Looking forward to smooth sailing on Vashon Island

New editor Kevin Opsahl is excited about being an island resident.

  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019 12:28pm
  • Opinion

In my 32 years of life, I can say I was a Marylander, a Washingtonian and a Utahan. But now, I’m an islander! It’s a title I didn’t know I’d have just one month ago, but it has a nice ring to it if you ask me.

It suddenly hit me that I’d be an islander (or “Vashonite,” according to some residents on Facebook) when I saw the island’s northern tip on board the Fauntleroy ferry on Labor Day. I was traveling to meet a moving van at my apartment, exactly one week before starting my job as editor of The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.

It was clear as my parents drove me down Vashon Highway that this place was a stark contrast to my former home, Logan, Utah, the home of Utah State University, where I was a staff writer for The Herald Journal. For years, I’d tried to convince myself the college town with mountains and rolling farmland was not rural. That word, however, took on a different meaning as I came onto Vashon.

I don’t mean that in a negative way, though. I was pleased with Vashon’s abundance of evergreen trees — something sorely lacking in the Beehive State — its winding and hilly roads, sometimes hugging Puget Sound (watch out for the deer, I’m told). Vashon’s quaint downtown reminded me of some of the smaller cities around Logan I had covered for years.

Vashon also reminded me of Logan in other ways. Though it lacks a college campus, Vashon has a Center for the Arts that resembles some of the newer performance halls at USU made possible by generous donors. Island Queen, a Vashon burger joint, was reminiscent of one Logan has called Morty’s Cafe. (Pro tip: If you go to Island Queen, order the “Zat Burger” and don’t hold the Sriracha mayo and crispy onion straws.)

I have only been here a few days and I’m excited about being an island resident. But I’m also passionate about another subject: journalism.

Reading the paper over several weeks during my move from Utah to Washington, I could see The Beachcomber staff’s enthusiasm and seriousness in publishing a community paper. I’d like to see it continue during my tenure as editor.

Despite the hard times the news industry is going through right now, I know many people still value local reporting. Sure, there’s always stuff going on in New York or the nation’s capital, but what is happening right here on Vashon impacts our reader base the most. The staff, myself included, aim to report the news you need to know. And, by the way, don’t be afraid to give us your feedback or send us a story idea. We love hearing from you.

I look forward to getting to know the island and my fellow islanders. You can reach me at 206-504-1872 or editor@vashonbeachcomber.com. Smooth sailing ahead!

— Kevin Opsahl

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