Reporter Central Kitsap Everything in one location to realize your wildest wedding dreams Kitsap Wedding Expo Saturday, February 22, 2014 • 10am - 5pm • Kitsap Sun Pavilion Wedding season Check out the Kitsap Wedding Expo guide inside Kitsap Week FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2014 | Vol. 29, No. 21 | WWW.CENTRALKITSAPREPORTER.COM | 50¢ They have a friendship that’s outlasted time BY LESLIE KELLY LKELLY@SOUNDPUBLISHING.COM They’ve played ball together. They’ve dressed as hula girls and performed during a school assembly. They’ve sought shelter under school desks in the dark for practice bombing raids during World War II. They’ve shared their first jobs. They enlisted in the military service together. And they’ve even stolen each other’s girlfriends. But they’ve never had a fight and they’ve never lost touch with each other. For four 80-year-old men, that’s tried and true friendship. For Harold Dahl, of Silverdale, Ed Singer, of Everett, Glen Pearson of Bellingham and Jim Hajek of Kelso, turning 80 this year is made all the better because they can share it. And that’s just what they did. Last week the four, along with family and friends, gathered at the Yacht Club Broiler in Silverdale to celebrate Ed’s Contributed photo Harold Dahl, front row left, along with Glen Pearson and Jim Hajek are pictured in their first-grade photo. They, and Ed Singer, have remained friends for more than 70 years. birthday. It was a surprise for Ed, who turned 80 on Feb. 12. Glen, who turned 80 in January, arranged the party through Ed’s daughter, Regan, who lives in Edmonds. She picked up her dad and headed for a restaurant in downtown Edmonds, but instead got in the ferry line. “I said to her, ‘You missed the turn,’ ” Singer said. “But then she told me, ‘No dad, we’re going to Silverdale for your birthday lunch.’ ” And when he got to the broiler, there they were, Glen, Jim, and of course, Harold. “I was surprised,” said Singer. “But it means the world to me.” Dahl said the party had to be at the broiler because it sits on the same land where the four guys played as kids. “This is where we grew up,” he said. “This is where we hung out.” In fact, Dahl brought an old photograph showing the lumber store that was around at the time the four met in grade school. They all started the first grade in the fall of 1940 in a fourroom school house that was where the Silverdale Library now sits. They went on to attend school in the building that is now the Central Kitsap School District’s administrative building. And they all graduated from Central Kitsap High School together in 1952. The men recalled many things about growing up in Silverdale when there wasn’t much except Old Town, the feed store, and Dahl’s father’s construction shop which was next to the Silverdale Hotel on Dyes Inlet. Lawrence Greaves, who was at the party, recalled when his father, who had the grocery in town, gave Harold, Ed and Glen, their first job. “He told them to divide up some 50 pound bags of potatoes into five and 10 pound bags,” Greeves said. “Dad told Ed to hold the 50-pound bag open and Glen to take potatoes out of it and put them in the smaller bags and then Harold would read the scale.” Nobody even remembered what they got paid for the job, but they all remembered it was their first paying job. “Probably potatoes,” Dahl joked. Singer said Dahl’s father, Olaf, was a craftsman. During World War II when they were kids, he took three-quarter inch plywood and made them Tommy Machine guns, so they could play war. “There were no toy guns then because all the metal SEE FRIENDS, A9 Economic summit work underway at CK Fire BY LESLIE KELLY LKELLY@SOUNDPUBLISHING.COM An ad-hoc group that was formed to look at the economic issues facing the Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue District met this month, according to district officials. But the meeting and the results were not made public. In fact, requests to find out who is serving on the committee, how they were chosen and what the group’s goals are, were turned down. According to Ileana LiMarzi, public information officer for CKFR, the group has met once and plans another meeting for early March. “We met for an initial meeting and had a diverse group of internal stakeholders,” LiMarzi wrote in an email message. “The group agreed that CKFR is facing an economic crisis, current trends are not sustainable and we will need to find ways to work together to solve it.” She said the group has no citizens or residents in attendance. “Much like a staff meeting, the meetings of this group are kept private,” she said. “Once the group has suggestions on how to better our current economic situation, a presentation will be made to the board of commissioners for consideration.” The group came about as a suggestion by the district’s administration after there were communica- tion problems between firefighters, administrators and fire district commissioners. At issue was a move by Fire Chief Scott Weninger to reduce the minimum number of firefighter/ EMTs on each shift from 19 to 17. The district currently has enough firefighters to staff 25 per shift, for three shifts each day. But often times, when some are out sick, on vacation, or at required training and education seminars, staffing is reduced. Previously, the district would call in firefighters for overtime to keep the minimum at 19. But during budget discussions for 2014 held in late 2013, commissioners made it clear that overtime must be reduced. It was nearly $900,000 in 2013. Moving to 17 as the minimum staffing got the approval of four of five fire commissioners. The decision, which was made at a board of commissioners meeting in November, was made without input from the firefighters, some of them said. Union officials and individual firefighters spoke at that meeting, asking that they be able to have more input before action was taken. But commissioners approved the 17 minimum staff without that which bought about criticism from firefighters. A public group, called Kitsap Fire Watch, began posting signs that questioned the administra- tion’s action. They have posted online the days when the Chico Station has not been staffed with professional firefighters. That happens when firefighters are needed at other stations to keep those numbers to a minimum of 17 firefighters. Volunteers are available for the Chico Station on those days. The aim of the Kitsap Fire Watch, it says, is to serve as a community resource to improve the availability of information related to the actions of the boards of commissioners of Kitsap County’s fire districts. Ultimately, what resulted was an offer from the administration to form the CKFR economic sum- mit group to look at the financial situation in the district and creative ways that it could be addressed. The district has lost millions in past years due to a declining assessed value of property for taxing purposes throughout the district. At the time the economic summit group was approved by the commissioners, at least two of the commissioners offered to serve. If there were more, it would be quorum and would have to be open to the public. Since the reduction in minimums, Kitsap Fire Watch has posted the days when the Chico station is not staffed. The station has been closed ten times, according to the site.