How An Aquifer Works

Be a Good Neighbor — Conserve Water!

Be a Good Neighbor — Conserve Water!

Image credit: Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee

 

It’s been a long, dry summer on Guemes Island. The Guemes Island Planning Advisory Committee (GIPAC) noted in a recent post on myguemes.org entitled, “Be Water Wise,” that, “During the dry season, we are tempted to increase water usage by watering lawns, washing cars and boats, and entertaining visitors who are not familiar with the need to conserve water.” In an August 3, 2021 article on postalley.org entitled, “Reckoning: Guemes Island Keeps Growing; The Water Supply Isn’t,” which also cites GIPAC members, the author, Elisa Claassen, conveys that more people, more wells, increasing water use, and rising sea levels are putting Guemes’s two aquifers, the island’s main source of potable water, under stress – causing many wells to fail already.

 

Funds have recently been appropriated for a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to update the 1995 USGS report on groundwater on the island. The study is set to begin in 2022 and is estimated to take a year and a half to complete. GIPAC and fellow islanders hope that the results of the upcoming study will motivate Skagit County to take quick and decisive action to protect our very limited water supply - before it is too late.

 

Learn more about how we ALL can protect our limited water supply.

 

Be a good islander – be water-wise!

Photo provided by the McCracken family

Phil McCracken, Long-time Guemes Resident and Art Legend

Phil McCracken, Long-time Guemes Resident and Art Legend

A difficult period of pandemic isolation is punctuated by the loss of another longtime islander and renowned artist, Philip Trafton McCracken. Phil passed away after a long illness on June 6, 2021, at the age of 92.

 

"Though most will remember Philip primarily as the renowned artist he was, his family and close family friends will hold the memory of a complicated but dearly loved man who adored family gatherings, took a childlike pleasure in small moments, never aged out of playing animals with young children, loved dreamy whimsy and strange little objects as much as he loved esoteric ideas and theoretical paradigms, relished telling humorous stories about the past, had a distinctively wry smile and a memorable high pealing laugh." For the complete tribute and obituary provided by his family, click here.

 

Phil's art lives on in many public venues and in private homes. For a map of Phil's sculptures accessible for public viewing, click here.

 

As a mentor, Phil drew a number of artists to Guemes Island. His legacy of connecting to the mysterious energies of the animal and plant world continues to inspire generations of new artists. Guemes provides a nurturing sanctuary for all the creative arts.

Guemes, The Island We Love

Guemes, The Island We Love

Islanders may look back on the past twelve months as the “lost year.” We reminisce about activities postponed and remember people who have passed without the opportunity to celebrate their lives. We may feel a sense of grief for what we’ve lost. Yet the act of remembering those beloved people and cherished activities helps to keep the memories alive and gives us hope for better times ahead. We can also learn from history.

 

A century ago, another pandemic ravaged the world. According to the CDC, it’s estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus over a two-year period. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. Vaccines and even antibiotics were not available then. History tells us that interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations on public gatherings were helpful but practiced inconsistently. Those interventions still apply today as we navigate through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to advancements in science, we now have vaccines that give us hope.

 

We can remember Guemes Island’s past by reading archived issues of The Evening Star and The Guemes Tide. Ten years ago, in the “Looking Back” section of the February 2011 issue of the Tide, we learned that islander R.E. Woodburn and his sister, Ruby Myrtle Woodburn Kack, “succumbed in the ravishes of Spanish Influenza” in 1920. That issue also reminded us that it “rained cats and dogs” for record-setting rainfall that January, but thanks to the raising of Edens Road by 12 inches the previous summer, the valley was still passable. That was before beavers moved into the valley. Does any of this sound familiar?

 

History reminds us that we’ve been there before and we can once again get through the difficult times.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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