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Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

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North Kitsap’s



Chuck Strahm

Laura Price

Meisha Rouser

Russell Steele

Becky Erickson

Karen Timken

Russ Barker

Brent Stenman

orth Kitsap is world class when it comes to culture, history, natural beauty and quality of life. And, of course, there are people who work hard to protect and complement those things that make North Kitsap a great place in which to live, work and play. This year’s Who’s Who selections are Chuck Strahm, Hansville community organizer; Laura Price, Port Gamble S’Klallam educator; Meisha Rouser, SoundRunner program manager; Russell Steele, president/CEO of Port Madison Enterprises; Becky Erickson, mayor of Poulsbo; Karen Timken, executive of Fishline; and Russ Barker and Brent Stenman, who are bringing the Babe Ruth World Series to the Poulsbo area.

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Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

His games bring people together for fun Profile: Chuck ‘Captain Coaster’ Strahm of Hansville By TAD SOOTER


huck Strahm didn’t set out to be a super hero. When the Hansville resident donned his Captain Coaster cape for the first time last summer, he was trying to help families have a good time. “That’s really how it all started, and that’s really my message,” he said. “It had nothing to do with me personally.” A year ago, the Greater Hansville Community Center was looking for ways to engage parents and children in its events. Hansville has a large population of retirees. They fill its garden clubs and coffee groups and turn out in droves to volunteer at town fundraisers. They keep the town ticking. But there are young families in town too, Strahm said, and the Community Center’s board wanted to find activities they’d relate to. Strahm, an active Community Center volunteer, and his wife M.J. offered to help. The challenge got him thinking about his childhood. Strahm grew up at the bottom of a steep hill in Southern California. What kept him entertained was building contraptions to roll down it. He’d strap together scrap parts and spare wheels, and ride the resulting coaster downhill

Chuck Strahm organized Hansville’s Coaster Games and Pinewood Derby to engage parents and children in the community. His sense of fun comes out in his alter ego, Captain Coaster. The next Coaster Games will be Aug. 27. Tad Sooter / Herald as fast as it would go. It was fun then; why not bring it to Kitsap? Strahm began plans for the first-ever Hansville Coaster Games, a casual, all-ages race featuring homemade coaster cars. The competition was styled after Soap Box Derby, only with crazier cars and far fewer rules. “I had sort of a silly idea, and the Community Center supported it,” Strahm said. So did local businesses, which stepped up with donations of money and

“For me personally, it’s about being a kid again. Who doesn’t want to be a kid again?” — Chuck Strahm Brad Camp / Herald 2010

coaster parts. The inaugural Coaster Games, in August 2010, drew 26 entries, ages 8 to 62. Coaster cars ranged from the bizarre (a slug

shaped car, complete with antennae) to the frighteningly simple (a bathtub on wheels). The crowd was as

impressive as the entries. Several hundred attendees lined Benchmark Avenue to watch the racing. Strahm arrived at the races in a cape and mask, his “Captain Coaster” costume. “The whole town showed up. It was really fun,” he said. Buoyed by the success of the Coaster Games, Strahm organized a Pinewood Derby this winter. The derbies are like miniature soapbox races. Children carve little cars from blocks of wood, and race them

down an indoor track. The Pinewood Derby drew nearly 30 entries and another enthusiastic crowd. This summer, Strahm is gearing up for another Coaster Games on Aug. 27, hoping to draw even more families to the track. Volunteers and donors have pitched in this year to help build a coaster car for children who aren’t able to build their own at home, or whose cars don’t meet safety standards. Strahm still wants to attract more teens to the games, but he believes his silly idea has brought the Community Center closer to its goal of engaging all ages. “That’s what we were after, not just the children, but the families,” Strahm said. “Between this and the Pinewood Derby, we’ve met a lot of new people.” A result Strahm didn’t expect was the popularity of his alter ego, Captain Coaster. Even without the cape, people around town greet him with the new nickname. The Coaster Games entered a float in the Kingston Fourth of July parade. Strahm came in costume. “People were yelling, ‘That’s what this country needs, a new super hero,’ ” Strahm said. “I guess they take it more seriously than I do.” Strahm is happy tinkering in his shop and testing new inventions. And his mind can’t help but wander to sunny days on a hill in California, where homemade machines and skinned knees were part of a boy’s life. “For me personally, it’s about being a kid again,” he said. “Who doesn’t want to be a kid again?”

This year’s Who’s Who selections COMMUNITY: Chuck Strahm, Hansville community events organizer (Writer: Tad Sooter) CULTURE: Laura

Price, S’Klallam Canoe Family leader Laura Price (Writer: Tad Sooter)

Meisha Rouser, SoundRunner program manager (Writer: Tad Sooter)


Russell Steele, president/CEO of Port

Madison Enterprises (Writer: Johnny Walker) GOVERNMENT Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson (Writer:

Richard Walker) HUMAN SERVICES: Karen Timken, executive director of Fishline (Writer: Kipp Robertson)

SPORTS: Russ Barker and Brent Stenman, Babe Ruth World Series (Writer: Kipp Robertson)

Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

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Changing lives through cultural awareness the right path as a young woman. After college, at age 22, she found herself back in North Kitsap and at loose ends. “I could have been a weekend warrior, partying and drinking,” she said. Instead, her uncles — both carvers and canoe skippers — told her to make a paddle and join the

Profile: Laura Price of Port Gamble S’Klallam By TAD SOOTER

journey to Bella Bella. The Canoe Journey to the remote community in British Columbia in 1993 was the first hosted by a Native nation, and followed the Paddle to Seattle in 1989. Pullers who traveled to Bella Bella said the three-week odyssey was grueling but powerful. “Going on the Journey

was really my discovery of feeling or being S’Klallam,” Price said. “It changed my life in a good way. It opened my eyes to our ancestral heritage. “It was a critical time for me,” she continued, “I realized I didn’t want to waste my life away. I think that’s why I really dedicated myself


n a breezy Thursday evening, Laura Price pushes a canoe off the sand at Point Julia and calls for “paddles in the water.” There’s a small chop on Port Gamble Bay, and a surging tide is pushing waves onto the beach. The 10 pullers — mostly Port Gamble S’Klallam youth — dip their paddles in unison, and with steady strokes work the canoe away from shore as Price guides their progress from her seat at the stern. This is Price’s favorite classroom, and canoes are a


Laura Price said going on the Canoe Journey changed her life in a good way. ‘It opened my eyes to my ancestral heritage,’ she said. Tad Sooter / Herald powerful teaching tool. These pullers will learn to work together; one paddle out of time will throw off the entire crew. They will learn to treat themselves well; a sunburnt, hungry or hungover puller won’t last through a long day on the water. And the canoe embodies a connection to ancestral traditions, a tie that can give them strength and

See price, Page A12

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confidence. In her role as a Port Gamble S’Klallam Canoe Family organizer and canoe skipper, and in her work in drug and alcohol prevention, Price has seen the potential for cultural awareness to change lives for the better. “It lets them feel that pride and ownership,” Price said. “They can feel that identity.” Canoes put Price on

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Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

She has a grand vision for passenger ferries Profile: Meisha Rouser, general manager of SoundRunner By TAD SOOTER


he Port of Kingston’s SoundRunner passenger ferry is barely two months old, but General Manager Meisha Rouser feels many eyes on the project. “A lot of people want to know, how do you do this?” Rouser said. “I got calls from Alaska last week.” There is a distinct duality to Rouser’s work. On one hand, she’s juggling the logistics of growing a fledgling commuter ferry into a self-sustaining enterprise. On the other, she’s helping develop an expanding vision for SoundRunner as an economic dynamo for North Kitsap and beyond. All the while, she’s aware that


Continued from page A11 myself to working with kids.” Price has worked with tribal youth for about 15 years in various capacities. Along with a team of tribal educators, she helps bring traditional crafts, songs and lessons from canoe culture into teaching for tribal

Meisha Rouser, general manager of SoundRunner.

Johnny Walker / Herald

SoundRunner may serve as a model for passenger ferries across the region. Rouser was hired this spring to oversee the relaunch of SoundRunner. The service to Seattle first started in October 2010,

but was suspended in November after a month of foul weather, breakdowns and general discord. The port fired its first SoundRunner manager in October; a second departed in November.

youth. Price is certified to teach Klallam, the S’Klallam’s native language. Though there’s now a printed word list and voluminous curriculum built around Klallam, there are almost no native speakers remaining. “It’s still an endangered language,” Price said. She wants to see it available as an option in public schools. In the canoe family —

essentially a canoe club built around the yearly journey — she is a key organizer and one of a very few experienced skippers. Price is also director of the Healing of the Canoe project on the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation. The S’Klallam Tribe, Suquamish Tribe and University of Washington are working together to study and implement plans to combat

The port regrouped over the winter with the help of a 10-member volunteer advisory committee. The committee advised the port to relaunch SoundRunner in the spring and hire a new manager. Rouser answered the call. She’d moved to Kingston with her family from the San Francisco Bay area in 2003 with wide-ranging experience in business development, marketing and management. She saw the SoundRunner opening as an opportunity to lead a project vital to the community. “I feel very privileged to be able to take this on,” Rouser said after her hiring was announced in May, along with that of Operations Manager Ken Brazeau. SoundRunner relaunched May 31 and has served steadily since. It’s attracted a dedicated group of 20 to 30 commuters, and is gradually adding more, but it will take more than 100 to break even financially. A host of special event trips — midday shopping runs,

sailings to sports games, cruises to nearby towns — have helped raise the ferry’s profile. Rouser and her team of volunteers have been pitched the ferry to any community group that will listen, from Poulsbo to Port Townsend. They’ve posted signs and running advertisements as well, but nothing may be as effective as friends telling friends. “It’s sort of viral marketing in a way,” Rouser said of her community visits. SoundRunner is intended to be much more than a transit ferry. So, while coaxing along the new service, Rouser is meeting with business leaders, discussing a grander vision for the passenger ferry. They see a service delivering shoppers, visitors and tourist dollars into North Kitsap, catering to special, perhaps shuttling tours around the peninsula. An economic generator for an entire region. The opportunities are endless and there’s no telling what the final model will be, Rouser said. “It’s the

emergence of the vision.” None of it would be possible without the help of volunteers, Rouser said. From crafting a business plan to planning special event trips, North Kitsap residents had a hand in every step of the SoundRunner relaunch. “It’s going good but thank God we have such a community of volunteers,” she said. Even with community support, the job is all-consuming for Rouser. She sometimes works seven days a week, traveling across four counties and riding the ferry regularly to connect with riders. Positive response keeps her going. “I’m energized by all the feedback we get,” Rouser said. “People love it.” Meisha’s husband Jeff and children, Cammy, 12, and Garrett, 14, have adjusted to her frenetic schedule, she said. But SoundRunner stays at the office. “They started a rule that we can’t talk about the boat at home,” Rouser said with a laugh.

drug and alcohol abuse, and promote overall health on the reservations. The project emphasizes using resources already available in the community to promote substance abuse. On the reservation, substance-free cultural traditions and events like the Canoe Journey are profoundly effective tools for promoting sobriety, Price said. “It’s what comes

naturally to the families out here,” she said. Price has an impressive ability to handle a host of responsibilities, while having a profound impact on the lives of children, Port Gamble S’Klallam Chairman Jeromy Sullivan said. “She’s certainly had huge success with all of our kids,” he said. “She teaches kids about respecting our cul-

ture. They all learn it now.” And on top of it all, she skippers canoes with confidence. “Not many people can do it,” Sullivan said. Price and her husband Joe have a young daughter, Nizhoni. Price wants her to grow up in schools that value her culture, and in a community that’s healthy and strong. “She’s my inspiration now,” Price said.

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Bird Electric Corporation began business in 1973 with a 7 unit condominium project on the Poulsbo waterfront. Rob Bird worked by himself in those early days, primarily focusing on residential work. His background of commercial and industrial while serving as an apprentice, journeyman, and foreman electrician for six years in Los Angeles gave him the skills he soon needed to diversify. As demand for his work grew, Rob needed to bring on additional help. One of Bird Electric’s first employees was hired in 1974, and he and others hired shortly thereafter remain employees to this day. Including, Von Morley, who was hired to operate and manage their store in 1976 and continued on as an estimator eventually becoming a partner and vice president to Bird Electric. It is not only unique in the construction industry for a group to stay together for so many years, but also to have three generations of one family working together. Jerol Bird, Rob’s son, began working full time in 1989 and is now an estimator/project manager when he’s not preparing himself to eventually take-over the management reins. Jerol Bird Jr., Rob’s grandson began working in the family business as well in 2010. In addition to being equipped to tackle any commercial or residential wiring job, large or small, Bird Electric has incorporated fire and security alarm wiring, the monitoring of both, and data telecommunication wiring into their business. They welcome new challenges and look forward to working with you.

Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

Repositioning Kitsap as a regional destination Profile: Russell Steele, CEO of Port Madison Enterprises

North Kitsap Family Practice & Urgent Care is proud to announce their two newest providers... Rachelle Wilcox, MD & Donald Novey, MD to our practice Dr. Wilcox

is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and University of Michigan Family Medicine Residency program. She is a boardcertified family physician with special interests in women’s health issues, chronic disease management, and pediatrics. She is accepting new pediatric and adult patients.



hen Port Madison Enterprises CEO Russell Steele turns on his office computer in the morning, he is greeted by the theme song to “Superman.” “It invigorates me,” Steele remarks with a smile. Installed on the sly by a support technician, the music reminds Steele of a nickname he received earlier in his life — the “man of Steele.” Today, he works a Superman-like schedule directing the Suquamish Tribe’s economic development arm, which includes Clearwater Casino Resort, White Horse Golf Club, Kiana Lodge, Agate Pass Business Park, and vehicle fuel and retail outlets. In March, Steele was named Economic Development Champion of the Year by the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. He is known as a man who gets things done. Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman said Steele is an important part

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Rachelle Wilcox, MD

Dr. Novey From left, Port Madison Enterprises CEO Russell Steele has joined employees at their jobs, including washing dishes for Clearwater Casino sous chef Matt LaMagna. Contributed / Port Madison Enterprises of the tribe’s economic and political growth. “He is effective and professional, and very good at communicating to the membership and the council,” Forsman said. Executive Director Patricia Graf-Hoke of the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau said Steele’s work at Port Madison Enterprises and the Economic Development Alliance have helped reposition Kitsap as a destination, rather than a place to pass through en route to the Olympic Peninsula. Steele, who has earned four regional awards for his business acumen and lead-

ership, initially wanted to be a teacher. The Centralia native graduated from Federal Way High School in 1964, then planned to study history at what is now Central Washington University. A shortage of teaching positions at the time led him to pursue a different course. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. “I give a lot of credit to the Marine Corps and can thank them for lasting selfdiscipline,” Steele said. “It was a defining time that motivated me to finish college.” Steele graduated with a See STEELE, Page A14

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Port Madison Enterprises in 2001. Steele places great value on his relationship and work with the Suquamish Tribe. “I’d take anything over corporate America,” Steele said. “(With Suquamish), it is not all about greed. It isn’t about stock options. It’s about doing the right thing. Corporate America could learn something from the tribes.” Steele also feels able to

Continued from page A13 bachelor’s in business from Seattle University in 1969. Steele’s first job in the hospitality industry was dishwasher. He found he enjoyed the camaraderie of working with a team. He advanced through the ranks with companies in New York and California, then returned to Washington and joined

make a difference there. “You can see the fruit of your labor and its immediate impact,” he said. Despite the current economic climate, Steele is optimistic. “I believe in what we can do. A cloudy today may be sunny tomorrow,” Steele said. One of his role models is Theodore Roosevelt. “He set a good example for being hands-on and showed a willingness to do

Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

whatever you have to do to get the job done.” Clearwater Casino Sous Chef Matt LaMagna has uncommon experience with Steele’s hands-on leadership. In the company’s “Walk In My Shoes” program, all Port Madison Enterprises managers take one day each year to work a line position in the area they supervise. Steele recently chose the casino’s kitchen and didn’t just work along-

side LaMagna but for him, washing dishes. “He shows he is willing to walk the walk,” LaMagna said. “He took off his boss hat and was willing to take direction. Not much conversation, but he did take on extra work and asked what else he could do. He was a good employee.” LaMagna describes Steele as a leader who is willing to listen and encourage employees to do the right thing.

“He empowers employees to do what needs to be done,” LaMagna said. Steele credits his success in Kitsap County to a good mix of location and balance between the government and business. Most of all, however, he credits others. “A lot of things have to come together at the right time with the right people,” Steele said, “Our employees are invested and make PME what it is.”

Jan Zufelt Loves The John L Scott Foundation John L Scott Real Estate Managing Broker Jan Zufelt has just celebrated her 18th year in the business. Fifteen of those years have been with John L Scott Real Estate. When asked “Why John L Scott?”, Jan said, “John L Scott is an excellent company to work for; Lennox Scott, our company owner, goes above and beyond making sure we are the first with new technology on the internet for our buyers and sellers. Since over 90% of the people buying and selling homes use the internet this is vital to our business. The other thing I love about John L Scott is that we have our own foundation that benefits groups like Children’s Hospital. In Kitsap County the John L Scott Foundation supports Harrison Medical Center. At Harrison, John L Scott has helped pay for things like a Rooftop Garden for the Oncology Department; for the Pediatric Department we bought a Climbing Wall, a Power Wheelchair, some Mobility Tools and the one dearest to my heart…Low Tech Communication Devices. I just toured Harrison Silverdale’s Pediatric Ward and came back wanting to give more. I have contacted the Foundation Chair to ask that more money be taken from every one of my sales to support Harrison Medical Center in a greater way. I feel that giving back locally is huge and I am very proud that our company has a way for us to do so.” If you’d like to be a part of Zufelt’s giving, she said all you need to do is buy a home through her or sell your home through her as the contribution is automatically deducted from her check and paid directly to The John L Scott Foundation.

Scotty has been in the decorative concrete industry for 15 years. Throughout his career he has had opportunities to work with many of the industry’s best. He has learned many of the most sought after techniques in decorative concrete. With this knowledge, passion and amazing imagination for concrete he is constantly in the shop creating anything from furniture pieces to one of a kind concrete art pieces. He always keeps everyone guessing: what’s he up to next?

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Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

Page A15

Meeting human needs in Kitsap Profile: Karen Timken of Fishline By KIPP ROBERTSON


hen Karen Timken retires from North Kitsap Fishline at the end of the year, finding someone to fill her shoes is going to be difficult, coworkers say. Since Timken was hired as executive director of Fishline four years ago, she's seen an increase in clientele — almost tripling in some areas — and helped secure a new building while managing a budget of $400,000. “Every director comes in with their own objectives and personality,” said Rae Rodriguez, Fishline’s client services advocate. “Karen has just done a tremendous job with marketing and connecting with the com-

munity.” Timken, a 1973 graduate of Central Kitsap High School, had experience in marketing and business, but as for non-profit experience, she did not have much on her resume when she applied for the executive director position. “I didn’t think I had a chance at getting (the posi-

tion)'" she said. "I thought there would be people who were much more qualified." As it turns out, Timken was a perfect fit. Her duties include reporting to the Fishline Board of Directors, supervising paid personnel, determining and overseeing operation of the thrift store, developing programs,

employing and training, maintaining an annual budget, attending community meetings, and writing grants. In the last year alone, Fishline’s clientele has increased by 40 percent and Timken said donations are down or holding the line from month to month. Among the 40 percent, 23

percent of those new to Fishline are in the agency’s eviction prevention program and use the food bank. North Kitsap Fishline is a non-profit which opened

in 1967. The organization has a food bank and a thrift store, and provides onetime help with financial services such as paying rent, and medical bills See TIMKeN, Page A17

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Page A16

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Page A17

‘The most highly trained mayor in city history’ Profile: Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson

Becky Erickson was CFO of Bainbridge Graduate Institute before becoming mayor.



t’s Monday and Becky Erickson’s calendar for the week is already full. On Tuesday, the annual meeting of the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association. On Wednesday, a City Council meeting from 7-10 p.m. On Saturday morning, in her office to meet the public. In between those commitments there may be meetings with the county Board of Health, Department of Emergency Management, Fishline, the Housing Authority, Kitsap Community Resources, Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, Kitsap Transit, Poulsbo Rotary, Puget Sound Regional Council. That’s in addition to her day to day duties as chief executive officer of a corporation, the City of Poulsbo. “I miss my kids,” she

Brad Camp / Herald 2010

said. Still, Mayor Erickson relishes the job she’s had since January 2010. She became involved in politics in 2006 when her husband’s family farm was annexed into the city and a new neighborhood was proposed nearby. She didn’t believe enough safeguards were in place to protect a nearby creek and

wetlands, so she successfully lobbied the City Council for a building moratorium. The developer ultimately put the project on hold because of the economy. She then served on the committee that wrote the city’s ordinance to protect critical areas. In 2007, she was elected to the City Council. In

2009, believing the city needed more conservative management of its finances, she ran for mayor. Erickson, 57, earned an economics degree at University of Washington in 1979 and worked as an accounting consultant and small-business manager. She was chief financial officer and chief operating offi-


Continued from page A15 for people with low or no income. In 2010, Fishline provided about 532,000 meals and helped 635 people find shelter, prevent eviction, pay utility bills and receive prescriptions or help pay medical bills. The number of homeless people seeking services was up 44 percent in 2010 and a similar increase was expected to occur over the course of 2011. Rodriguez, who is responsible for housing services, said the amount of people she works with has tripled since starting at Fishline about five years ago as an assistant. Rodriguez now has an assistant of her own. Even after moving its thrift store downtown in 2010, Rodriguez said there’s barely enough room for daily operations and the

Karen Timken, executive director of North Kitsap Fishline. ‘We look tiny, but we’re really the primary service provider in the North End.’ Kipp Robertson / Herald food bank. “We’re bursting at the seams,” she said. “We look tiny, but we’re really the primary service provider in the North End.” With an increase in cli-

entele, providing food and services has become more difficult. This is where Timken’s business and writing background come in. Since joining Fishline staff, Timken

has written numerous grants and has become a community campaigner. Though she could not provide an exact number of how many grants she’s put together, “I’m typically

cer of Bainbridge Graduate Institute on Bainbridge Island before becoming mayor. The institute has 180 students and offers MBAs and a certificate in sustainable business. Erickson is married and has two children. Her husband, Jerrold, is an ironworker for Sellen Construction. Their daughter, Caty, is an incoming freshman at Washington State University. The Ericksons’ son, Jobe, is an incoming junior at North Kitsap High School. As mayor, Erickson earns $67,000 a year. On her watch, City Hall construction was finished under budget. She started a voluntary separation program to reduce the city’s workforce by 10 percent and trimmed expenses in every department; the city finished 2010 carrying $224,000 over into the new year and didn’t need to dip into its reserves as originally expected. She lured the historical museum and relocated the police department to the expansive new City Hall. She’s made City Hall available as a venue for public

events. She actively lobbies businesses to locate to Poulsbo. This year, the City of Poulsbo received Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Smart Vision Award for its comprehensive plan. When it comes to making a decision or proposing ideas, she’s not afraid to jump in before testing the water temperature. She developed a potential theme for Viking Way: “The Man’s Side of Town,” a reference to the vehicleoriented businesses on the thoroughfare. The slogan won few, if any, fans. She said Viking Way businesses “rebuffed” her offers of help to lure a major business tenant to the struggling thoroughfare, but she sent a marketing letter anyway to Washington Tractor, a major John Deere dealer. Next, she’d like to see an electric and hybrid car dealer, as well as an energy store specializing in LED and solar, locate on Viking. Erickson established an open-door policy, but didn’t hesitate to ask a city

working on at least one grant, if not several,” she said. Before starting the job, she had never written a grant. A strong set of writing skills — thanks to her teachers — got her up to speed. “That’s why it was very serendipitous, the route I came here,” she said of the executive director position. “I believe that it all happens as it’s supposed to.” Along with funding, Timken recently established the Food for Thought program, a weekend program providing food for students in the North Kitsap School District that may not receive enough nutrition when out of school. The program began in the fall of the 2010-11 school year. By the end of the year, about 162 used the program, Timken said. Food for Thought expanded into the summer and currently serves about 30 students, she said.

With no previous experience, Timken now helps provide Fishline with its operating budget, which is about $400,000 — $1.3 million, if total food value is added in. But grant writing is only one of the ways Timken helps the non-profit continue to serve the community. To keep Fishline afloat, “I’ll do whatever it takes,” she said. That includes dressing up as a jester on the Fishline float during the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort’s Mardi Gras parade. “I don’t know if that was in my job description,” Timken said jokingly. Rodriguez said Fishline will begin screening for a new executive director soon; Timken will retire Oct. 31. “I know there is going to be someone who brings new energy to the table,” Rodriguez said. But Timken “is one of my heroes.”

See ERICKSON, Page A18

Page A18


Continued from page A17 critic to leave a meeting when Erickson felt the resident was being disruptive. She also asked city employees to not take the resident’s phone calls, preferring the resident submit questions in writing. After Johnson Creek area resident Jan Wold repeatedly questioned the city’s development policies at City Council meetings, Erickson defended the city with a PowerPoint presentation. She wants more festivals in town; her latest ideas are a post-Thanksgiving Day parade and a winter Glogg Festival, glogg being a mulled-wine drink

commonly enjoyed in Scandinavia during the winter. In response to a question about the number of alcohol-themed events in Poulsbo, she sent an email out advising that glogg can be non-alcoholic. She supported the Edward Rose neighborhood on State Route 305 and Bond Road, and says the densely clustered housing, use of permeable surfaces, protection of open space, and setbacks from streams and wetlands makes it the “greenest development in the history of Kitsap County.” But she says apartments proposed above retail shops in the new neighborhood should have been included in the overall count of units

because they use public services. They weren’t counted because the city doesn’t count residential units in commercial zones. As a result, Rose will get to build more residential units than the 540 it initially asked for. “Those should be counted,” she said. As mayor, she still bristles at the sight of wastewater detention ponds, some as big as Olympic-size swimming pools; neighborhoods built without sidewalks; neighborhoods where trees and topsoil were removed only to be replanted from scratch. She believes new laws have been established in the last few years to prevent those practices from happening again.

Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

“She’s a tough negotiator but fair-minded and willing to listen. I enjoyed sparring with her.” — Rear Adm. Bruce Harlow, Poulsbo Marine Science Center Foundation

She’s had to walk a diplomatic tightrope on some issues. She pushed the Poulsbo Marine Science Center Foundation for a share of revenue to pay for maintenance of the cityowned Marine Science Center building, which the foundation leases for free. On the other side of the table: Foundation president

Bruce Harlow, a retired Navy rear admiral who negotiated treaties with the former Soviet Union. Harlow argued the city was contractually obligated to take care of maintenance and was trying to change the rules mid-game. But in the end, the two sides reached a compromise: $15,000 for maintenance in 2011 and a commitment to “reopen the conversation” next year. “It was tough and it took quite a while, but she was reasonable and she supported a compromise we could live with,” Harlow said. “She’s a tough negotiator but fair-minded and willing to listen. I enjoyed sparring with her over these issues.”

Ed Stern, a member of the council since 1998, supported the reelection of Erickson’s predecessor but now calls Erickson “the most highly trained if not knowledgeable mayor we’ve had in recent (city) history, if not our entire history.” “I think there was a transition for the mayor to relinquish her role of policy and budget (as a council member) and move toward day to day administration,” Stern said. “That took a little time. She’s a policy and budget wonk, but a mayor’s job is not policy and budget, it’s taking the council’s policy and budget and carrying it out with city staff day to day. If there was any curve, I’d sum it up to that.”

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Friday, July 29, 2011 | North Kitsap Herald

Page A19

Bringing a new level of baseball to Kitsap Profile: Russ Barker and Brent Stenman of Babe Ruth World Series By KIPP ROBERTSON


obert Faherty Jr. said anxiety closely trails a Babe Ruth World

Series. In an effort to put the best foot forward, the league vice president and commissioner said the multi-year process often puts enormous amounts of pressure on first-time Babe Ruth organizers to live up to expectations. This is no different for Russ Barker and Brent Stenman, co-presidents of the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series, Aug. 15-22 at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The two co-presidents have something on their side, however: Experience. Barker and Stenman, two long-time Kitsap residents, know baseball. Both have put countless hours into the league. Having worked together previously to bring tournaments to North Kitsap, it was not much of a surprise when they joined forces to bring the World Series to Kitsap, with Poulsbo as the host city. “It just kind of made it a natural fit when we first decided to take this venture,” Barker said. What a venture it is. They first kicked around the idea of bringing the World Series to Kitsap after they hosted the 2008 Northwest Regional Tournament here. With about one year until the World Series in August 2012, Barker and Stenman still have plenty of work left on their plates. In all, the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series Executive Board is expected to pay a $45,000 franchise fee, which will be used to fly nine teams to Kitsap. A total of $120,000 is expected to be raised for the event, which will pay

Russ Barker ... ‘I’m a real proponent of youth baseball and don’t feel it should be a task.’ Kipp Robertson / Herald for everything from a banquet dinner to field rental fees. Remaining proceeds could go to local baseball programs.

Russ Barker The 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series is expected to pump about $1.5 million into the economy as nine teams from across the country travel to Kitsap. But the economic benefit is just one factor. Hopes of revitalizing interest in community sports is something that has been long sought after. “I’m a real proponent of youth baseball and don’t feel it should be a task,” Barker said. “It should be enjoyed.” Barker has volunteered with Babe Ruth since his own children were involved in the league about 15 years ago. After volunteering, he was league president for about five years. During his time as president, Barker said he and other Babe Ruth workers discussed ways to draw people from outside the area to the peninsula. A World Series looked like a healthy option and encouragement from Babe Ruth International Headquarters helped push them along. Stenman said representatives saw what they had done in 2008 and agreed Poulsbo would be a good

host city. “We kind of thought it was crazy talk,” Stenman said. But after thinking it over, they agreed to try to host. Before the idea could go any further, however, it was required that someone go through host training in Jamestown, N.Y. Barker was chosen. “When I came back, I was full of enthusiasm and said, ‘I think we can do this,’ ” he said. Though the World Series in 2012 is expected to pump an estimated $1.5 million into Kitsap’s economy, Barker said there were other reasons to push to host. As league president, Barker noticed a declining enthusiasm for community baseball. He said people raised concerns that Babe Ruth ball was not competitive enough. However, being able to enjoy the game is just as important to advancing in skill. In addition, high-caliber baseball players such as ex-Mariner Aaron Sele played for NK Babe Ruth. With the World Series, Barker hopes to change the minds of those who think Babe Ruth does not offer enough challenge. With 10 teams total — nine from around the country plus the North Kitsap host team — competition will be at an all-time high. “If you are worried about a higher level of competi-

Brent Stenman ... ‘Sometimes I (volunteer) just because there is nobody to fill a position.’ Kipp Robertson / Herald tion, a World Series is at the highest level of competition,” Barker said.

Brent Stenman Every time Brent Stenman is gone from his house and not at work these days, he can probably be found performing his duties as assistant state commissioner of Babe Ruth, or coaching — or organizing the 2012 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series. He doesn’t expect things to slow down in his life for some time. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily the Babe Ruth league,” Stenman said of his dedication to continuing to work with community baseball teams and organizations. “It’s just that I love baseball so much.” Stenman began working with Babe Ruth in 1985 after graduating from North Kitsap High School two years earlier. He played baseball from Little League through Babe Ruth as a youth. He became the assistant state commissioner after being field manager, treasurer and president of Babe Ruth. Recently, he was asked to join the Babe Ruth World Series Task Force and will travel to Ephrata for the 16- to 18-year-old Babe Ruth World Series. He said he was chosen because of the work he has done, but also because it

will be an opportunity to see a behind-the-scenes look at a World Series. “By virtue of the fact that he continues to stay involved is enough reason for him to work on the World Series,” Barker said. Stenman agreed with Barker that community baseball programs have struggled off and on. “It kind of goes in waves,” he said. “In some years, registration is up, then down, then up again.” With more activities, Stenman said it’s difficult to get as many youth excited about one sport, whereas when he was younger, options were limited to a few sports. “That’s all we did ... You either played football, basketball or baseball,” he said. Now, he added, soccer is increasingly popular. “School seems to be more demanding too; and video games ... Kids are always doing something.” Stenman does not hide the fact that North Kitsap has produced some strong teams, including three teams which have moved on to the World Series in the past 10 years. When the World Series comes to Kitsap, he hopes it will generate more interest in a more “grassroots” type of way. What’s next for the copresidents? Barker said he and Stenman may have been “a

little naive in understanding the time commitment.” Faherty said there is no secret to the commitment of hosting a World Series and knows everything will come together by August 2012. When selecting a host for a World Series, the league headquarters ensures it is entrusting the responsibility to reliable people. With their backgrounds in community sports and organizing tournaments, the two co-presidents naturally picked up the responsibilities, Faherty said. “People like Russ and Brent represent the community so well,” Faherty said. “They’re good guys.” As the time frame narrows, planning for the World Series will change from looking at the Series as a whole, to breaking down individual tasks. Still one year away, the biggest challenge is finding volunteers. “That seems like an eternity from a volunteer standpoint,” Barker said. Through word-of-mouth, the Series will steadily gain awareness. Recently, the executive board for the World Series confirmed it found all its major sponsors and will be able to pay the $45,000 franchise fee. This will be paid in installments, Stenman said. As for volunteers, those are still being sought. Stenman has found himself filling in gaps during the regular season at Snider Park in Poulsbo, because there are not enough volunteers. What used to be a simple task, is becoming much more work. “It’s always so difficult to find volunteers,” he said. “Sometimes I come here just because there is nobody to fill a position.” As time winds down, Barker and Stenman know their plates will be full, but they show no indication of slowing down. “One of the benefits of community baseball is it's part of the fabric of the community,” Barker said. “It draws people together.” — ONLINE: Visit www.

Page A20

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