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For islanders, it was personal: that was our boat, and our friends, family members and neighbors who could have been hurt or even killed that morning.

Most island stories never see the light of day in regional and mainland news outlets, but that wasn’t the case last week.

We all watched as the crash of the Cathlamet — one of the worst accidents to befall our ferry system in decades — jumped the pond, with regional and even national media racing to report on the crumpled boat. Much of that coverage quoted Ferries chief, Patty Rubstello, who said in a press conference that it was “truly a miracle that no one was injured.”

But for islanders, it was personal: that was our boat, and our friends, family members and neighbors who could have been hurt or even killed that morning.

We’ll continue to cover the fallout from the accident, including the findings of a Coast Guard investigation of the accident, of course.

The impacts from the crash will be felt on Vashon for some time, and we’ll cover those too, most likely without the help of off-island reporters.

We all need to know if one less boat and one fewer captains in the fleet will mean even more sketchy coverage for our ferry-dependent island — which must still make do on a reduced, two-boat schedule from Vashon’s north end. And how will that continue to impact our local businesses during the remaining summer season?

We’ll also be watching to see if our ferry woes might cause reduced enrollment of off-island kids in our local public schools district — which sorely needs every precious penny of state reimbursement for these non-resident students.

The school district, by the way, held its first board meeting since June 23 last week, so stay tuned, because the summer lull in district news is coming to an end.

As you may recall, the school board finished up its 2021-2022 school year by enacting a reduction in force (RIF) plan, aimed at curing a projected deficit of almost $1.2 million dollars in its 2022-2023 budget.

The RIF plan was roundly criticized by the district’s teacher and support staff unions for targeting several positions that interfaced closely with at-risk students — an outcome that did not align with the district’s recently adopted strategic plan, prioritizing equity in education for all groups of students.

At the board meeting last week, Superintendent Slade McSheehy discussed his plans to soon engage a consultant from the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) to examine the district’s finances and priorities for sustainability and solvency planning.

We hope that the consultant will help lead the district into finally addressing its culture of living beyond its means under McSheehy’s administration.

The belt-tightening that took place this spring in the district could get worse, considering that VISD’s 2022-23 budget includes about half a million dollars that represents the last of the $1.6 million total the district has received in the past three years in federal pandemic relief funds.

That half a million dollars is all currently earmarked for paying staffing costs at VISD in the 2022-2023 school year — what will replace it when it is gone?

Covering the school district is only one of our tasks, though.

Our fire district, now under the leadership of new fire chief Matt Vinci, will soon embark on a strategic planning process that islanders should know about.

Another upcoming story will more fully detail developments about the potential sale of Burton Water District, a private company owned by islanders, to a recently formed cooperative of the district’s users.

We’re also planning on further reporting, at a more local level, on a regional story we have published in this week’s paper, about King County’s Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy — a new blueprint for managing and deterring wildfire risk as climate change leads to more extreme weather events.

Vashon was prominently included in the blueprint as being at increased risk of wildfires in coming years — an important concern islanders need to understand more fully on multiple levels.

Stories about public agencies, our safety, our economy, our ferries, our kids … they’ll keep us busy, we’re sure.

Stay tuned. If the news concerns Vashon, we’ll do our best to cover it.