EDITORIAL: Take part in the “big things” islanders have organized

In the commentary on the right, the author Rob Briggs quotes a former professor saying, “Vashon is full of interesting people doing big things.”

This has long been true — and if the stories in this week’s issue of The Beachcomber are any indication, it will certainly be true in the days and weeks ahead. We encourage islanders to participate in some of the remarkable opportunities other islanders are creating.

Briggs, a member of Vashon’s Climate Action Group, encourages each of us to be among those testifying on Feb. 21 before the Utilities and Transportation Commission with the aim of Puget Sound Energy becoming carbon-free.

Tomorrow, a fundraiser for Vashon High School journalism students will be held at The Hardware Store Restaurant. There, three panelists will engage with islanders on the topic of how Vashon will endure amid the current explosion of regional growth and accompanying escalating housing prices and property taxes. It is a challenging time for the island, as people who have lived here for decades no longer feel they can afford to stay, and employees at many island businesses have an increasingly difficult time finding an affordable place to live.

At the heart of the discussion is the idea that we can talk about some of the hard issues involved in a civil way. We applaud the organizers for hosting this event and the panelists for being willing to share their perspectives. We hope many islanders will attend and in equal measures listen and speak up. There is more about this forum on page 1.

Then on Feb. 24, the group that brought us the four-day “Vashon Conversation for the Living about Dying” last year is back with an important day of information on end-of-life care. The one-day workshop is called “Unraveling the Mystery of Palliative Care.” Organizers say it will provide an opportunity for those who attend to learn about care that provides relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness with the goal of improving quality of life for both patients and their loved ones. With an impressive panel of speakers, the day will include approaches to pain management, stress and anxiety, including traditional medical and complementary interventions. There will even be a presentation on end-of-life care for animals.

All of these extraordinary undertakings — and mini golf at the library, too. The professor had it right: Vashon is full of interesting people doing big things. We hope to see you at the upcoming events.

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