Wrapping up another amusing year on Vashon

It was an alarming year with typhoons, NSA boys gone wild, Obamacare and then the Seattle Times started charging for online access. We could depress you by reviewing more world events, but we noticed our neighbors fail to collect their Beachcomber promptly from their mailbox. So we decided it was time to turn our attention back home and review events that happened here.

This is more of a challenge than you might think, because these reviews are supposed to reach 900 words. Thankfully, the sheriff’s reports provided ammunition … or rather data … to allow us to highlight some interesting islanders who have served their time and moved back, as well as events surrounding the Mukai farmhouse for which they may be responsible.

January opened with leftover Christmas spirit as the park district eyed user fees. A new park director was hired (she was issued a flak jacket) at the same time people complained about deer guts in Island Center Forest. The new director was relieved “that other offal problem” was not hers. Elsewhere, the sheriff reported that “sometimes nothing can be done” about drug houses amid what appeared to be a rising tide of drug use, and an Island Landmarks board member filed a defamation lawsuit (J. Nelson was not happy).

February followed on a brighter note with the popular spelling bee, at which many teams competed, some of whom knew how to spell. The park district team lost on “financial,” but the chamber of commerce team successfully remembered how to spell “strawberry.”

Also in February, a group of impressive middle schoolers sponsored a discussion by a drug abuse specialist just as methamphetamine was found near the post office and Island Lumber got its liquor license. But it was not until March that complaints about dog poop in Island Center Forest started coming in, mostly from off-island deer hunters. And a number of trees were stolen from an island nursery, prompting some to wonder who could be dumb enough to do that unless alcohol was involved. IGA started selling liquor about then, and the Island Landmarks board member dropped his lawsuit. No connections between any of the above events are implied.

In April, it was announced that a budget shortfall could result in bus service reductions. Said one Metro spokesperson, “Can’t you just hitchhike like usual?” That idea prompted the state to consider ferry reductions.

May rebounded with promise when the tattoo parlor moved into town (needling some people) and an open house was held at the Mukai farmhouse, lasting almost 23 minutes. A second open house about guardrails was held by the county, at which they promised to restore Tramp Harbor with a new cantilevered roadway and bike path as soon as swine become airborne.

In June we learned that Vashon’s teen drinking is above average (in volume, not quality) just as we heard of the opening of a “wine tasting station.” No connection intended there either. There was a rash (it was more of an infection) of jewelry thefts, and charges against the island’s “top meth dealer” were thrown out. We are wondering if maybe someone should have been thrown out along with the charges.

It was during July that a movie crew came here to make a film on the Maury UFO sighting, enlisting (you fill in the blank) to play creatures from another planet. A synopsis of the movie was featured in a Strawberry Festival float starring none of the people you just listed. Nothing else interesting happened (to us anyway) until August, when the county outlined the marijuana zoning rules, effectively removing any reason for comedy writers to joke about dope on Vashon. Not wanting to give up on Vashon humor, some construction workers on Sylvan Beach were caught drinking and shooting guns at Southworth. Said one, “There ain’t room enough on the ferry for both of us!”

Opera singers flashed the market in September, and school bus drivers almost rear-ended a strike just as Chautauqua got a new principal of vice. But the most amazing event of the year, for Vashon anyway, was when a local father tracked down a career burglar in White Center and taught the sheriff how these newfangled phones work.

With only 200 words left, a bomb scare in October closed the south-end ferry, and the US government shut down. The ferry re-opened immediately, but the government remained closed until Congress realized that people might not be able to tell when they were actually working. The Mukai barreling plant was sold, and the adjacent farmhouse was marketed as a “handyman’s dream.” “The barreling plant will make a great parking lot,” commented one insider.

Threats by Metro in November to cut bus service further caught the attention of the four people who ride outside of rush hour, and in December, threats to grow dope at K2 caught the attention of the rest of us. But in a heartwarming year-end development, a sheriff’s deputy said Mom’s Deli will be “a place everyone on Vashon can go to in a short while.” We hope it’s for more than just K2’s production.

With that, we wish you a prosperous new year and encourage you to join us in supporting Kevin Joyce when he asks “If Vashon doesn’t demonstrate the intelligence to empower a sustainable future, who will?”


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

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