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Food bank’s Picnics in the Park program keeps life pure and simple

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 1:30AM

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.

Park district begins work to fix non-compliant pool drain

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 1:30AM

One month after a report done by a team of pool experts outlined needed repairs at the Vashon Pool, the process to bring the pool's drain into compliance with federal law is underway.

County still open to feedback on septic system fee proposal

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 1:30AM

At a public meeting on Vashon last week, King County received several comments on its proposal to charge annual fees to all King County residents who have onsite septic systems, and officials say they remain open to feedback.

Island child, 11, joins unofficial mayor race

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 1:30AM

Just a couple weeks before Vashon's new unofficial mayor will be chosen, a sixth candidate has joined the race and is seeking votes and dona tions in support of the Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse.

‘Legendary’ Vashon High School teacher retires after more than 30 years

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 1:30AM

It's 10:30 a.m. on the last day of school at Vashon High School, and six of history teacher Martha Woodard's students are gathered around her reminiscing about the year and laughing. One student looks up the name "Martha" on a humorous reference site and reads that Martha is "a successful independent woman … well respected by everyone," a definition that fits Woodard just right.

New options arise for island health care

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 9:17AM

With just six weeks before CHI-Franciscan Health closes the island's largest medical clinic, two health care networks have expressed interest in operating the clinic at Sunrise Ridge and may provide a viable option for Vashon.

Tour of Cuba brings home colorful images

  • Jun 29, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 4:50PM

Last May, island husband-and-wife duo, photographer Ray Pfortner and designer Nancy Wing, led a WTE, Inc. photography tour to Cuba. Beginning Friday and running for the month of July, an exhibition of the colorful city and countryside images taken on the tour — many shot from behind-the-typical-tourist-scene-locations — will cover the walls of The Hardware Store Restaurant.

North-end ferry dock set to re-open for waiting vehicles

  • Jun 30, 2016 at 12:00AM updated Jul 1, 2016 at 10:46AM

After a year of construction at the north-end ferry dock, the ferry system has announced that construction is nearly complete and that waiting cars will again line up on the dock beginning Friday, July 1. Two-way traffic on 103rd Avenue will resume at the same time.

Art saves lives: Kenyan artist shows work on Vashon

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

When Kenyan artist Ken Nyambura hurriedly packed his rolled-up canvases into a suitcase, he had no idea what would come next. He only knew he had to flee his country. Due to continuous death threats, the artist, 29, left behind his wife, two young sons, his parents and community to seek asylum in the United States.

Burton Hill Farm recalls raw goat’s milk

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

Vashon's Burton Hill Farm & Dairy is voluntarily recalling its Grade A Raw Goat Milk due to concerns it could be contaminated with E. coli, Washington State Department of Health officials reported Thursday.

Care center hires new medical director

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

Vashon Community Care has recently hired James Buttitta, MD, as its new medical director and resident physician.

Immigration issues a reminder of the power of fear

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

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.

COMMENTARY: Thinking of food as a human right

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

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.

Islanders must work to combat deep-rooted privilege, judgement

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

I agree with the neighbor who writes in a letter to the Beachcomber (June 22) that we need to stop demonizing the families filing suit for trying to put a wedge of light into the blindness and old lenses many of us are looking through. To help, I really encourage people in our community to read "Waking Up White", a book recommended by Vashon Reads. The way many of us continue "othering" people is so deeply engrained in our culture, our bodies, our beliefs, and our language. Is it possible to pause and look at our own fierce reactions, and question the root? If we do not notice or question ourselves about what we automatically believe when situations occur —we may be operating from deeply seated cultural bias and ignorance that control our opinions, attitudes, and actions towards and against each other. White privilege and hetero-normal privilege are real. If we can't see that fact, we are likely numbed by our privilege. Waking up is hard to do, and it is an imperative, humbling and enlivening action in these days of intolerable violence.

Rainbow flags attest to community’s humanity, acceptance

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

As a member of the LGBTQ community here on Vashon I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for the rainbow flags flying across Vashon over the past weeks. The tragedy in Orlando had a chilling effect on me, as I am sure it had for many. The outpouring of visible love affirms my sense of safety, connection, and attests to the humanity of our community. I feel particular gratitude to the many businesses that hoisted the flags; to Sarah Wright, Kathleen Johnson, and Daphne Purpus who all acted quickly to organize this response of support, and in all the other ways our community expresses love ongoing to each other, not just in the midst of devastation, but daily as we acknowledge and uphold one another.

The Poetry Well is a monthly column that showcases island poetry. This month includes a poem byVashon’s second poet laureate, Ina Whitlock.

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

The Poetry Well is a monthly column that showcases island poetry. This month includes a poem by Vashon's second poet laureate, Ina Whitlock.

Senior center offers resources, people to help deal with realities of aging

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

Seems like old age lasts a long time; far longer than I expected. All the stuff about keeping busy, keeping active, keeping fit, seems to gradually fall apart. And our friends: the ones we couldn't do without, fade away. Sometimes our children leave before us.

Arts around town

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

Island band returns to the Red Bike

Dance event celebrates community, past and present

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

This year, Vashon's Strawberry Festival will honor pre-World War II Japanese farmers who once grew most of the island's berries and celebrate Vashon's agrarian community, both past and present, with traditional Japanese music and dance.

July 4th hydro race is part of island’s history

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

Islander Karl Olsen won the traditional early morning hydro race around the island on July 4, edging out two fellow competitors to retain the perpetual trophy, passed from winner to winner.

Old friends talk about books, perhaps magic

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 1:30AM

When island poet and magician Tom Pruiksma and Portland writer Pauls Toutonghi get together, the unexpected often occurs. The two friends, who grew up together in Seattle, will hold a literary conversation and a short reading from Toutonghi's new book, "Dog Gone," at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at Vashon Bookshop.

Islanders rally, bring nonverbal autistic boy to island for speech therapy

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 9:39AM

For most 11-year-old children, talking with other children and their families and learning new words are everyday occurrences, but for Kaleb Ansley, speaking is something he has never been able to do. Now, 2,300 miles from his home in Texas, and with help and donations from countless islanders, businesses and a local speech therapist, he is learning how to communicate.

Community leader, former pastor remembered as gracious, kind

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 9:51AM

When islander Lauri Hennessey met John Ericksen in the early 2000s, he had just entered into what would become a 15-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. The battle, along with a cancer diagnosis earlier this year, ultimately led to his death, but his wife and friends say it never took away his grace, kindness or love for music and children.

County Council votes to create property tax pilot program to help those behind in payments

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 9:54AM

By this fall, King County property owners who are behind in their property taxes are expected to benefit from a new program that will allow them to make partial payments on what they owe.

County drops proposed plans to charge fees to septic system owners

  • Jul 6, 2016 at 12:00AM updated at 9:54AM

King County's public health department announced last week that it will not pursue its onsite septic system oversight program and fee proposal that it had recently shared in several communities, including Vashon.

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