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Reporter Central Kitsap

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FRIDAY, JuLY 19, 2013 | Vol. 28, No. 42 | | 50¢

Food bank lines don’t shrink in summer heat

CK Fire District Photo

Culverts on private property may soon need inspecting.

Bridges, culverts worry CK Fire District officials By Leslie Kelly

Leslie Kelly/ Staff photo

Tricia Vantino (left) and Taryn Powers put together snack packs at the Central Kitsap Food Bank. The need for help has been increasing especially for families with children who don’t get school breakfast and lunches in the summer months. By Leslie Kelly

Summer may be the time for carefree days in the sun and taking enjoyable vacations. But for those who run area food banks, there’s no vacation from their job. “There’s always a need,” said Patti Peterson, executive director of the Bremerton Foodline. “This summer’s no different. Peterson, who has been affiliated with Bremerton Foodline for more than a dozen years, said this year in June, needs were greater than a year ago. And donations were down. “There’s a number of causes,” she said. “But sequestration is definitely one of them.” Peterson said that the food bank is still getting donations, but the impact of sequestration had seen

donations, both financial and food, drop off. “The federal payroll is the most significant income source in this area,” she said. “When that gets cut, it affects us. Instead of someone giving us 10 items in a food drive, they’re only able to give us five because they’ve lost confidence in the local economy. They don’t know what’s down the road for them. So they’re cautious.” While she’s not seen an increase in federal or sequestered employees using the food bank, she has seen other things in the local economy increase their client base. “Anytime a business closes, that’s bad news,” she said. “Take the Sizzler (steakhouse on Wheaton Way). Those employees may get unemployment eventually, but that will be used

to pay their rent and bills. They will still need help with food.” And another thing affecting their food bank’s growing need is that people are relocating to Bremerton, thinking there are jobs. “I had a family in the other day who moved here from Texas because they heard there were jobs here,” she said. “People have that impression, but it’s not the case.” In June, Bremerton Foodline served 1,325 baskets of food, equating to 3,665 individuals. Families and individuals who have signed up with the food bank can get help once a month. Allocations are given based on the number of people in the family. If they need more help than that, they are referred to other food programs in the area. In total, the food bank

was open 20 days and handed out 55,990 pounds of food. During that same time 85 volunteers put in 1,295 hours in June, to keep food on the shelves at the food bank, shop with clients and sort products. As do most food banks in this area, Bremerton Foodline gets food from local food drives, and from food bank food distributors such as Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest. Because those places can purchase food directly from wholesalers and in massive quantities, food can be purchased at a reduced cost. Still, local food banks pay for that food and sometimes for the cost to have the food delivered. But as Peterson points out, by buying in quantities, a box of cereal can cost 98 cents, rather than $1.50 See FOOD BANK, A13

Central Kitsap Fire Chief Scott Weninger knows that his firefighters and EMTs are ready and willing to respond to any call they receive. But he also knows that some calls present unique circumstances — crossing private bridges and culverts that may not be able to stand the weight of emergency vehicles. That is why the Central Kitsap Fire District will take up the issue when it meets July 22. The board will address a draft policy on limited access roadways and bridges at 4 p.m. at the fire district’s administrative building, 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road, Silverdale. “Our concern is that our first responders may be out on calls and come to these questionable bridges and crossings when it is dark, or in the rain, and have to make a decision whether they are safe to cross,” Weninger said. “By addressing this ahead of time, and setting a policy and a standard of operation, we’re taking that decision out of their hands and letting the public know ahead of time if access is in question.” Although there have not been incidents in the Central Kitsap Fire District where private bridges or culverts

have collapsed under the weight of fire equipment, there have been plenty across the nation, and one in the Gig Harbor area, he said. “We want to address this before something like that happens here,” he said. Weninger said what’s in question are bridges and culverts on private property that are not inspected by county or state departments. The policy asks property owners to have an inspection by a structural engineer every five years and report the findings to the fire district. If the bridge or culvert is certified to be able to handle the weight of fire equipment, it will be marked and trucks will cross in the event of an emergency. If not, property owners will be notified that emergency equipment will not be allowed to cross the bridge or culvert. The draft policy was written much like the one that is used in Gig Harbor, Weninger said. “We started this process in December of 2012 when our internal safety committee said this was a critical issue for the district,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is be proactive.” The district knows of 91 bridges that need to be inspected. They aren’t certain of the number of culverts that may be in question. See BRIDGES, A13

Central Kitsap Reporter, July 19, 2013  
Central Kitsap Reporter, July 19, 2013  

July 19, 2013 edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter