The Buzz

Bite-size, behind-the-scenes editorials about local personalities, businesses and nonprofits.

Head First // Take a Dip With Masters Swimmers

Need a Good Reason to get up at the crack of dawn? How about joining the Bainbridge Aquatic Masters (BAM) swim team at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center? Despite the intimidating name, one need not have been a swimming star in high school to become a member. Masters simply means 18 and […]

Branching Out // Climb Inside Some Enchanted Treehouses

Nothing can transport you back to childhood quite like climbing into a treehouse. Growing up you likely dreamed about exploring the triple-decker treehouse in Disney’s version of “Swiss Family Robinson,” or the canopy dwellings of the teddy bear-like Ewoks in “Return of the Jedi.” Treehouses are the stuff of imagination. The ultimate […]

On the Bias // Venturini’s Throwback Style Fashions a New Beginning

Look for  the lace. It’s the trademark of Maria “Chany” Venturini, from the couture clothing she designs right down to the logo for her fashion label, Venturini. “I like the old-fashioned look: 1930s or 1920s,” said Venturini, 58. “I like the glam of that era. I want women to feel feminine, to […]

A Round of Applause // Ovation Theater Company Readies for Its Next Generation

It’s a soggy Thursday evening, and seven Bainbridge teens and tweens are reciting lines from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a rehearsal studio from a Winslow office building. Next, the girls perform Julius Caesar’s monologue “Friends, Romans, countrymen” in various accents—English, cockney, and, hilariously, German and deep American south. Leela Vosshall nails […]

A Place to Call Home // Nonprofit Works for Affordable Housing on Bainbridge

Joanie Nichols fell in love with Bainbridge Island the first time she saw it. The rain reminded the retired pediatric nurse of her home in England. “I know there’s no paradise on this earth,” Nichols stated, “but it comes pretty close here.” The only thing she likes better than the climate of […]

Something in the Water // Islanders Set Sail, Racing North for Glory and Goodwill

Ask Bainbridge Islanders what they love about living here and you’ll often hear, “The water.” No surprise. The waterways of the Pacific Northwest are magical, whether sparkling with sunlight or churning with white caps. It’s commonplace to see kayakers off Fort Ward Park, sailors cruising through Port Madison or beachcombers strolling Lytle’s […]

Bainbridge Bibliognost // A Look Into Book Broker Ed Smith’s Niche Business

Ed Smith’s office and climate-controlled storeroom are a book lover’s dream: shelves and shelves—and shelves and shelves—of rare books. Many are pristine first editions. Some are signed by authors. Smith opens a first edition of “Roots” to reveal an inscription by Alex Haley, dated October 1976, when the tale of Kunta Kinte […]

Casing the Joint // Kinstretch Mobility Movement Comes to the Island

Are you sitting down? If you’re like most people, you sit way too much—at your desk, in the car, on the sofa—and your joints are likely paying the price. Or perhaps you’re a sports junkie, logging major miles cycling, running the rock or working out at the gym. Whether you spend your […]

Down to a Science // Physicist Exalts the Excellence of Experimentation

It was newton who asserted that a body in motion would remain in motion. Dr. Erica Saint Clair—physicist, blogger, educator, entrepreneur, science-champion and mom—embodies this first law of motion. And then some. On the island since 2013, the energetic Saint Clair has paved extensive community inroads advancing her mission to make science […]

Well Healed // Treating Cancer in Kitsap

From southerly points on Bainbridge Island, downtown Seattle appears to be just an arm’s reach away. But for people with serious health conditions, that stretch across the sound can be a dauntingly large chasm. Dr. Berit Madsen, founder of the Poulsbo-based Peninsula Cancer Center, recognized the energy-sapping nature of the ferry commute […]

A Running Start // Iconic Coach Hangs up His Cleats

Jim Whiting’s running career was almost over before it started. During a memorable 100-yard dash in the 7th grade, the self described “slowest kid in the class ”quickly found himself “looking at 59 sets of butts” and finished dead last. It was ultimately peer pressure that convinced Whiting to give running another […]

Dirty Little Secrets // Master Gardeners Unearth the Art of Horticulture

Garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. Gertrude Jekyll In the pursuit of art, the journey is never-ending. And the art of gardening can be endlessly complex yet surprisingly simple, deeply fulfilling, but always challenging us to […]

Globetrotters // Local Business Organizes Travel Experiences

When you take a trip—whether traveling abroad or across the Sound— what do you hope to get out of the experience? Perhaps a broadening of your worldview or to learn something new. You might be looking to have an adventure. Maybe simple relaxation and rejuvenation are the only stops on the itinerary. […]

Rain ’Splaining // It’s All in the Lay of the Land

Ever step off the ferry on your way to Pike Place Market and stride into to an unmistakable Seattle-side nip in the air? A chill you didn’t experience 35 minutes earlier on the streets of Winslow? According to Doug Olson, local weather expert and retired science teacher at Sakai Intermediate and […]

Hemp Hemp Hooray // As CBD Gains Momentum, Bainbridge Stakes its Slice of the Market

It’s Turning Out to be something of a revolution and Bainbridge is in the thick of it. “The potential is profound,” said Market Elevated owner Steve Kessler about cannabidiol (CBD), the psychotropic-free chemical compound extracted from plant cousins cannabis and hemp. Market Elevated carries a wide selection of the hemp-derived products in […]

Look Who’s Forty // Island School Reaches Four Decades

In 1977, Nancy and David Leedy and Kelly Webster dreamt of a school that valued every child and inspired creativity and learning through fun. What motivated them? Watching their own very active and very curious children and realizing they’d succeed best in a small group setting with lots of hands-on activities. At […]

There’s No Place Like Home // Island’s Softball League Caught Looking for Fun

Before the Kingdome or Safeco Field beckoned fans to cross the sound, America’s pastime figured prominently in Bainbridge’s social life. For more than 45 years, slow-pitch softball has provided an all-comer outlet for the island’s fun-loving and active adults. Although the island’s baseball and softball programs—including Japanese, Filipino, Indopino, Native American, women’s, […]

Snap Chat // The Wide Lens life of World Photographer Neil Rabinowitz

International Photographer Neil Rabinowitz has seen and done a lot, a very great lot, in 40 years. His work has taken him to nearly 100 countries and appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Journal, Time and Newsweek, among many others. He stopped counting eight or nine […]

Something Out of Nothing // A Tale of Creativity, Innovation and Power Tools

Combine mechanical and engineering skill with a creative drive for color, shape and light and you get Blackmouth Design, an island-based retail designbuild firm. Founded by Rich Batcheller, Blackmouth creates custom display works for recreational and athletic retailers like Nike, Filson and Emerald Water Anglers. But they don’t stop with retail interiors. […]

Bounty Hunters // Extending the Season’s Harvest

As The Days of summer begin to shorten, a gentle nudge of change seeps into our consciousness—migration and hibernation for some, but a cue to preserve and put up food for others. Ushering the growing season’s plenty into forms to be enjoyed year-round is a smart, fun and satisfying way to preserve […]

Barn Raising // Inspirational Artisan Hub Opens in June

When it came time to plan its new 25,000 square-foot building on Three Tree Lane, the nonprofit Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN) wanted an architect that deeply understood principles of sustainability. They didn’t have to look far. BARN enlisted acclaimed architect Johnpaul Jones, who has called Bainbridge home for more than 50 […]

Nothing but the Nest // Island Montessori Is Nurturing Students’ Minds, Bodies and Souls

Janice Pedersen likes to say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. That’s why coats, boots and hats are always close at hand for her students at Hazel Creek Montessori, the preschool she founded with husband Ollie Pedersen. No matter the weather, children can play outside, hike and explore […]

Tossed and Found // Rotary Auction and Rummage Sale

The Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction is practically its own ecosystem, a pop-up community where hundreds of people work harmoniously for an end result that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And, oh boy, are there parts. Try 150,000 donated items dropped off by over 4,000 cars for an event […]

A Sure Thing // Best Selling Author Susan Wiggs’ Tales of Romance

For New York Times best-selling author Susan Wiggs, romance is always in the air, or perhaps, more accurately, in the water. For 26 of her prolific 30 years as a published romance novelist, Bainbridge has been home; and while Wiggs, her stories, and characters travel worldwide, she counts herself fortunate to live […]

Praising the Roof // BIMA Gets Leaner and Greener

The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art showcases work by Northwest artists. But what’s behind the walls, on the roof and even underground form a showcase of their own. That’s where you’ll find many of the eco-friendly elements of the building, which recently won a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building […]

Aye Aye, Captain // Set a Course for Summer Sailing

There’s a lot to be said for learning about something from the inside out. But when you live on an island, to get the whole picture, you’ll also need to experience it from the outside in. Locals Harry Pattison and Ben Doerr have created an opportunity for people to do just that. […]

Staying Power // Elite Endurance Athletes

You can’t go far on Bainbridge without seeing some Lycra. Among the many active islanders are four notable elite endurance athletes whose mental steeliness and physical talents are taking them far, fast. At 58, Bainbridge Aquatic Masters (BAM) swimmer Randy Rogers is speedier than ever. Last year he became the U.S. Masters […]

Croaks From the Heart // Frog Rockin’ Fun at Islandwood

“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” wrote Alfred Tennyson in 1835, and it remains as true today on Bainbridge for local amphibians. Learn all about it at IslandWood’s popular community event, Amorous Amphibians, which teaches the tantalizing topic, the ins and outs if you will, […]

Take a Bow Wow Wow // Assistance Dogs Open Doors to Fuller Lives

Need a committed worker and friend who day in, day out brings a positive outlook and willingness to help? Assistance dogs northwest (ADN) has a few furry candidates on Bainbridge Island. Established by executive director Maureen Maurer, the nonprofit trains and provides service dogs to children and adults with disabilities for more […]

Earth’s Mother // Tapping Into the Influence of Women to Protect the Planet

B y Connie Bye They never intended to ignore half the population. But in parts of the world where Jamie Bechtel and Karl Morrison focused on environmental conservation, men were in charge and did the talking. Then Bechtel had a revelation: Talk with women, too, the ones who often interact with fragile ecosystems. “I worked […]

Intangible Assets // Building Social-Emotional Health in BISD

It was a typical PTO meeting—parents sitting elbow-to-elbow around the staff break-room table, coffee in mugs, cookies within arm’s reach. Woodward Middle School Principal Mike Florian had just given an overview of Bainbridge Island School District’s most recent undertaking, a social-emotional health initiative, when a parent tentatively raised her hand. “We are […]

Sowing Seeds // Springing Into Vegetable Gardening

As winter’s chill leaves the air and the ground begins to warm, the urge to till the soil, sow seeds, and nurture new plant life is almost universal. The bounty of our island shows up in our farmers’ markets, local groceries and in the abundance of vegetable gardens we glimpse as we […]

Branching Out // A Willow Tree Grows in Winslow

Welcome to Willowtree Market, where owner Heather Jaynes and her five-member staff have created a welcoming space, rich with ambiance, that lives up to her goal of building a wellness hub in downtown Winslow. Staff members readily share an extensive cache of knowledge about homeopathic, naturopathic and herbal products. For instance, customers […]

Conscious Couplings // Island Artist Meets International Beauty Brand

When you study islander Kathe Fraga’s collection of original paintings, a recurrent theme emerges—two natural beings finding each other and becoming a perfect pair. One could say that too of a recent collaboration that’s taken her signature work from Bainbridge Island to as far as Manhattan, England and Tokyo. Fraga was […]

A Network of Neighborhoods // Prepping for the Big One

Scientists predict a 1 in 3 chance that a 9.0-magnitude earthquake will hit our region in the next 50 years. Just thinking about readying yourself for something so catastrophic, much less attaining 100 percent preparedness for a major seismic event can be daunting and paralyze us into inaction. But don’t let […]

Jujitsu Can Fit You // Island’s Martial Arts Studios Serve up Fitness and Fun

By  Dylan Skeffington The martial arts are not exactly a new phenomenon quite the opposite in fact, with some practices having their roots in previous centuries or even millennia. But island youth and adults are discovering anew that the practice of martial arts provides first-rate physical conditioning while helping to instill valuable life lessons. Two […]

Who Knew? // Unexpected Handiwork From the Rock

What is it about Bainbridge that fosters so much creativity? Do the tall emerald evergreens, gentle splashing waves and soaring bald eagles compel residents to imagine and innovate? Or is it the tranquility and fresh air that simply inspire artists to put down roots among the roots? Regardless the explanation, creativity practically […]

Constructive Destruction // Forging a Different Path to Learning

Mason green, now 16 years old, began coming to Alchemy Industrial Arts (AIA) two years ago when he decided he wanted to build a mini bike. His parents, a symphony musician and a photographer, were supportive but had no clue how to help him. After friends pointed them to Bainbridge’s AIA, Mason […]

To Sea What We Could See // Gaining Perspective From the Outside In

In early 2010, on New Zealand’s South Island, after months tramping trails and riverbanks, I was invited by a local to try my hand at sea fishing. At day’s end, what struck me most wasn’t the rocking boat or the sting of the ocean air—it was the realization that I was seeing […]

What a Long, Strange Trip // Rocker Finds Kinship With a Russian Aesthete

When Former Seattle grunge musician and antique dealer David Bond keyed “Russian avant-garde” into eBay in 2012, he never imagined where the late-night query would lead. He set in motion a newborn fascination with a little-studied early 20th-century Russian artist and the discovery of a potentially priceless painting. Among the search results […]

What’s in the Water? // Seniors Who Keep On Keepin’ On

The Fountain of Youth has captured the human imagination for centuries, its magical waters promising to cure illness and reverse the aging process. Mythical, veiled and elusive, the stories live on. But, what if it did exist? What if the Pacific Northwest waters that surround Bainbridge actually have restorative properties? What if […]

Medicine Man // Island Researcher Squares off Against Childhood Cancer

You know when you meet someone who’s so smart and so inspiring that it makes you wonder what the world looks like through his eyes? That’s what it’s like to be around Michael Jensen. And he’s curing pediatric cancer. Seriously. A pioneer in the field of immunotherapy to battle childhood cancers—like leukemia, […]

Play Together, Stay Together // Generations of Families on Center Stage

Peruse the playbill from “Mary Poppins” by Bainbridge Performing Arts (BPA) or “Young Frankenstein” by Ovation! and you will notice many family names showing up more than once within the cast of characters. Parents and children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, each with a part, acting together to put on the […]

Do the Write Thing // Celebrating the Magic of Pen and Ink

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Not a scribbled sticky note or a few words on a birthday card, but a heartfelt, timeless message created by putting pen to stationery? Years? Maybe decades? Annabella Serra, owner of The Lost Quill boutique, which offers handwriting workshops and supplies, wants […]

Swimming Saints // Arms Around Bainbridge Keeps Islanders Afloat

Friends support us in the most amazing ways. Sometimes they even go overboard. When Olivia Carey, beloved trainer at Island Fitness known for her joyful demeanor, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2007, that grim news motivated seven friends to rally behind her in a unique way—they took a plunge […]

Got Your Goat // It’s All in a Bovidae’s Work

No one warns you about the slippery slope. It starts simply enough: we islanders love our gardens. We eagerly clear a sunny patch for vegetables, and then another. Next thing you know, we’re thinking that fresh eggs sure do sound appealing. In comes the chicken coop along with a flock of fuzzy, […]

Rock ‘N’ Rolling Bay // Space Craft Venue Amps up Bainbridge’s Music Scene

Tucked Away in the staging area of Rolling Bay Hall, behind the Island Music Guild, the small concert venue possesses a speakeasy vibe, the kind of place you wouldn’t have known about unless someone told you. And yet, despite operating for just two years, Space Craft is already recognized as one of […]

Block Party // Lego Master, Carlyle Livingston II

If you go to the Madison Diner, you might notice a smaller version of the 1950s-style restaurant atop one corner of the bar. No, you haven’t entered a strange Twilight Zone-esque multi-dimensional fantasy where each layer of reality contains a smaller version of itself in a display case. It’s a Lego model […]

Day Tripping // Off the Rock & Back Again

Need to get away and see something new but don’t want to venture too far? These itineraries will get you there and back home again all in one day. Family Fun at Finnriver Farm & Cidery A cold cider in hand, the sweet aroma of ripening apples and plenty of room for […]

Stories From the Stones // Discovering Port Blakely Cemetery

Go Past the sign, up a winding, woodsy drive and Port Blakely Cemetery suddenly stretches out in dappled light. Gravestones share space with fruit trees, Japanese maples, urns of flowers. Huge evergreens provide a sheltering embrace. There’s birdsong and silence. A walk among the old headstones reveals a striking diversity. “People came […]