When it comes to the media, it's often what you don't see that is the most telling.
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.
The school board last Thursday listened to a presentation from an engineer at a Seattle athletic field architecture firm about the pros and cons of natural grass versus artificial turf at Vashon High School's athletic field, and it is urging the public to join the conversation.
Let's talk market: the Vashon Farmers Market. Let's talk about a new shelter, one that can house a winter market, one where vendors don't have to cancel in the rain, one that can be opened up entirely in the summer and makes the Village Green a beautiful town center. But before we go there, let's talk about the market and why we should care about it.
Nearly 60 vendors, including farmers, artisans and cooks, sell their wares at Vashon's weekly farmers market, according to the Vashon Island Grower's Association: far more than can fit under the small wooden shelter in the center of the Village Green.
One of the truly remarkable things about our island is how nice people can be. I had the good fortune of meeting a couple who winters in lands far, far away and generously offered to let me house sit. So, for several months last winter, I could brag that my house didn't have axles. However, you can imagine my outrage when I found out they had turned off the cable television. Yes, a whole beautiful house at my disposal without cable. That meant I would have to watch broadcast television like they did on the Mayflower.
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.