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Reporter Central Kitsap

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2012 | Vol. 28, No. 4 | 50¢

Rededication ceremony for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier draws hundreds

Navy wife accused of embezzling $14K from PTA


Courtesy photos

A rededication ceremony for Bremerton’s updated Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial drew hundreds of supporters and spectators this past weekend at Ivy Green Cemetery. The color guard presents the colors, above, and Bremerton resident Todd Best speaks to the crowd, at right. Best spearheaded an effort to update the memorial and clean up the cemetery that involved hundreds of volunteers from all over the community and several businesses that donated materials, hundreds of free meals and free labor. The donated materials alone cost about $40,000 and the amount of volunteer labor used would have taken the “price tag” into the six figures. By KEVAN MOORE

Several hundred community members streamed into the Ivy Green Cemetery this past weekend for a rededication ceremony of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Bremerton is a replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Bremerton’s replica is one of only three such memorials in the United States. And for those who hadn’t

been to the cemetery in a while, the tomb and its surroundings would be nearly unrecognizable. Back in August, Bremerton resident Todd Best spearheaded a massive cleanup of the cemetery that involved hundreds of volunteers and he’s been working ever since to make the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier a worthy memorial to those that have served this country and given the ultimate sacrifice. “We can’t forget those who have given us the freedom we sometimes take for granted,” Best said.

“They’re laid to rest now, but we have to give them the respect they so richly deserve.” Best said he heard about the dilapidated condition of the cemetery from a friend and went to see things for himself. “I was mad,” Best said. “I spent all day pulling weeds, unearthing grave markers of veterans and I absolutely started crying. And I’m not an emotional guy. I realized I had not even made a dent and said See UNKNOWN, A9

A local Navy wife stands accused of stealing more than $14,000 from the Clear Creek Elementary School Parent Teachers Association and leaving the organization’s savings account empty and the checking account overdrawn. Authorities claim that Clear Creek PTA treasurer and Silverdale resident Michelle Eley, 30, wrote checks to herself and for cash totaling $14,627 without authorization to do so. Money was also spent through electronic checks written to companies such as Target. Eley was booked in the Kitsap County Jail for theft in the first degree and later released without bail. K itsap Count y Sheriff ’s Office spokesperson Scott Wilson said the case was forwarded to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office this week following a two-week investigation into the alleged embezzlement. Tomas Danaher, spokesperson for Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, where Eley’s husband is stationed, said that it would be inappropriate for the Navy to comment on a matter as it is under local jurisdiction. Eley’s alleged PTA embezzlement is the second to occur in the Central Kitsap School

District since 2010 when the former treasurer of Jackson Park Elementary School’s PTA was charged with theft for allegedly embezzling more than $18,000. That money was intended to be spent on reading awards, a sixth-grade graduation ceremony, a book fair and a yearbook. The Jackson Park PTA embezzlement was invesitaged by Navy criminal investigators. Nationally, embezzlement by PTA officers is the number one negative problem facing the association. D av i d Beil, Community Relations Director for SKSD, said district leaders were sorry to hear about the allegation. The state chapter works with local PTA to educate them on these matters, he said. “We don’t want this to overshadow the important work that occurs every day through PTA members at schools across CK,” he said. Beil said the district has no authority over PTA finances and that the problem was discovered by the PTA itself. Regardless, CKSD expects to continue a strong partnership with the PTA and offer any support it can to both the PTA and its members, he said. The president of the Clear Creek PTA first called the sheriff ’s

See PTA, A9

Central Kitsap Reporter, October 05, 2012  
Central Kitsap Reporter, October 05, 2012  

October 05, 2012 edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter