Crematoriums and other burning questions

ITEM — Navy Yard City residents are awaiting the results of an environmental review of the proposal for a crematorium in their neighborhood. It would be located near West Hills Elementary School and be an offensive sight to the children there, they said, as well as emitting formaldehyde, arsenic, mercury and lead, although it’s claimed it would be smoke and odor free.

COMMENT — Now, I may be wrong, but I seem to remember that when I worked at the Bremerton Sun on 5th Street that there was what amounted to a miniature crematorium at the Schutt Clinic across the street where body parts but not whole bodies were disposed of. I know that every time a puff of smoke went up from the place, city editor Casey Davison would holler, “There goes a leg,” or an arm or whatever. I have asked some of the old timers here and some vaguely remember it but with the likes of Glenn Jarstad and Joe and Louis Mentor gone, I can’t pin it down. Anyway, nobody complained about it.

ITEM — Grand opening of the Norm Dicks Government Center was celebrated in downtown Bremerton, not too long after the opening of the Kitsap Conference Center and 105-room Hampton Inn, where is featured a fountain with waters that dance to the tune of “Unchained Melody.” Since that’s the only tune the waters dance to, complaints have been mounting that while “Unchained Melody” is a beautiful piece of music, after you’ve heard it a few hundred times it gets a little wearing.

COMMENT — On my first and only visit to the conference center, I got a guided tour of the hotel and refurbished waterfront from Gary Sexton, Mayor Cary Bozeman’s man in charge of making things happen on time, and I must admit Bremerton has been transformed. I remember when Lt. Gov. Joel Pritchard visited one day and told me the one thing Bremerton needed more than anything was to get rid of the ugly entrance to the city down by the ferry terminal.

As for “Unchained Melody,” learn to love it. I’m told it cost a bundle to get someone to choreograph the dancing waters part so it’s hard to say how long it will be before the city can afford another song.

I wish they had been more formal in naming the Norm Dicks Government Center and called it the Norman Dicks Center. He was born Norman Dicks, he votes as Norman Dicks, he runs for office as Norman Dicks and his mother calls him Norman.

ITEM — Salmon biologists are gleeful over the huge numbers of summer chum salmon repopulating streams in Hood Canal that have been down and out for years. The once-threatened species is returning to the canal in numbers not seen in decades. What this means is more income for our region’s tribal and nontribal fishermen and more fish caught in the wild for marketing and consumption, nationally and internationally.

COMMENT — C’mon, chum or dog salmon, as they are more commonly known, are the scrap fish of the salmon family. They rarely take a hook and their meat when cooked or canned, turns yellowish. The taste is undistinguished when compared to the kings and silvers that used to inhabit Hood Canal before state fisheries got the bright idea of replacing all the king and silver spawning streams with chum. All chum are really good for is the roe, which the tribes sell to Asian customers, usually discarding the carcasses. The idea was for the tribes to do their commercial fishing in the canal, leaving the outside waters for the rest of us to go after silvers and kings, except the tribes didn’t go along. That move cost us the salmon fishing tourist industry.

ITEM — At least three-fourths of Kitsap’s expanding population should go into urban growth areas, county commissioners decided. The four city councils are being asked to ratify their decision.

COMMENT — Since most people prefer to live in the country, does this not risk what happened on Bainbridge Island? We may end up with the cities of North Kitsap, Central Kitsap, South Kitsap and Bainbridge Island.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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