, TTF FCPOA holiday donation coordinator. “There are a lot of families that struggle this time of year, not only with how they’re going to feed their families, but also with how they’re going to provide their children a merry Christmas. We in the military have stability, so it’s important that we assist the community in helping those families.”

The TTF FCPOA became inspired to help this holiday season when Patrick returned from an eight-month individual augmentee (IA) assignment in Afghanistan.

“While I was gone overseas, I saw all of the support we received from others, and it was awesome,” said Patrick. “It reminded me that there are still people that care, so when I got back here I wanted to make sure we were doing our part to help those in need. I also grew up as one of those families. There were times where I don’t think I would have had a Christmas if it wasn’t for the folks like those here at TTF.”

Patrick said the TTF FCPOA will continue helping Kitsap families in future holiday seasons.

“This is an opportunity for everyone to take a break from their busy schedules and open their hearts to those in need. Will people remember you as the hardened military guy or as someone with a big heart?” said Patrick.

The KCR Christmas Angels program was established to provide toys for underprivileged children, or “angels,” throughout Kitsap County. The Kitsap County Food Bank Coalition is a network of eight food banks working to alleviate hunger throughout the country.

Washington State Ferries has submitted a plan to convert six ferries to run on liquefied natural gas to the U.S. Coast Guard. WSF says the conversion would save them money on fuel costs and reduce emissions.

The proposal, to convert six Issaquah Class ferries to run on liquefied natural gas, follows more than three years of study, according to a press release from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

WSF submitted its proposal to the Coast Guard Nov. 18 in a formal letter of intent and waterways suitability assessment, according to the release. It marks the official starting point of the Coast Guard’s review process, according to the release. WSF expects a finding from the Coast Guard in 2014.

Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Mason County – Craig Burdick and his daughter Bella, 6, hammer on their future Habitat home at the Wall Raising ceremony on Nov. 16.

A wall raising ceremony Nov. 16 kicked off a new Habitat for Humanity project in Belfair.

A group of ProBuild volunteers erected the wall, which is the future home of their fellow employee Craig Burdick and his three daughters, according to a press release from Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers and staff from the Shelton ProBuild constructed, raised and anchored the last interior wall of the future house. The family, alongside friends, Habitat board members and other community members, celebrated the start of construction on their new home.

Burdick and his daughters —

You may eat them as part of a healthy diet, but are you aware of the salmon’s essential role in the local ecosystem?

This Friday, you’ll have the opportunity to learn everything you ever wanted to know about salmon, and then some as you become a “salmon docent” guide.

Local experts Paul Dorn, of the Suquamish Tribe, and Kathy Peters, of Kitsap County, will discuss salmon habitat, life cycles and species during the Salmon Stewards Training 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the first floor chambers of the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton. Cost is $10, or free to those who registered for the 2013 Stream Stewards training.

Citizens will learn how to be a “salmon docent” for optional volunteering at streams in Kitsap County during 2013 Kitsap Salmon Tours.

Citizens may also take the full Stream Stewards training. Pack a lunch and dress for the weather. A field trip will follow the in-class training.

Steam Stewards Training is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays from Sept. 27 through Nov. 1 on the first floor chambers and room 406 of the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton. The cost is $70, which includes the salmon docent training on Sept. 27.

The six-week training teaches people about local streams, wetlands and forests, their interconnected nature and human connections and influences, according to a press release. Topics discussed by experts includes forest ecology; health and management; insects, fish and wildlife; and watershed, riparian and stream ecology.

For more information or to register, visit Washington State University’s website at http://kitsap.wsu.edu and click on

Kitsap County’s three recycling and garbage facilities are closed until Oct. 1, according to a press release from the county. Normal schedules resume Oct. 2.

The closure allows for operational changes.

The closure affects the Silverdale, Olalla, and Hansville recycling and garbage facilities. The Poulsbo Recycle Center is open for regular hours. Customers can take garbage and recyclables to the Olympic View Transfer Station, which remains open on October 1.

For a list of recycling and garbage facilities, go to

By Victor Bremson | PeaceVoice

We are about to bomb Syria and we shouldn’t.

It is pretty clear that Syria and the Middle East continue to be a mess. There are lots of conflicting issues in play; religion, oil, geopolitical, militarism, historical conflicts and a push for more freedom.

There is a very destructive civil war going on in Syria that has negatively impacted a large segment of their population. It is now currently alleged that nerve gas has been used as a weapon against the opposition. A terrible escalation.

Some believe that Obama is bowing to domestic political pressure and once again calling for a violent military response. On the other hand many also agree that there is major suffering going on in Syria and something has to be done. But what?

It is pretty obvious that we are in a lose-lose situation. Doing nothing will cause more suffering and bombing will probably cause even more suffering without any assurances that a better outcome will happen for the people of Syria.

I was active in a group called Beyond War in the 1980’s. We believed that War Is Obsolete. Obsolete doesn’t mean that there are no wars on the planet. It just means that wars don’t work, they don’t accomplish anything.

Howard Thurman, American Civil Rights philosopher, said that choosing the path of violence destroys the creative opportunity to really solve a problem. The urge for a quick solution gives people a quick high but it almost always replaced with a long-term headache. This is very apparent in our international relationships. Violence is always counter-productive. It doesn’t work. We hurt people and destroy lives.

What can our country do to really make a long-term positive impact in the Middle East? That would take some of our best thinking but it won’t happen because the US national exceptionalist mythology is too strong, that we are the most powerful country in the world and can therefore do whatever we want to do. After 9/11 we never asked ourselves why someone might want to bomb us or what our options are. We don’t give creativity a chance. We don’t apply our values to our decisions.

We are in fact bullies in the eyes of much of the world?an attack on Syria now would confirm that to the millions who already see that no country has invaded and occupied another country in this entire new millennium except the USA. And even worse, we are often going to war to protect American corporate interests. These are examples of obsolete thinking.

Here are a few creative suggestions for what the US could do in the Middle East.

1. Decide what our deepest values are and live them.

2. Serve as a better role model of a functioning democracy. Use the old expression ‘attraction instead of promotion’.

3. Encourage practical solutions for dealing with the poverty and ignorance in the Middle East.

4. Reduce the influence of oil on our decision-making by moving more rapidly towards alternative energy.

5. Begin the process of serious disarmament of our own weapons of mass destruction.

6. Ensure that the world spotlight shines brightly on the parties causing the suffering. Name them. Treat them as criminals and call them to justice.

7. Spend our foreign relief money on relieving suffering of citizens impacted by violent governments, not on arms.

8. Support nongovernmental organizations that are in the field helping people.

9. Make a personal commitment to resolve conflict without violence.

10. Find out who the indigenous groups are on the ground who are opposing the regime using exclusively nonviolent tactics and support them.

11. The UN Security Council should design, pass, and enforce tough economic and political sanctions that radically affect only the elites who are ordering the violence and the forces carrying out those orders, not the average citizen who is already suffering.

12. Support a parallel government if the violent regime persists.

13. Redirect resources away from military aid toward humanitarian aid to refugees.

14. Build a volunteer nonviolent de-escalation force willing to risk nonviolent intervention.

15. Offer the most brutal dictators a way out that allows them to live out their lives protected from the military strikes and outraged mobs they righteously fear. Trade some justice for much less bloodshed.

16. Ask the nonviolent parties on the ground in Syria in this case for more creative ideas to pressure change and protect the innocent without violence. Help put them into play.

All of the above take a willingness to give up violence and find real solutions. We need and they need a much better answer.

Victor Bremson, Seattle, is a long-time peace activist and writes for PeaceVoice.