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Q13 television buzzes Bremerton

Bremerton doesn’t get much air time on local television affiliates — unless something unfortunate happens.

But Seattle’s Channel 13 KCPQ was here Tuesday morning — at Just Your Cup o’ Tea on Pacific Avenue — to report good news. The support ship USS Sacramento and aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson are to their Bremerton homeport from the war in Afghanistan.

The ships are taking a break from the Bush administration’s “Operation “Enduring Freedom” — the war against terrorism. They’re here for some badly needed R & R & R — rest and relaxation and repairs. The Sacramento is due to cruise into the RIch Passage about 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Vinson will arrive about the same time Wednesday, Jan. 23. Times of arrival may vary.

A Q13 crew of two — field reporter Denise Nakano and cameraman John Simon — blew into town on the morning of Jan. 15 in their satellite broadcast truck. They were here early, said Just Your Cup’s co-owner Pat Wright. The shoot had been arranged ahead of time.

“We were up at 4:30 a.m. to get the shop ready,” he said. “We got there at about 5:10. They arrived at about 5:35, and started filming at 6.”

When the video camera started rolling, Wright told Q13 he expected between 5,000 to 10,000 people on the Boardwalk both Monday and Wednesday.

“The welcoming home has two parts,” said Wright, “There’ll be the civilian welcome here in Bremerton and the military welcome at the base with the Naval families.”

The entire Q13 Morning News program, which lasts from 6 to 9 a.m., was not broadcast from the tea shop.

“They broke in on us every half hour or so,” said Pat Wright afterwards, who co-owns the shop with wife Susan.

During a break in shooting, Reporter Nakano told the Bremerton Patriot they were mostly on scene to ask local residents how they felt about the return of the ships and the sailors — many who have family in the area — and what preparations were being planned by the city.

The news crew interviewed a group of Girl Scouts at the shop who have been busy all over town festooning everything in sight with red, white and blue ribbons.

“Patriotic banners left over from the Blackberry Festival are being hung

along Pacific Avenue and Fourth Street,” said Charleen Burnette, municipal services coordinator for the city, also on hand at the tea shop. She made her comments after the Q13 shoot.

Since most people will not be able to get on base to see the ships dock, officials are encouraging them to watch from the city’s Boardwalk.

“We’re cleaning up the Boardwalk in preparation,” said Burnette. “Public works will erect one of their electronic traffic warning signs reprogrammed with a welcome message.”

She also said fire trucks will be out with lights and sirens blaring.

“KIds will be out of school on Monday (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day being a national holiday) and we’re encouraging parents to bring them down to the Boardwalk,” said Burnette.

Mayor Cary Bozeman showed up at the tea shop at about 7 a.m. to lend a few encouraging comments.

“After what we watched happen in New York, there’s a new patriotism in the country — and we’re a part of it,” he said.

The crew also interviewed Silvia Klatman, executive director of the Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We expect thousands to line the Boardwalk as well as Rich Passage and (the shores) of Bainbridge Island,” she said.

Clarke Whitney, president of the Chamber, said “Bremerton’s been a partner with the Navy for over a hundred years.”

There were well over a dozen citizens on hand, including three representatives of the local Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 29.

The FRA has about 802 members in the area, said President Bob Crane, on hand with former President Larry Nelson and member Bob Urie.

Also interviewed was Lt. Dale Robertson of the Sacramento, who was flown back early to help with homecoming preparations at the base.

“I came in late last night (Jan. 14) and surprised my three kids at school today,” he said with a big smile.

The lieutenant said the Sacramento supplied not only the Vinson’s group but also the Marines and ships such as the Theodore Roosevelt and the Kitty Hawk.

After wrapping things up at about 9 a.m., the Q13 crew heard of a peaceful demonstration at Chief Seattle’s grave in North Kitsap, and quickly packed up and headed north. The Q13 truck retracted its telescoping antenna and sped away.

Officials at Q13 confirmed the truck would return over the next few days or weeks, though no schedule had been set.

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