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Replacing the state gas tax with a road usage charge would mean all drivers would pay the same rate per number of miles driven, regardless of what type of vehicle they drive. (Tim Kelly Photo)Driving vehicles that get better gas mileage — whether all-electric cars, hybrids, or regular sedans, pickups and SUVs manufactured to meet higher fuel-efficiency standards — seems obviously beneficial.

However, the positive formula of people buying less gas to drive the same number of miles has a consequence for the public roads system, which is funded and maintained by the per-gallon tax motorists pay at the gas pump. read more »

 
Environment

Stillwaters Environmental Center in Kingston will begin its Planting a Green Roof project on March 23 at 1 p.m. The center is looking for volunteers to with the planting, especially individuals able to lift and climb.

This is an opportunity to participate in a new way of building while helping the community. For those wanting to watch and learn, time will be spent talking about how the project is being implemented and information will be handed out.

Anyone who would like to get involved, or be an observer, should contact Naomi Maasberg at 360-297-1226 or naomi [at] stillwatersenvironmentalcenter [dot] orgread more »

 
Real Estate And Construction

The Coffee Oasis was set to open its new location on Bay Street in Port Orchard on March 1, after months of efforts by volunteers to renovate the former Bay Street Ale House building. Jesse Westwood, shown at the service counter, will manage the café operation and there will be a separate youth center on the second floor.The Coffee Oasis will serve its namesake beverage brewed from locally roasted beans, and continue serving the needs of street youth, at its new Port Orchard location that opened March 1.

In the days leading up to the “soft opening” of the café at 807 Bay St., volunteers were putting finishing touches on walls, floors and kitchen equipment in the space that used to be Bay Stree Ale House until that business closed in 2011. read more »

 

After a year of waiting, the Gig Harbor Arts Center Alliance expects to receive its official 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service this spring — and with that, it can start fundraising for a feasibility study. Organizers have been working on the idea of a regional arts center for a couple of years, but need the feasibility study to determine operating costs, revenue potential and economic impact of the proposed campus. The study would also help determine whether the proposed center is the right size and fit for the community.

“There have been a lot of arts centers that closed doors because their model wasn’t set up to accommodate bad economic times,” said alliance president Anne Knapp, a Gig Harbor artist and former president of Peninsula Art League. “We want to make sure the center would be sustainable and more regional (in reach.)” read more »

 

Kitsap County and the nonprofit West Sound Performing Arts Center have signed a letter of intent for construction and operation of the arts center on the site currently home to Silverdale Community Center.

Exact plans for the arts center are still in the works, and organizers have already obtained nonprofit status. The letter of intent, which is nonbinding, specifies that should WSPAC obtain funds to build, the county will lease the land at nominal cost. The agreement is similar to what the county had in place with the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties for the Silverdale YMCA.

Should fundraising for construction of the arts center be successful, the county will pay to demolish the existing Silverdale Community Center, which includes C-STOCK community theater, and will relocate the nearby sheriff’s substation. In return, WSPAC agrees to dedicate space in the site’s master plan for Kitsap Regional Library’s planned new Silverdale branch, should KRL select that location as the final choice. read more »

 

A Kitchen That Works LLC of Bainbridge Island has been awarded “Best of Houzz for Customer Satisfaction” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design, for the second year in a row. A Kitchen That Works, owned by Molly McCabe, is a full-service residential design-build firm specializing in kitchen and bath remodeling.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz. read more »

 

This home built for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat Humanity was designed by Bainbridge Island architects Charlie Wenzlau and Robert Moore to meet Passive House energy-efficiency standards. (Photo courtesy Robert Moore)Wenzlau Architects and Robert Moore Architect, both of Bainbridge Island, have partnered with Habitat for Humanity to design and construct Habitat’s second Passive House on the West Coast. This highly energy-efficient home, recently completed for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity, was designed and built to meet the rigorous standards of the Passive House Institute U.S.

Habitat has incorporated many energy-saving features into its projects in recent years read more »

 

Two Seattle commercial real estate professionals said that Amazon.com is leasing 635 Elliott, a Seattle waterfront office building that has been vacant since it opened four years ago.

Amazon spokesman Ty Rogers said he had “nothing to share on this,” and 635 Elliott developer Martin Selig did not return calls.

Commercial real estate expert Kip Spencer said that based on his sources, he is “99.9 percent” sure that Amazon is leasing 635 Elliott, a nearly 196,000-square-foot building. Spencer previously worked at Mortenson Construction and recently joined the executive team at Pacific Lighting Systems.

The other real estate professional who gave the same information declined to speak for attribution. He said that if Selig and Amazon haven’t yet signed a lease, “they are very close” to doing so. read more »

 
Real Estate And Construction

Pierce County-based Pettit Oil Co., a longtime distributor of fuel and heating oil on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, shut down abruptly in January after plans to restructure the business through a bankruptcy filing did not work out.

The company, owned by former Silverdale residents Norm and Linda Sather, had one of its distribution facilities in Bremerton and reportedly had about 10,000 customers in Western Washington. But Pettit had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2013, and the company’s attorney, Brian Budsberg of Olympia, said its assets would be liquidated since the company was unable to maintain operations while reorganizing under the bankruptcy filing. read more »

 
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