What Story Do You Want To Tell?

January 28th, 2013



Filmmaker, Mark McKnight’s show “Owl People” has begun at the pub starting yesterday, January 23rd.  The show consists of photographs of his watchful neighbors, the Barred Owl, who share the woods in Suquamish and seemingly tolerate his curiosity. Reprints of the photos are available.


Starting January 31st, sit in with your favorite strings and Ethan J. Perry & friends for a good old-fashioned pickin’ acoustic jam.

All ages and abilities welcome.

Todd Houghton marks the Pub’s Open Mic 20th Year Celebration!!

Feb. 5, 2013 8:00 pm – Midnight


In January of 1993 local musician Todd Houghton began hosting the  Harbour Public House’s longest-lasting event. Since then he has returned on the 1st Tuesday of every month for the past 20 years.  According to Todd, the music scene on Bainbridge Island enjoys an unusually high number of quality musicians – many of whom show up to the Open Mic nights at the pub. Todd himself ranks high among that number.  He was born in Kansas, grew up in Colorado and moved to Seattle from Boulder. He has extensive experience as a performer and composer, with guitar, keyboards, electric bass, and vocals both as a soloist and currently with the band Ranger and the Re-arrangers.  The band plays Gypsy Jazz – which is an exciting style of music combining jazz with the instruments typically found in Gypsy music.  Todd’s original music reflects an inner vision that he has depended on since becoming blind at the age of 7.  His songs capture an energetic and soulful passion.


Todd on stage with Ranger and the Re-arrangers

When he isn’t performing or hosting – Todd is involved in his other passion – education.  He has a Masters in Experiential Education from the University of Colorado and works as an educational consultant in the field of outdoor ed for the disabled.  He is also a principal adviser for the Blind Youth Audio Project, which is a program of the Department of Services for the Blind, in conjunction with Jack Straw Productions.  Each summer, blind and visually impaired high school students come to the University of Washington to participate in a Youth Employment Services job placement program.  As part of the program they have the option of participating in in the Audio Project.  Working with Todd, they write, produce, and record audio dramas, learning everything from soundscaping, interview skills, radio production, multitrack and stereo music recording and mixing.  Whether in the recording studio or in the outdoors, Todd’s dedication to education is making a huge difference in the lives of the students he teaches.

He brings that dedication to his Open Mic nights at the Harbour Pub.  When speaking with Todd, what comes across is his excitement about providing a relaxed and fun atmosphere for aspiring musicians to bring their music out of their living rooms to perform in front of a live audience.  Todd creates a space for musicians to not only perform, but to jam together and learn from each other.  His goal is to create a stress free environment so that it is a fun and non-threatening way for musicians to stretch, create and enjoy. And from all reports – he reaches that goal on a monthly basis.

As a bonus – Open Mic starts off with an number from Todd.  That way, he can make sure that everything is set up and working.  It is also a wonderful warm-up for the 5 – 8 musicians to follow.  Each musician performs about 3 songs.  If there is extra time at the end of the evening, musicians can offer additional songs, or join together for collaborations.  If you want to participate – sign-ups begin around 8:30 and the music starts at 9 – continuing to midnight.  February’s event will be especially meaningful – marking the 20 years of great music that Todd has brought to the stage.  But any 1st Tuesday of any month – the Harbour Pub is really the place to be for a wonderful evening of great food, drink, company and especially – great music.


Toilsome Construction has been taking down Junkoh & Chris Harui’s old family home on the west end of Parfitt Way since the holiday season began. Word has it that Sue Cooley bought the property to create a park or garden of sorts. Pictured here is the excavator working on the roof of the home. Chris Harui used to work the half acre orchard and garden on the property when she wasn’t working at Bainbridge Gardens.



Restaurant owners across the country are gearing up for the implementation of a little known aspect of the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 – part of what is known as ObamaCare.  These regulations require chain restaurants with over 20 stores having the same menu to post the caloric values for items on their menu.  It also requires that the restaurants display the recommended daily caloric intake and to provide additional nutritional information (fat, protein, salt, carbohydrates, etc.) upon request.  These FDA requirements are meant to standardize menu labeling across the country.  Many state and municipal laws requiring nutritional information to be posted have been enacted since 2006 – including in King County. Exemptions provided by the federal regulations include:

  • Specials
  • Condiments
  • Limited time offers
  • Custom orders
  • Test market items
  • Individual alcoholic beverages

While the law allows time for the food industry to implement these regulations, a bill introduced this year (Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012) seeks to reform the rules.  Proponents of this legislation hope to mitigate the cost and burden of the law as written (which according to President Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget ranks as the third most burdensome statutory constraints enacted that year).  Especially vocal in this effort is the pizza industry.  According to the Legislative director of Domino’s Pizza, the estimated costs of the new menus would be $5,000 per store.  This is particularly frustrating to them, considering that over 90% of Domino’s customers call in (or order on-line) and would therefore never even see the wall menus.

Nutritional labeling of food is not a new issue in the United States.  In 1990 the FDA required labeling on packaged foods.  Studies in 2008 show that 54% of consumers reported reading food label information when purchasing and of that 49% changed their minds about a potential purchase.  However, labeling itself is just one factor people consider in their food choices. In 1999 a Washington State study drew a strong correlation between a consumer’s understanding of the effect of nutrition on diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension and the likelihood that food label information would be utilized.

Along with providing information for consumers, one objective of the 1990 labeling law was to encourage manufacturers to produce healthier options.  In the years since, we have seen a significant increase of fat modified food in the grocery stores, but it often does not mean a caloric decrease – less fat but more sugar.

The 1990 law was enacted in response to the alarming increase in obesity in the United States. And it has continued to rise.  By 2010, studies show that 68% of adults and 32% of children are either overweight or obese – a dramatic rise in two decades.  So – it begs the question:  if obesity rates have continued to rise – does nutritional labeling really make a difference?

An important factor to be considered in this question is that during those two decades restaurant dining also increased from 18% to 32% of daily calorie intake.  Adding restaurants to the labeling requirements is in many ways a response to this change in the nation’s eating habits.  As obesity rates climb, healthcare costs also climb.  Healthcare reform advocates expect that implementing these reforms will save 26 billion dollars over the next 20 years.  And we do have some empirical data to support that.  Since Los Angeles County began requiring nutritional labeling in restaurants, Starbucks has reported a 6% calorie reduction per sales transaction.  The LA County impact assessment claims that this could decrease the annual weight gain of residents by 4%.

The National Restaurant Association (the other NRA), while supporting the passage of the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2012 in hopes of lessening the regulatory burden on their members, has statistics that show an increase of consumer interest in making good nutritional choices.  The number 3 trend in restaurant food this year is the addition of healthful menu choices on kid’s menus (the number 1 trend is locally sourced food).  90% of adults responding to an NRA survey report that restaurants are offering more healthful items than 2 years ago.  The survey also reports that 30% of all adults and 45% of adults aged 18 – 44 have gone online to find nutritional data.

Most people agree that we have the right to know exactly what we are eating.  It seems that more and more people are interested in exercising that right.  However, the still rising rate of obesity calls into question whether knowledge alone is enough to make a difference.  In today’s age of information, the knowledge is as close as the menu in front of your face.  Using that knowledge to make good choices is a little harder to legislate.