When it comes to the media, it's often what you don't see that is the most telling.
Ever since the Vashon Island School District's attempt last fall to pass a bond that would fund the replacement and updating of some of Vashon High School's athletic facilities — including the track and field — islanders have been abuzz with questions about the high school's field, specifically, "What if the turf were artificial," and, "What would it mean for the safety of athletes, the water supply and potential pollution?"
Last week, during a conversation about the island's newest cougar, my son asked me: "Which is more likely, getting attacked by a shark or a cougar?" I looked it up. "Shark," I said. He smiled. In school he'd learned that, annually, more people were hurt by vending machines than sharks.
Steve Graham, Betty Capehart and Richard Paulis would have us believe we would "serve the greater good" were we to vote for Jill Stein ("Make your vote count: Choose the greater good, not the lesser evil," Sept.21). I supported Bernie Sanders, and I consider myself, like them, an activist for peace and justice. Yet, I cannot understand how it "serves the greater good" to vote for a candidate as unqualified and incompetent to perform the duties of president as Stein is, or exactly what "message" it would send, especially when the authors admit that Stein has no chance to win.
Summer ends tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 22, which means not just an end to warmer, sunny weather, but also an opportunity to look back at a busy summer on Vashon that saw many significant changes that will shape the island's future.
After a recent trip to Seattle, I sat on the ferry feeling as though I had visited the moons of Jupiter, or at least been witness to the Northwest equivalent of the bar scene in Star Wars. I didn't recognize Seattle and she didn't recognize me. My favorite city had become an alien place, one where my beloved personal landmarks were disappearing, where my old neighborhood was unrecognizable and where folks on the street and in their cars found me too slow and in the way. And for the first time while in downtown Seattle, I felt underdressed. Farm attire has no place in Pacific Place.
Once again, America's two major political parties have nominated candidates for president who will drive many progressive voters to the lesser of two evils. However, it is possible to vote for a truly progressive candidate and not risk helping Donald Trump become president.
It is once again time for the pilot hunting program at Island Center Forest (ICF) to commence and I believe it is time to rethink this. This forest is a valuable island resource used by a wide variety of enthusiasts and is closed for two weeks every year to all but hunters — most of whom come from off island.
Eight months ago, a group of passionate Vashon residents met in a south-end living room to discuss the plight of people fleeing the Syrian civil war. Those present represented a spectrum of ages, professional backgrounds and involvement with political, charitable and religious organizations, but they all had one thing in common: a deep sense of gratitude for their blessings and a desire to reach out to those who must make desperate and heart-wrenching choices because they are no longer safe in their own country.
I had no idea I'd ever need the services of Vashon's health center at Sunrise Ridge.
Well, it's official. After months of waiting and planning and worrying, Vashon's largest medical clinic will reopen under new management on Monday, Sept. 26. While this is the culmination of efforts on the parts of countless people from the island, county and state, it is not the end point. In fact, this is just the beginning for the islanders who will be the ones actually using the clinic for everything from day-to-day care to emergencies.
The Cascadia Rising exercise a few months ago cemented the realization that an earthquake could seriously cut off the island from timely mainland help. Now, September is National Preparedness Month and islanders are urged to join with local organizations to learn about getting prepared for everything from power outages, to serious winter storms, to earthquakes.
I love my job because every day I learn something new from the people around me — the faculty, staff, students, volunteers and parents of Vashon Island School District. I enjoy casual encounters with more than 1,500 students as I walk the campuses checking in on student experiences and on staff and faculty well-being. I am inspired and stimulated by thoughtful conversations with students, faculty, parents and community members about their concerns and ideas that address our ongoing challenges.
If you've been living under a rock, you might have missed the fact that an election is coming. The candidates tell us this election is YUGEly important. This election will decide the fate of mankind. And yet, we have only two choices: a middle-right party from the 1990s and an alt-right party from the 1950s. If these people are supposed to be our leaders, I keep asking myself, why is it I feel like I am ahead of them?
A dock that is too small, boats that are too old, a schedule that asks too much. Washington State Ferries (WSF) officials say there are plenty of reasons for the wait times and ensuing mess that is the Fauntleroy ferry dock, but potential solutions always seem to be too far out of reach, or too complicated.
I've lived on Vashon for 44 years. I've seen a lot of changes — some of them not so pleasant. The traffic has become awful — the influx of people on the weekends is mind-blowing. Thank goodness the ferry dock is nearly finished.
Despite its "Weed Island" reputation, Vashon has nowhere to legally purchase marijuana. The island's only place to buy pot — a medical dispensary that opened in 2014 —closed on Saturday when the owner received a cease and desist letter from the King County Prosecutor. The shop had been operating illegally for more than a month due to new legislation that requires him to be licensed the same as a recreational pot shop.
Do not underestimate the power of healthy digestion on your overall health. Hippocrates said, "All disease begins in the gut." You may or may not believe that, but it is true that if you are not digesting your food, then your body is not getting the nutrients it needs to function. Digestion is a complex process that is essential to good health. When something goes wrong, you fail to absorb the nutrients you need. Everything from minerals, vitamins, fats, protein and carbohydrates are vital to keep your body working properly.
At least four cougar sightings have been reported on the island in the past two weeks, and over the weekend, a young humpback whale died on the familiar shore just off the Fauntleroy ferry terminal. Both situations have islanders talking, being fearful and respectful of the cougar and mournful of the whale.
I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. As the media, both social and what passes for news these days, bombard us endlessly with both the worst of humanity and latest attention-grabbing but not-worth-your-energy political tidbits, it's getting harder and harder not to turn to internet cat videos or daydream of becoming Grizzly Adams just to stay sane.