Voice of Vashon Keeps Us Connected

Just one generation ago we had neither community radio nor an emergency alert service.

  • Wednesday, July 7, 2021 5:53pm
  • Opinion
Art Chippendale

Art Chippendale

Good Morning Vashon!

Eighteen months ago, we were very much engaged in our personal journeys, building our futures, working at our jobs, and getting the kids to school. We’d never heard of “Zoom.”

Then came COVID-19, a catastrophe that quickly spread around the globe, consuming not only its victims, but our thoughts, our conversations, our jobs, our incomes, our habits, and our social interactions.

Locked down in our homes, bravely venturing out only for the essentials, we began to question what was truly important. Many of us reached the same conclusion: Each Other.

One of our strongest adaptations as humans is our innate drive to come together in times of crisis. Yet the nature of the pandemic turned that upside-down. We would instead be forced to isolate ourselves from each other.

I feel grateful, very grateful to have survived the crisis here, on Vashon, where our community has remained strong. I am grateful to those who provided reliable information, who maintained a sense of normalcy; to the people and organizations who entertained us over the airwaves and the internet. I am grateful to everyone who helped us to get through our days.

I am particularly grateful to Voice of Vashon as well as VashonBePrepared for their regularly updated situation reports from the Vashon Emergency Operations Center. Reliable, information about the status of the pandemic on Vashon-Maury Island played an important role in raising awareness of Covid-19, of the precautions necessary to protect ourselves and others, as well as of local case counts, vaccine availability, and other pandemic related developments on Vashon. Those reports helped enormously to maintain our safety and our calm in the face of uncertainty.

Vashon wasn’t always so blessed. Just one generation ago we had neither community radio nor an emergency alert service.

Every great idea starts with someone, and in 1999 those someones were several: Steve Allen, who understood the technology required; a brilliant, retired radio guy, Bill Morosoff; and Lori Gustafson who was excited and determined to establish community radio on Vashon. Others soon caught the fever and created what would become Voice of Vashon. They included Bill Wood, Jeanne Dougherty, Jeff Hoyt, Steven Holland Chang, Susan Gleason, Bob Moses, Susan McCabe, Hawk Jones, Michael Golen-Johnson, and others.

It was a long-row-to-hoe in making the dream come true. The FCC rejected VoV’s first license proposal in 2002. Undaunted, other islanders discovered even more possibilities. Community activists Mark Peas and Dan Schueler pressured Comcast to establish a Public Access Cable Channel; making Channel 21 a connection between island residents and Voice of Vashon in 2004.

Then, in the winter of 2006, disaster struck. The event remembered as the Hanukkah Eve Windstorm, brought hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall. On Vashon, regular power was out for several days. Downed trees destroyed homes and jammed roads throughout the island.

When it was over, Rick Wallace, then a leading member of the Vashon Disaster Preparedness Coalition, discovered a special FCC license class for providing Highway Advisories. Rick (currently V.P. of VoV’s Board of Directors) brought the idea to VoV and within a year, VoV’s signature contribution to the island was up and running. Known as the Voice of Vashon 1650 AM Alert Service, a dedicated network of volunteers now provides continuous radio updates on emergencies and service disruptions.

So, it’s no wonder that VoV and VashonBePrepared became Vashon’s go-to source for reliable news and updates during the pandemic. Something we can ALL be grateful for.

That we are now all able to listen to VoV’s music and discussion programs on the radio is due to the persistent efforts of even more participants. In 2013, the FCC announced it was creating a new Low-Power FM (LP-FM) classification. The Board and volunteers at VoV jumped at the opportunity, and KVSH 101.9 LP-FM finally went on the air on October 13, 2014.

It has been a long story, but I wanted to illustrate Voice of Vashon’s long and deep roots within our community. That a small group of dedicated community volunteers could persist over two decades to develop an idea and make it a reality is a testimony, not only to their leadership and devotion to public service, it is also a demonstration of the enduring support from the Vashon community. VoV is community radio, supporting other organizations across the island with Public Service Announcements about their events as well as interviewing their leaders regarding their own group’s mission and activities.

So, as you go out and about the island this summer, you can feel grateful to be alive today on Vashon-Maury Island, where, with your support, Voice of Vashon keeps us all connected to each other.

Voice of Vashon’s annual Summer fundraiser is underway. For the third year running, VoV will be selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a shopping spree at Thriftway worth up to $2,000. You can find volunteers in front of Thriftway throughout July and during the live Saturday broadcast at the Strawberry Festival IGA main stage. Stop by and say hi and find out how you can connect with VoV.

Art Chippendale has lived on Vashon for 24 years with his wife, Tania Kinnear. He is active in community organizations.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

As Delta Dawns, Islanders Need To Renew Precautions

We know now what can happen when we follow the rules: life returns to a semblance of normality.

Reflections on a Sweet Strawberry Festival

The Festival was filled with our traditional events and activities, but all with a focus on Vashon.

Energy Consumption Globally, and Locally, Is Too High

We are not taking the climate crisis seriously.

Vote Yes for Best Starts for Kids

Funding from this initiative has already resulted in direct benefits for Vashon youth.

Everything Must Change. What are the New Rules?

What we really need is some concrete guidance, a “to do” list.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
King County primary election candidates to watch | Roegner

With the Aug. 3 primary election, the public will narrow the field… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Massive reforestation effort needed in Washington and beyond | Brunell

Massive forest fires in the western parts of our country are not… Continue reading

Mukai Joins Mayoral Race, Hosts Day of Festival Fun

What says Strawberry Festival like the history of the strawberry on Vashon?

Here’s to Friendlier Fourths in the Future

There are people to see, and places to go, and good clean fun to be had.

Most Read