You – An Encore Performance

You - An Encore Performance

This month we are, once again, featuring YOU because you deserve an encore!  YOU are a neighbor. YOU are a part of what makes us a community.

In the recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) Newsletter, Public Health Matters, we are reminded that “the word community can mean different things." It can describe a geographic area, a group of people with shared interests, or a feeling of teamwork and fellowship.” At the core is YOU.

 

The Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR) is a part of the CDC and they outline ways that YOU can create community where you live. The following are excerpts and links from the CPR’s “create community” newsletter.

 

Care for Each OtherTake care of yourself and others.

The greatest strengths of a community might be its people and their relationships with each other. People who are personally prepared, invested, and socially connected are often better able to protect themselves and more willing and ready to help others through adversity.

 

Improve AccessSupport the needs of the whole community.

Community health preparedness and resilience is not achieved until everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as prepared as possible. It is the shared responsibility of the whole community to find ways to make preparedness more inclusive, available, and achievable for everyone.

 

Lead by ExampleInspire others’ healthy behaviors.

Get in the habit of being a preparedness role model for your family and in your community. Modeling healthy behaviors, attitudes, and habits, like getting a seasonal flu vaccine and frequent handwashing, can inspire others to do the same.

 

Get InvolvedTake action to help improve everyone’s health and resilience.

People who are resilient and ready to care for their neighbors can have positive and even life-saving impacts on their neighbors and in their communities at large. Response training and exercises, donations, and volunteerism are just a few of the many ways that you can help yourself and others prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency.

 

The Guemes Island Community Center Association has recently posted, on our website and on island bulletin boards, a list of our Top Ten Volunteer Opportunities. YOU can help to “create community.” There are many ways, even during a pandemic, to safely connect with or inspire others, to become more resilient, and to become more involved. Whether it is just neighbor helping neighbor or through greater involvement with island organizations, your efforts will build “community.”

Read more

Dog Island Dogs, Then and Now

Dog Island Dogs, Then and Now

The dogs of “Dog Island” are carrying on the long tradition of canine companions on Guemes Island. Few bear resemblances to the historical “wool dogs” raised by the Samish tribes in the late 1700s and early 1800s, except for one island favorite, Dakoda, or “Koda”, as he's best known.

 

The now extinct Wool Dogs were described as looking like the modern-day Spitz and stood about 17 inches high with long white fur. They were raised in “flocks” on Guemes and other nearby islands and kept separated from other village dogs in order to preserve their prized white fur. They were shorn like sheep and the fur was woven into blankets used as valuable trade items. As island settlement displaced the native tribes, the weavers switched to more accessible sheep wool and the Wool Dogs became extinct.

 

One-year-old Koda joined the family of Wendy Saver and Dave Rockwood in 2012 as a rescue from a local animal shelter. It was one of those “meant-to-be” moments when the planets were aligned and the time was right. Koda found his new family and a happy life on Guemes Island. He was “Best Dog” at Wendy and Dave’s wedding on North Beach in 2018.

 

Although not genetically related to the Samish Wool Dogs, Koda has become an island mascot and a source of smiles for many as he greets ferry passengers and crew and, before the pandemic, made regular appearances at island events. The pandemic is difficult for such a social dog (and for social humans, as well) but Wendy and Dave appreciate Koda’s companionship as he helps them adjust to social distancing and fewer opportunities to gather with friends. A romp on the beach or a roll in the dirt will have to suffice for now. Our furry, or woolly, or feathered, finned, scaled, or otherwise, pet-friends are helping us all through these difficult times.

 

If you'd like us to feature your animal companion and share your story, please contact us at myguemes@gmail.com.

Read more

Guemes Island Fire Chief Gerry Francis Retires

Guemes Island Fire Chief Gerry Francis Retires

In July, Guemes Island Fire Chief Gerry Francis retired after 12 years of service to our community.

 

Gerry’s history with the Guemes Island Fire Department is chronicled in archived issues of the Guemes Tide (see guemestide.org). In the October 2010 issue of the Tide, Edith Walden writes that Gerry and his wife Lorraine “first moved to Guemes from Utah in 2004, when Gerry retired as a maintenance planner with Kimberly-Clark. They constructed their home on Samish Street in 2005. In November 2006, a storm threw a huge fir tree through their bedroom roof at 5:30 a.m., just missing Lorraine’s head. Gerry remembers the impressive help they received from then Fire Chief Carl Meinzinger and fire volunteers Bob and Nancy White. In 2008, at age 66, Gerry joined the Guemes Island Fire Department after seeing a recruiting flyer.” Gerry’s life was anything but boring after that.

 

The required firefighter training and rigorous emergency medical technician (EMT) training program are challenging for even young recruits. At age 66, Gerry excelled, graduating as class valedictorian at the recruit academy. Gerry was certified as an EMT in January 2011 after many hours of home study, classroom training, exams, and volunteer shifts in an ambulance and an emergency room.

 

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Fire District 17 appointed Gerry Francis to the assistant chief’s position in 2011. In 2014, Gerry was promoted to chief. As a first responder to many medical and fire emergencies on Guemes, Chief Francis has provided compassionate care to those in need. He has led his dedicated team of volunteers in protecting home and property from fire, as well as mitigating storm damage until other emergency responders can arrive.

 

Mentoring new firefighters strengthens every fire department while providing continuity of service. Gerry has mentored newly appointed Fire Chief Olivia Snell, who served as assistant chief for the past five years.

 

A grateful community wishes to thank Gerry Francis for his many years of service. In addition, we thank Gerry’s wife, Lorraine, who is also stepping away from the fire department where she served as Public Information Officer and “Chief Chef.” They will both be missed on the front lines.

Read more

Joan Palmer Knows How To “Bee” Kind

Joan Palmer Knows How To "Bee" Kind

... submitted by Tom Deach

 

Early this spring I received a call from Joan Palmer on South Shore Road. She was looking for someone who might till up a small wild flower bed for her. As a result, after meeting with Joan and her friend, Heather Miller, I agreed to do what I could to help her out. About a week later, in between the cold rains which dominate our spring days, I was able to fit the job in. When I arrived I was a little apprehensive to begin working because neither Joan, nor Heather, was there to supervise the extent of the tilling, but I also knew Joan was also apprehensive about being too “late for wildflowers.” I went to work finishing the job just as the next rain squall moved in. I was disappointed with the final product, which was an area about 25' X 40', and quite dismal looking; a patch of dirt, chopped up grass and of course an abundance of Guemes rocks overshadowed by the gray sky above, which darkened a gloomy Guemes channel. As I pushed the tiller back towards my truck, I noticed how beautiful her manicured gardens would become as the weather warmed, renewing life. Joan called me when she arrived home very pleased with the new garden area, stating it was just as she had imagined. “What do I owe you?” Remembering what it looked like when I left it, I couldn't put a value on it. We agreed a donation to the Guemes Island Historical Society would satisfy both parties.

 

Fast forward to mid-June. Another call from Joan: “You need to see what we created, I'm so grateful for your help.” Chuck Farrell helped too, she added. He had smoothed out and tamped down the tilled area in preparation for the seed. I promised to stop by and take a look. While walking from the truck I couldn't help but notice the garden's transformation since my last visit, trees and flowers blooming with birds and bees everywhere. Along the pathway I was greeted by California poppies, a bright orange glow, a seeming reflection of the sun.

 

Volunteer California Poppies

Continuing along, flowers to my left; to the right a garden area with veggies, trees and of course, more flowers snuggled by the inevitable deer fencing. And then, a few steps further on, there they were: wildflowers galore. No more chewed up grass and dirt mixed with rock; in it's place white and pink and blue and yellow and....you get the picture: spectacular!

 

The Garden

Joan and Heather enjoying the view

Walking with Joan, she names the flowers in her gardens, introducing each of them to me. She smiles at both the flowers and me. She understands that I know nothing about flowers, but we share a common attraction to the scene surrounding us, the fragrances, bright colors and beauty that the flowers bring. We are not alone. Birds and bees of all manner abound, with butterflies beginning to arrive as summer approaches. Joan's dream is for wildflower gardens to cover our island. Joan's wish is to share her garden with these pollinators and two legged islanders as well. She would love for visitors to see it and perhaps become inspired to create their own joyful habitat for our all important friends, the birds, butterflies and of course, the Bees!

 

Joan pointing at the bees

Covid 19 has upset the way we visit, however with careful social distancing and wearing masks the gardens could be viewed in a responsible, safe, way. If you would like to see this spectacular garden, please contact Joan. Email: moonrisebay@gmail.com or by phone: 360-202-2540 to make an appointment for viewing.

Read more

A Brief History of Renewable Energy on Guemes Island

A Brief History of Renewable Energy on Guemes Island

Q&A with Ian Woofenden, island renewable energy expert

 

The installation of the large solar-electric system at the Guemes Island General Store is a worthy time to reflect on the history of renewable energy on Guemes. Ian Woofenden, renewable energy expert and Guemes islander, has had a lot to do with that history.

 

In a brief article, Ian shares some history, provides some general information about renewable energy, and answers some "burning questions" about the solar installation at the store.

Read more

2020 Betty Crookes Guemes Gold Scholarship Winners

2020 Betty Crookes Guemes Gold Scholarship Winners

Photo L to R: Anna Prewitt, Jefferson Butler, Rivers Olson

 

Three outstanding Guemes Island high school students were recently awarded this year’s Betty Crookes Guemes Gold Scholarships. Anna Prewitt received the Gold Award of $1500, Jefferson Butler received the Silver Award of $1000, and Rivers Olson received the Bronze Award of $500. Instead of the normal awards reception at the Church honoring the students, this year COVID-19 restrictions forced members of the Scholarship Committee, wearing masks, to visit the homes of each winner to present their certificate and monetary award. Congratulations to all three!

 

Anna:

I am happy to be the recipient of a Guemes Gold Scholarship. I'm a senior at Anacortes High School for a few more weeks. I enjoy debate, playing the clarinet and piano, tennis, and journalism, as well as volunteering in the community. I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue my education, which this scholarship helps make possible. I will pursue my passions in chemistry and English next year at Pomona College in Claremont, California. After college, I hope to go on to earn a graduate degree and continue learning as a teacher.

 

Jefferson:

I am a senior at Anacortes High, set to graduate on June 17. Throughout my high school years, I have tried on many hats, and some have fit better than others. During my freshman and sophomore years, I was a dedicated member of the robotics team at the high school – learning basic software development and machine shop skills. I also played the French Horn and Trumpet under three different band directors. In my later high school years, I dedicated myself more to my future plans – looking at post-secondary education paths and careers. Currently, I plan to join the crew of a yacht as soon as I'm done with classes. Next fall I hope to attend Claremont McKenna College or Harvey Mudd College. I am so incredibly lucky to have a community that supports my dreams so passionately. Thank you Guemes, and thank you Betty Crookes!

 

Rivers:

Hello, I am Rivers Olson. I have lived on Guemes Island all my life and have grown up in the community. I really enjoy being outside and engaging with friends and family. I was homeschooled up until my sophomore year and excelled when I went to high school. I am attending Western Washington University this coming fall and plan on majoring in a health profession to help people. I will use the Guemes Gold scholarship to help pay for tuition, books, and school supplies. I would like to thank the Guemes Gold Committee and Betty Crookes for this opportunity.

 

 

-----

Betty Crookes co-founded the Guemes Gold Scholarship Program in 1991 along with members of the Women’s Club. When the Club dissolved, other island organizations and individuals made sure the program continued. The Guemes Island Property Owners Association (GIPOA) hosted the program for eleven years and now passes the program to the Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA). A hardworking and dedicated Scholarship Committee continues the logistical work and fundraising. The committee members include co-chairs Janice Veal and Jan Ebersole, Julie Hopkins, Betsy Ockwell, Carol Pellett, and Susan Rombeek.

 

Applicants for the scholarships must be Guemes residents and are evaluated on successful progress toward completion of their secondary education, concern for the environment and community, and their involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, hobbies, artistic interests, and jobs. They are asked to provide a school transcript or grade level examination if homeschooled as well as two letters of recommendation.

 

You can help to keep this worthwhile program going by making a tax-deductible donation to the Scholarship Committee through the Guemes Island Community Center Association. Checks should be made out to GICCA with “Guemes Gold Scholarship” in the memo field and mailed to GICCA at 7549 Guemes Island Road, Anacortes, WA 98221. Checks can also be given to members of the Scholarship Committee.

Read bios from the students

Humble Family Legacy of Support

Humble Family Legacy of Support

For several years the Second Century Vision Committee has been studying the future needs of the Guemes Island Community Center, Guemes CERT, the Guemes Library, and the Guemes Island Historical Society. Representatives from each of these organizations, as well as the Guemes Church, make up this committee.

 

Our community has grown considerably since the Community Center Hall was constructed in 1914. The Hall needs more space for community events as well as for emergency shelter. Our library could easily fill a new space twice the current size. The Historical Society dreams of permanent museum space for its many historical and archived items. The plan is to revitalize the Community Center’s capabilities, add much-needed parking, and provide areas both inside and out to display our island’s cultural history. The expansion plan will honor the past and embrace the future as it meets the changing needs of our community.

 

The Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) is pleased to announce that the first milestone on the road to expansion has been reached. At the end of 2019, Clive and Diane Humble donated 1.26 acres of land north and adjacent to the existing Community Hall parking area. This generous donation gives us the green light to forge ahead with more comprehensive planning.

 

This recent land donation by the Humbles is not the family’s first gift to Guemes Island. In 1958 a letter from Helen Vonnegut, the Church Secretary, thanks George and Gyneth Humble for donating a strip of land along Guemes Island Road to the Guemes Congregational Church. This strip became the parking area that runs from the Church to the Community Hall.

 

In 2004 the Humbles again donated land to the community. Gyneth Humble, Clive’s mother, donated land for what became the “new” parking lot north of the Community Hall. This was a sorely needed addition as increased parking needs at community events had outgrown the roadside parking strip. Glen Veal, with Clive’s support, helped facilitate this donation.

 

Now, 15 years later, the third donation is complete. This acquisition continues the Humble Family legacy of support for our Community Center with each donation building on the last. As the Community Center adapts to the changing island demographic and plans for the future, it remains one of Guemes Island’s most prized assets.

 

The Humble family has a long history on Guemes Island. George and Gyneth Humble moved from Seattle to the island in 1948 when Clive, their only child, was two years old. George and Gyneth both worked for the Copeland Lumber Company until their retirement. Clive attended the Guemes Island School through 4th grade. Mrs. Miles taught all four grades and it was difficult for some island children to excel educationally. Clive found the transition to the Anacortes school system challenging initially but managed to catch up with his peers as evidenced by his later academic life. Even though Clive now attended Anacortes schools, the Humbles continued to live on Guemes Island and actively supported the community.

 

George passed away in August of 1975, but Gyneth continued to live on Guemes, her home for 44 years. After suffering two strokes, Gyneth moved to Mountain Glen Retirement Home in Mount Vernon where she resided nearly 20 years until her death in October of 2011.

 

Clive resided on the island, off and on, until 1971. Like his parents, Clive also worked for Copeland Lumber, but only for a short time. He became enamored with boating and began working for Bryant's Marina of Anacortes. He was also employed at Robinson's Marina before it was demolished by a fierce north wind during a winter storm. After graduating from Anacortes High School Clive attended Skagit Valley Community College and graduated from the University of Puget Sound. After graduation, Clive worked for Prairie Market Building Supply of Mt Vernon for 16 years. He eventually finished his career in Seattle after working another 21 years for Builders Hardware and Supply.

 

Clive married Diane in 1972 and moved off the island. Diane was a teacher in the Sedro Wooley school district for five years until their children, Julie and Mark came along. They were her primary focus until they entered public school. Diane then returned to teaching. She spent 21 years at Lincoln View Elementary in Mount Vernon, capping off a long career of public service to area school children. In recent years Clive and Diane have been committed to caring for Diane's mother in her declining years. They reside midway between Anacortes and Mount Vernon. The family still maintains property on the island to this day.

 

Clive and Diane’s most recent gift to the Community Center Association continues the Humble Family legacy of support for the Guemes Island community. The residents of Guemes, both current and future generations, will continue to enjoy a vibrant Community Center thanks to the generosity of the Humble Family.

Read more

Neighborly Wisdom For Stressful Times

Neighborly Wisdom For Stressful Times

In stressful times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the complications of life. We might feel sad, frustrated, irritated, at odds with the world, or just a general “funk.” Sometimes a different perspective, even for a short while, is helpful. A number of islanders have shared some “neighborly wisdom” that you might find to be insightful, inspiring, humorous - or, at least, a brief distraction.

Read more

GIHS News, Notes, and Hopes

Luminary by Chris Skinner, photo by Tom Deach
Soleil says …
‘and the sun will come out tomorrow’

 

Now that we are all cozied up awaiting new news concerning the COVID-19 virus, I thought I would take the opportunity to update you on the Guemes Island Historical Society’s status. As you have surmised, the GIHS is on what is, hopefully, a brief hiatus of our activities. Meetings, presentations, and activities have been postponed.

We will be resuming these programs when it becomes safe to do so. We encourage our community to be safe by utilizing social distancing and following protocols as directed by our health care professionals.

That being said, there is a way to support the GIHS in general, along with future generations of historians to come. No, we’re not asking for money. Instead, I’d like to ask you to document how the COVID-19 Virus is affecting you. Please write down how the corona outbreak has affected your life. What things are you finding difficult? What do you miss the most? Are your pets acting differently? Anything you find pertinent is acceptable.

Though often we tend to dwell on the negatives in times like these, I’d also like to hear about any positive aspects as well: perhaps the kindness of neighbors, friends, or those you don’t know; new interests to pass the time, etc. What advice can you give those that follow us?

You can record your thoughts, actions, and feelings by emailing them to  guemeshistory@gmail.com. The email entries collected will become part of a journal of “living” history which will eventually be made public. By choosing to accept this invitation, you will be authorizing future use of the information in any form the GIHS chooses to present it. I hope that, with your help, we can document Guemes Island life during this stressful time. If you have any questions or concerns please call Tom at 360-708-2582 or email deachtom@gmail.com. This is an ongoing project, so feel free
to email as many times as you want.

Guemes is a special place where care for others has always been a priority. Let’s continue that legacy. Please be safe. Wishing you the best in the days ahead. Tom Deach

The Pelletts – A Lifetime Of Commitment

The Pelletts - A Lifetime Of Commitment

Carol and Howard Pellett know the meaning of commitment through 60 years of marriage and 25 years of community involvement on Guemes Island. Both, now 80 years old, are stepping back from most of their island leadership roles.

 

Stepping away from leadership roles does not mean the Pelletts will sit back and rest on their laurels. They plan to remain strong supporters of island organizations, projects, and personal causes. There will be more cherished time with family while enjoying their ocean view from North Shore. More time to knit, to walk the dog, and to watch the birds on the beach.

 

Carol was born in Washington DC and her family moved to southern California when she was a child. Carol and Howard met as teenagers while attending rival high schools in the Los Angeles area. Howard still speaks fondly of seeing the young blue-eyed beauty in the blue dress and Carol remembers his black convertible automobile, the dream of every southern California teen at the time. The couple found their soul mates in each other and married at age 20. Their family grew as they moved from California to Washington state with a brief stint in Alaska. Carol and Howard’s five boys still live in Washington, all east of Lake Washington.

 

Carol fell in love with Guemes Island in the late ’70s and she convinced Howard that they should purchase property on North Shore in 1979. After a career in administration at Evergreen Hospital, Carol was the first to retire and she moved to their new home on the island. Howard’s retirement followed in 1999 when he ended his long career as a senior agent with the IRS. The Pelletts wasted no time getting involved in the community and making many new friends. Howard credits Carol with setting the stage for their many years of service to the island.

 

The Guemes Island Property Owners Association (GIPOA) was an established island organization in need of new leadership. The Pelletts stepped in and have carried forward GIPOA’s work as a 501(c)(4) non-profit for over 20 years. GIPOA oversees the Betty Crookes Guemes Gold Scholarship Program that was formerly sponsored by the Guemes Women’s Club. Guemes students are recognized for their scholastic achievement and awarded scholarships that are funded by donations from individuals and organizations. Proceeds from the Fall Festival also help to fund this worthwhile program. Howard and Carol will hopefully pass the torch to new leaders as they step down from GIPOA this summer.

 

Shortly after Carol’s arrival on Guemes she saw the need for a library on the island. The ferry runs ended in the early evening and residents longed for access to a local library. Carol and Howard took on the challenge and helped raise the $40,000 it took to build a library addition onto the Community Hall. The Guemes Library is now brimming with books and resources and dreaming of future expansion. This 501(c)(3) library is run by a nine-member library board of which Carol is the president and Howard, treasurer. These positions are also being vacated, leaving big shoes to be filled.

 

Carol worked for 16 years as the secretary for the Guemes Island Fire Department. Howard again helped with fundraising that paid for the solar panels on both the Fire Hall and the Guemes Church. In past years they both served on the boards of the Guemes Island Environmental Trust (GIET) and the Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA). Carol can be found at the Church on most Wednesdays with a quilting group that stitches handmade quilts for donation to charities. She is seldom without her knitting and it is a lucky person who has a pair of her handknitted socks.

 

The Pelletts will continue their involvement with the Guemes Chamber Music Series. Carol serves on the board as treasurer. Howard helped facilitate gaining 501(c)(3) status for this organization and he also serves as a current board member.

 

With Carol’s love and support, Howard was able to overcome some personal challenges in his life. This led him to his volunteer work as a group facilitator with SMART Recovery, a self-management and recovery training program for alcoholics. For many years Howard traveled weekly to the Monroe Correctional Complex in Monroe, WA and the Criminal Justice Center in Everett where he counseled inmates. Howard no longer travels for this work but he continues facilitating SMART Recovery at a weekly meeting in Anacortes. He feels that helping people find their own path to recovery can be a lasting solution.

 

The Guemes community thanks Carol and Howard for their many years of dedicated service and for setting a high bar for community involvement.

Read more