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Staff Report

Staff Report

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 16:12

Senior Housing on the Key Peninsula moves forward

The Mustard Seed Projects (TMSP) plan to build senior housing on the Key Peninsula is moving forward, and the public is invited to share their ideas of what they want and need as they consider aging in community.

In broad strokes, TMSPs plan is to build 10 one- and two-bedroom cottages for independent living, three 10-bedroom homes for assisted living, with a central commons to house a café, office and meeting spaces.

There are days when I am completely amazed by all we have done since we presented the results of our feasibility study last November, and equally amazed by all that remains to be done , said TMSP Founder and Executive Director Edie Morgan.

TMSP, established in 2007, is a nonprofit senior service organization located in Key Center. With a small staff, a cadre of dedicated volunteers and partnerships, the organization provides senior transportation and volunteer assistance, produces a resource guide for services and holds informational meetings once a month.

Senior housing has been identified as a top priority for years. With a generous donation from longtime supporter Lois Crandall, TMSP hired a housing consultant who did a preliminary study to confirm the need for housing and to determine that it was economically feasible. Last November the results of that study were shared.

The next steps have been many. Sara Thompson, board president, gave a brief summary: We established a housing advisory committee, bringing together people with the expertise we needed to move the project forward. We have received a predevelopment loan to allow us to fund the next steps. We have hired a project management team –– Mauro Hernandez and Sharon Nielson from the Portland area –– and are working to secure a site, she said.

Thompson said they have also hired an architecture firm to determine site suitability and to design a concept plan. 

Together, the project manager and the architect will determine the actual costs –– not a theoretical budget as we had with the initial feasibility study, but the cost of actual site development and building as well as operational costs.

This is really still part of due diligence. We need to know that we can secure the financing and raise the additional funds to make this a successful venture. We will be planning a capital campaign as we fully understand the budget, she added.

The architectural firm Rice Fergus Miller, from Bremerton, was hired last month.

Steve Rice, who will be the chief architect for the project, has deep roots on the Key Peninsula. He grew up in Minter, and fell in love with architecture as a youngster when he watched his parents new home take shape there, Thompson said.

According to Thompson, the firm has experience with senior housing, has worked extensively in Pierce County and brings expertise in environmentally sustainable building. Rice and his team have made several visits to the Key Peninsula to get a good feeling for the sensibility of the region. And they are excited to begin getting community input into the project, she said.

The meeting, scheduled for 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Blend Wine Shop (8914 Key Peninsula Hwy N, Lakebay) on Tuesday, Sept 29, will be informal. 

This will be an opportunity to meet the project manager and the architect team and to give feedback to the team before they begin concept design work about what people living on the Key Peninsula want and need as they consider aging in community, Thompson said.


Comments from community members will be taken throughout the meeting. The public is welcome. For information, call TMSP office at (253) 884-9814.

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 14:40

Jerry Gibbs appointed to PSD school board

Jerry Gibbs was sworn in as the school board director for District 4 on July 30, replacing Harland Gallinger, who had resigned. Gibbs term will last only about four months, until the elected replacement is sworn in following the November general election. Gibbs is not a candidate for that election.

Gibbs chaired the committee that opposed the last two school levies that failed at the ballot box.


Gibbs said, As a school board member, I hope to influence next years schools budget currently under consideration, and also plans for the school levy that the board is considering for vote in the spring of 2016.

A small group of interested members of the public attended a community forum last month to see the proposed school budget for the coming year. Karen Andersen, chief financial officer of the Peninsula School District, presented.

The distribution of funds is very similar to past years –– 80 percent is for staffing. The budget reflects an increase in income of about $6.5 million. The additional money comes primarily from the increased funding from the state –– the Legislatures response to the Washington State Supreme Courts mandate for adequate support of education.

Increased funding will support cost of living and benefit increases for staff, more training and technical support for district initiatives, funding of kindergarten to provide full-day, five days a week for all kindergartners, and a decrease in classroom sizes for grades K-3.

The district plans to increase outreach to all residents of the district, and rather than use newspapers as a communication mechanisms but plan to send quarterly newsletters to all households.

The last school levy, passed in 2013 with its cycle ending this year, will help to fund the kindergarten expansion, to cover capital improvements (there may be need for additional space to accommodate testing and classroom portables), as well as school buses (there is a schedule to replace old buses).

A committee is now meeting to discuss recommendations for the next levy, expected to appear on the ballot in February 2016. Nearly a quarter of the school budget relies on levy funding.

When asked if there is anything controversial in this budget, Andersen replied, No. I think that the only thing that might be controversial will be the possible response of the Supreme Court to what the state Legislature has budgeted. For that, time will tell.

A public hearing was held on Aug. 13 with the school board approving the budget as presented.

The slides from the forum are available on the district website HERE

On Aug. 4, the Pierce County Landmarks & Historic Preservation Commission will hold an informational meeting for area residents about the Key Peninsula Archaeological Survey to take place in Delano, Mayo and Von Geldern coves. Statistical Research Inc. (SRI) is conducting the survey and will make a brief presentation at the meeting.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Key Center Library.

Shoreline residents within the coves have been told of the meeting, but the public is encouraged to attend.


For information, contact Chad Williams, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (253) 798-3683, or Cory Ragan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (253) 798-2590.

The KP Historical Society is preparing for many free events open to the public to take place this month.

The Faraway Centennial Celebration culminates on Aug. 8 at the Longbranch Improvement Club, with complimentary admission from 2 to 4 p.m.

Faraway, the summer estate of the McDermott family on Filucy Bay, was a magical place where many visited over the years, organizers said. Although no longer owned by the family, the rich history of the idyllic retreat belongs to the Key Peninsula.

Featured at the celebration will be photos, unique artifacts and documents of the McDermott family of Bon Marche fame.

Rather than a set program, there will be knowledgeable folks to answer questions about Faraway and the family who owned it. Discussions are welcomed.

Cake and tea will be offered in honor of Josephine Nordhoff McDermott's birthday.

Connie Hildahl has written a book about Faraway that will be available for sale.

The story takes place between 1850 and 1950. The book includes over 250 photos plus maps and is an important piece of Pacific Northwest history. More than a historical narrative, this is a story of the American dream.

It has been a privilege to meet family members, listen to their memories and explore the boxes of photos and documents they shared, Hildahl said.

Penrose Park

Members of the Key Peninsula Historical Society will tell tales of the Penrose family who had annual summer camps on their property that later became Penrose Park. There is a fee for park parking, but the presentation is free on Aug. 15. at 7 p.m.


Museum hours are Tuesday and Saturday 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

The museums current display, is The Story of the Key Peninsula –– Its Past, Its People, Its Places.


Free admittance, children welcome. For information, call 888-3246.

The first-ever Fourth of July Community Hot Dog Social is being put on by Key Pen Parks with help from a sponsorship by Food Market of Key Center and Lake Katherine.

Park staff are hoping this will become an annual event.

It will be held at Volunteer Park from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., July 4.

According to Christina Hallock, marketing coordinator/recreation specialist, there will be carnival-style games, lawn games and half-hourly group competitions including tug-of-war, a three-legged race and water balloon toss.

There will also be two bounce houses and, of course, plenty of hot dogs and cake. And all of it is free, she said. Bring a picnic blanket and get ready to have some old-fashioned fun in the park. The Fourth of July Hot Dog Social is a great way to kick-start your Fourth of July celebrations.


For information, call (253) 884-9240.

The boat launch replacement project is nearing completion at Joemma Beach.

According to Janet Shonk, area manager, the replacement will take place from July 28 through Aug. 2 to be in compliance with permitting regulations and take advantage of the lowest tides.

Most of the park will beclosedduring these dates and there will be no public access to the beach.

The day-use area, boat launch, parking lots, sites 13-19 and marine trail campsites will all be closed.Sites 1-12 will remain open for any drop-in campers who are unaware of the closure, Shonk said.

The dock will remain open to boaters, with access to the park restricted.If the work iscompleted before the end of the temporary closure, Shonk said thepark will reopen for full access.


For questions about the temporary closure, call (253) 884-1944.

Key Pen Parks plans to build a new playground at Gateway Park, and theyre looking for Key Peninsula residents to decide what the park should include and how it should look.

Executive Director Scott Gallacher said he wants a committee of 10-12 people wholl review the master plan for the park and come up with ideas for the playground.

People from all over the Peninsula area come to the park, he said. We have families from Longbranch, South Kitsap, Gig Harbor and all over.

We want a well-rounded group of people to share ideas and find out what the community wants, he said.

That includes mothers and fathers, grandparents –– anyone whos interested in helping.

Gallacher hopes the playground will include play structures and also what he calls free play areas.

So many playgrounds have big play structures, and structures are great, he said. But kids also need free play areas like maybe hills to roll down and open spaces to play tag and other running games, not just structures.

The new committee will start meeting in August.


If youre interested in participating, contact Gallagher at (253) 884-9240 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Friday, 26 June 2015 13:13

Lyme disease spelled out

Lorraine Hart, guest columnist


What would you do if you were told by your doctor youd been cured of your disease, while any lingering symptoms are chalked up to the aches and pains of daily living, except new and worsening symptoms kept increasing? 

Of course you would go back to the doctor or try a different doctor, especially if your symptoms were severe, like seizures, paralysis or dementia. 

Trying to maintain daily life becomes difficult, if not impossible. 

Sitting across the desk from your doctor, you pray for answers and help. If that doctor treated you as a malingerer, outrageously suggesting you had a need for attention and made up, somehow, the interrupted brain waves that show on EEGs, blood that looks like half-set jello, seizures, neuropathy, tremors, et cetera when you couldnt possibly, what would you do?

This is the terrifying reality for thousands of chronic Lyme patients in America today, and not just in New England. 

As advocates and activists, we are meeting more chronic Lyme patients all the time, right here on the Key. They have been abused and forgotten by doctors taught to deny chronic Lyme, taught that these debilitated patients should be scorned as Lyme Loonies and brushed aside. 

One of the many diseases that Lyme imitates is multiple sclerosis, and Washington state has the highest numbers of MS cases in the country. Having lesions on the brain is actually a condition, rather than a disease in itself. A chronic Lyme patient for more than 16 years now, Anna (my daughter) was told by a neurologist at University of Washington Medical Center: You could say you have MS.

There is simply too much evidence supporting the persistence of Lyme after short-course antibiotic treatment. Biofilms (think of them as a sort of safe, gated community made from mucus, where bacteria can hide undetected by the bodys immune system) have been documented. The presence of biofilms, filmed with thousands of spirochetes, indicates an active infection. 

Meanwhile, giving testimony in Olympia against recognizing this evidence, a state health department spokesperson tried to declare that we didnt even have deer ticks in this state.  Thankfully, she was corrected by a committee member. Yet the Bill has been watered down now to be about studying the studies of the effects of long-term antibiotic use in Lyme patients.

Its time to educate ourselves about Lyme, its prevention and the controversy surrounding diagnosis and treatment. 

Learn to protect yourself against tick bites, tucking pants into socks, putting clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes after your hike and, most importantly, check one another for ticks after outdoor activity. 

A tick tool can be purchased to hang on your key chain, or just use tweezers to gently remove them.  Never listen to the fads about using Vaseline, alcohol or anything else. A great site for education is 

Ask your doctor, what they know about Lyme disease, then ask them to learn more. If not, with case numbers on the rise in Washington, and doctors ignorance, the question What would you do could become all too frighteningly real.


Lorraine Hart is a Key Peninsula resident. Email her with any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Brandy Ellzey recently announced that KeyFest has been cancelled for 2015 due to a lack of sponsorship funding.

Ellzey, the board president, said the fair association will be meeting to start revising their plans and looking toward 2016.

According to a post by Ellzey on its KeyFest Facebook page, organizers had to make a quick decision for all interested.

Ellzey wrote, “with deep regret, the board of directors of the KeyFest have determined there were not enough funds raised to support the 2015 KeyFest, scheduled for June 19, 20 and 21. The board would like to apologize for the cancellation and are already working on plans to make next years KeyFest more spectacular.”

In a conversation with the KP News, Ellzey said the bottom line is, they “just weren’t ready for this year’s fair.”


“There wasn’t enough money to comfortably go into it, and we didn’t want to look at raising gate admission to try and compensate the difference. We decided it would be better to take a pause, revamp and make some changes for next year and go into it fresh, and maybe overcommitted financially ––and then pull off a better fair,” Ellzey said.