When it comes to the media, it's often what you don't see that is the most telling.
Salmon are one of the most popular wild creatures on Vashon Island. The annual spawning event draws spectators to Vashon's creeks every year, but the fish's numbers are lower than they were decades ago.
Ninety-four percent white. It's a statistic about Vashon that is known well by many islanders and, when combined with the notion that Vashon is an extremely inclusive community, leads many to believe that racism does not and cannot exist here.
With Mary Matsuda Gruenewald named Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal and Mary Mariko Ohno and her students performing multiple traditional Japanese songs and dances, this year's Strawberry Festival is showcasing Japanese heritage, returning the summer celebration to its roots after more than a century.
Almost 50 years ago, a few dedicated, ambitious volunteers founded Vashon Maury Health Services (VMHS) with two or three nurses operating a small clinic in a rented house in Burton. From that humble beginning, health services on Vashon grew as VMHS acquired a 30-year lease from the U.S. government; built, with grants, volunteer labor and private donations, the present health center on an old U.S. Army base; started an auxiliary organization called Health Center Volunteers (Granny's Attic) to help offset costs of operating a clinic; hired a medical staff, including Drs. Koch and Kappelman and actually operated the clinic for most of the past 40 years.
Politics can be overwhelming. Amidst the media storm of conspiracy theories and finger pointing, I find it grounding to focus on issues of basic human rights: those inalienable rights to which a person is entitled simply because she or he is a human being. In a country that calls itself a democracy, access to healthy food should be considered a human right, a basic necessity reflected in government policy making.
As tensions continue to flare and more are killed in senseless acts of terrorism and violence in every corner of the globe, fear can often get the better of all of us. With fear comes a frantic search for blame, a never-ending game to find the larger enemy. It's a powerful thing. Fear has driven humans to turn their backs on each other over and over. It's what drove Hitler to kill Jews in World War II and led our own president during that same time to isolate the Japanese-American population. It's happening today as refugees are being turned away from countries just for coming from a place experiencing violence.
While I was sitting in a coffee shop going intently about my business, a toddler with pink polka dot tights, clear blue eyes and a red plastic sippy cup appeared at my side and leaned her body against my crossed legs. It was one of those moments when life, pure and simple, pulls you out of yourself to be present for something important.
Social media was abuzz recently about the lawsuit against Vashon Island School District: Some were angered, certain that the suit will harm island schools, while many came forward to share their own stories of bullying or other negative experiences with the district. Whatever you believe, the discussion has shined a harsh light on aspects of our public school district.
I've been thinking for the last few days on the latest tragedy and really trying to see things as holistically as I possibly can. I have had a few thoughts that I have revisited from a number of different angles and feel that they are not reactive, nor are they partisan. They are humanistic and patriotic. If they put me in box in your mind, so be it, but I would also counter that might be a reactive thought in itself.
A huge congratulations to all of the island seniors who graduated on Saturday and are taking the next step in their lives, whatever it happens to be: work, school or a gap year. From those sticking close to home at the University of Washington, Tacoma Community College or other nearby schools, to those venturing across the state or into Canada, The Beachcomber wishes you all much success, happiness and good times. You graduates get the spiel.
Over the years, we have written about the community in action over and over again, striving to make the island — or the world — a better place. It is always a pleasure to cover the stories of islanders rolling up their sleeves and tending to important work. Still, last week's Cascadia Rising stands out as a marvel of volunteer effort.
The world has gone mad. Systems already barely holding it together have taken a turn for the weirder or the worse. Is it too much to ask for the ferry system to know how to load cars, for presidential candidates to be coherently ideological, for credit cards to save us time and for local health care to … exist?
There has been a lot in the news lately both locally and nationally regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and bullying. These are complex issues, and many islanders have been reaching out to The DoVE Project with questions and concerns. As advocates for social change, we'd like to begin a dialogue to address your questions and concerns and explain how we can and cannot help.
Eight and a half years ago, my husband and I were driving across the country destined for Vashon. I was running out of the hideously purple alpaca yarn I was knitting with when not behind the wheel, so I Googled "Yarn + Vashon." A local alpaca farmer was included in the results that popped up, and I thought, "meant to be."
Temperatures in the Puget Sound region last weekend climbed to above 90 degrees, causing hundreds to flock to beaches and to the water by kayak, paddleboard and sailboat. With temperatures expected to drop, but remain pleasant just in time for the annual Vashon Sheepdog Classic slated for this weekend, more than 10,000 summer tourists are expected to come to Vashon.
My husband and I moved to Vashon Island in 1992. We had been living in Seattle for several years and wanted to live in a more rural setting and build our own home. While building our home we were living in our barn and a 1968 Airstream trailer. We both loved dogs and, given the rough living quarters we were in, we opted to get a puppy.
On May 23, Washington State Ferries officials changed the loading and ticketing procedures at the Fauntleroy Ferry dock. Not long after the changes were implemented, Vashon commuters voiced their frustration with the new systems and the fact that the changes did not seem to be making the loading process any more efficient.
It is a sacred moment in life, expecting a child. Pregnant mothers and their partners spend hours rubbing the swollen belly, talking to the growing child inside and dreaming of the future. Parents who create their families through adoption ready themselves for the child who will arrive at an unexpected moment. We know our children will take us to new places and adventures.
There is a popular trend you've probably noticed over the past few years. It's a trend that confirms what many of us have intuitively known our whole lives: Spending time in nature is good for us. It's good for the brain, it's good for the body, it reduces stress, it slows us down, and it teaches us about our environment and our role within that environment.