Opinion

It’s been an eventful year, best we can tell

By MARGARET AND GREG WESSEL

For The Beachcomber

In a daring attempt to enhance its reputation for excellent reporting, The Beachcomber asked us to review the events of 2010 and use our talents to wrap up the year with a summary of only 800 words that residents can pin to their refrigerators, if for no other reason than to marvel at the length of this sentence.

January opened with a numbing tragedy (the Haitian earthquake) that was exacerbated by lax building codes. Bob’s Bakery responded by raising $12,000 for relief. At least one Island contractor responded by continuing to bypass building permits, so we’ll never know if our own codes are being followed. We suggest grabbing a pastry at Bob’s and thinking twice about remodeling your kitchen.

Also in January, we learned that ferry system cuts were needed to balance the budget. We heard this again in February and every subsequent month until they also promised to raise ticket prices and sell advertising in the bathroom stalls.

Speaking of money problems, in February the director of the King County Library System (whose name doesn’t look like it sounds) urged voters to approve a tax increase for the library. This was after he threatened to move the library to K2, Tahlequah or even Tacoma. We don’t remember what the voters decided. They likely don’t either.

Which brings us to March. Armen Yousoufian was awarded a lesser penalty against King County, prompting him to threaten the Community Council with a Public Information Request. Or maybe that was someone else.

Not much happened on Vashon in April, but in the Gulf of Mexico, there was an explosion and “minor” oil spill. Weeks later, BP admitted there might be a problem. Meanwhile at home, it was announced with great fanfare that a credit union was coming to town. Local banks launched efforts to lure customers back (including pin-up girls on checks), but folks were unimpressed.

Then in May, Vashonites were face-to-face with violence when a talented chef was “taken down” on a sidewalk in town. We can’t discuss this case because of pending legal action, but we suspect the outcome would have been different if the accused had been carrying her garlic press.

Sexuality was also on the front page in May because of the “grinding” controversy. The Vashon High School prom was cancelled because of “low ticket sales,” but we guessed it was really because they couldn’t rub their (plural noun deleted) together.

In June, the 2010 census was underway with mail-in forms arriving in record numbers. What the census forms didn’t count were the students who had moved to Canada where grinding is legal.

We’re not exactly sure when, but sometime in July, August or September, the Community Council board members were abducted by aliens. Only one was returned unharmed. Subsequent board vacancies were filled in an election requiring candidates to be scanned for alien mind-control devices, and several failed this test. In an unusual twist, one candidate was elected and then lobbied to have the election declared invalid. We could make more jokes about this, but what’s the point?

Meanwhile in September, someone not the sheriff noticed that a crime spree was in progress. The spree began with a home invasion in August that was caught on film (for an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Criminals”), continuing until October, when one person was arrested. Other people were observed with stolen goods but not charged, leading to more than a few angry blog postings.

Also in October, The Beachcomber received 19 awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. A 20th award was won, the “Sweetness and Light Award” for excellence in reporting using complimentary language, but the paper chose not to mention this because the staff couldn’t figure out a way to make it sound better.

Halloween terror extended into November as election returns came in. Using a story line from “The Empire Strikes Back,” Republicans invaded a rebel base in Congress, took hostages and demanded ransom. In a bid for appeasement, the President negotiated a compromise using a story line from Neville Chamberlain, after which Republican troopers invaded the IRS.

It was about then that the clouds parted and the county announced it would purchase the Glacier Northwest property. Boisterous parties were held that reportedly featured nudity and free beer, but we can’t confirm that because we weren’t invited. However, all the appropriate officials were there to claim victory, even if they had been doing something else for the last 10 years.

Before the parties were officially over, a winter storm gave us three days without power. We postulate that the power outage was orchestrated by the coffee stands, which were tired of seeing folks convert to coffee they could make at home. The resulting latte lines were proof they had succeeded. 

Lots of stuff happened in December, which is easier for us to remember because we don’t have to rely on our long-term memories. Sadly, we’re running out of space, so we can only say that a crack appeared on the Westside Highway, WikiLeaks and Anonymous Hactivists ran amok and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was overturned and became (temporarily) something like “Don’t Know, Can’t Say.”

Where we are headed from here is anyone’s guess, but we wish you the best. Stay warm and dry, and if you know of a good party, give us a call.

— Greg and Margaret Wessel live on Vashon Island, where they closely follow the news.

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