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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This month the Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) wants to feature YOU, the members of the Guemes community. Your generous response to our Fall fundraising campaign has brought in $12,545 as of January 16. Without your continued support, we would not be able to maintain our facilities or to provide the services that we all enjoy.

 

Donations of money are not the only way you can support GICCA. Time is a priceless commodity and we welcome volunteers for a variety of activities and events. If you have a skill or talent that you can share with others, let us know. Can you teach a workshop, help with maintenance tasks, do light gardening chores or help write grants? GICCA needs you.

 

Please send an email to 4gicca@gmail.com and let us know how you would like to be involved. Thanks again for your support.

Guemes Island Celebrates Güemes, Spain

Guemes Island Celebrates Güemes, Spain

Many of us fondly remember a special visit to Guemes Island in April 2018 from a very special group of travelers (https://myguemes.org/2018/05/03/a-very-guemes-adventure-4/). In a recent note, Father Ernesto says, “It was an honor to visit the beautiful island of Guemes and share rich experiences with people of the island - a trip filled with unforgettable days that are remembered with great affection and gratitude.”

 

The 4 “pilgrims to America” (Ernesto, Francisco, Miguel, and Marina) from Güemes, Spain were led by Father Ernesto Bustio, who “keeps a young spirit” and still works as a priest in the town of Güemes, where he was born some 80 years ago.

 

Ernesto says, “I’ve spent all my life trying to create links between people, especially international bottom-up ties among cultures, races, beliefs, and nations.” Being actively engaged in the daily management of a pilgrim’s shelter (La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto) on the North Camino de Santiago allows Ernesto and his team of volunteers to connect with people from hundreds of countries, to create a platform for social & cultural exchange, and to share their love of humanity while embracing the richness of the diversity of all who pass through. Ernesto’s shelter has become known as one of the best on the Camino.

 

In his recent note, Ernesto shared that his pilgrim’s shelter recently celebrated a significant milestone - hosting its 100,000th pilgrim! This was a major news story in the area and included recognition by the Minister of Education and Tourism. During a ceremony to celebrate the milestone, which also included the mayor and a senator amongst other guests and neighbors, the Minister noted that Ernesto’s pilgrim’s shelter was “more than a meeting place for pilgrims; it was valued above all for its hospitality, love, and solidarity." He congratulated the “extended family” that, for 20 years, has been making its operation possible. Ernesto and his team of volunteers were given “special recognition.”

 

The honored pilgrim, 28-year-old Marianne Drews, is from a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. Drews decided to make the journey on the Camino after finishing her master's degree in Graphic Design with the intention of “taking stock of what I’ve done so far and reflecting on what I want to do in the future.” Drews says, “Every day on the road is a surprise.” She was, indeed, very surprised by all of the celebration and honor surrounding her visit to Ernesto’s shelter – perhaps the most unexpected and biggest surprise of all!

 

We celebrate you, Ernesto, and your extended family of volunteers and also the pilgrim, Marianne Drews! We wish you all continued success. May your inclusive, loving, and adventurous spirit live on!

 

A number of Guemes islanders have recently visited Ernesto's shelter in Güemes and can attest to the love and hospitality extended. To read more:

Ernesto also gifted a couple of books to the Guemes Island Library with beautiful pictures of Güemes, Spain as well as photos of some of the many places Ernesto has traveled:

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GICCA Welcomes New 2020 Board Members

GICCA Welcomes New 2020 Board Members

 

 

At the GICCA annual meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2019, the community elected 2 new Board members - Kathy Whitman (pictured here) and Mary Hale (not pictured).  Kathy and Mary join returning Board members Rob Schroder, Loalynda Bird, Carol Deach, Libby Boucher, and Barb Ohms as your 2020 GICCA Board.

 

Kathy Whitman first came to Guemes in 1973 when she and her sister purchased a tiny cabin in Holiday Hideaway. Her two kids and husband loved the shared cabin, enjoying many hours on the beach. After Kathy’s husband died, she had to develop a new plan for her life and in 2018 made the choice to make Guemes Island her full-time home. She enjoys outside activities including volunteering as a steward for the San Juan Preservation Trust at the Peach Preserve. Kathy shares her love and talent for art by hosting Guemes Casual Art groups at her home. Both of her sisters now have their own homes or cabins on the island.

 

Kathy earned two degrees from UW in Art and in Recreation plus continued education in financial management, art skills, diversity, risk management, and organization. Her background in grant award review, grant writing, fundraising, and creative marketing will be valuable assets to the GICCA Board and our future work for the Guemes community.

 

Mary Hale and her husband Jeff are life-long Washingtonians who moved to Guemes Island in 2017 after raising their two children and retiring. Drawn to Guemes’ beauty and sense of community, they readily embraced island life as full-time residents. Besides giving back to the community, Mary hopes to share her experience from having worked 28 years at the University of Washington. Her work there involved, among other things, administering multiple budgets, coordinating numerous events, and authoring a  web site. Mary says she especially enjoyed the challenge of crunching numbers, staying organized, and paying close attention to details.

 

Mary views the Community Center as a positive gathering place for recreational, educational, and social activities—all of which foster a sense of belonging here—and, to that end, she sees the GICCA Board member’s role as striving to be a good steward of this valuable asset.

 

When Mary isn’t on a walkabout in nature, she enjoys volunteering at the Library, attending Historical Society events, supporting the Skagit Land Trust, and being involved in fun activities such as the Dog Island Dog Show, Luminary Parade, and Fourth of July Parade.

 

We welcome Kathy and Mary as the newest members of the 2020 GICCA Board.

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Guemes Land & Sea Stewards

Guemes Land & Sea Stewards

Place is powerful and can transform humanity as much as humanity has the power to transform place. A sense of place allows us to be grounded in something larger than ourselves; something real that provides context and meaning in our lives.

 

This month we celebrate the “human-place connection,” specifically, the devotion to place demonstrated by the land and sea stewards on Guemes Island. These dedicated volunteers work tirelessly and commit countless hours to help maintain and protect the environment around us to ensure we can all continue to enjoy and take pride in this place we call home.

 

Our fast-paced, consumer-based, productivity-oriented culture can foster a disconnect from nature and from people/community. Our personal well-being is strengthened when we allow ourselves to slow down and connect with nature and those around us. Being purposeful about investing in and caring for the environment is an aspect of investing in and caring for people, as well as place. A uniquely purposeful investment is to become part of a stewardship program.

 

“To steward” is to care for, protect, and guide. Several local organizations offer stewardship opportunities. Their missions vary but a common theme is to connect people to nature and to each other in order to protect and preserve our environment. The following is a list of Guemes Islanders currently aligned with stewardship programs, either formally or informally.

 

Skagit Land Trust (Guemes properties: Anderson property, Kelly’s Point, Guemes Mountain & Valley)

- see also last month’s Featured Neighbor article

Volunteers listed below live on Guemes unless noted otherwise

  • Ian Woofenden
  • John Strathman
  • Tony Allison
  • Karen Lamphere
  • Tim Alaniz
  • Ralph Mendershausen
  • Dave Rogers
  • Phil Fenner
  • Ed Gastellum - Anacortes
  • Elaina Thompson – Vendovi Island
  • Thyatira Thompson – Vendovi Island

 

San Juan Preservation Trust (Guemes properties: Peach Preserve, Guemes Mountain)

  • Randy and Barbara Schnabel
  • Kathy Whitman

 

Skagit Marine Resources (Salish Sea Stewards)

  • Phyllis Bravinder
  • Darla Gay Smith
  • Anne Casperson
  • Dixon Elder

 

We can all be stewards by respecting the integrity of nature and doing our part to care for the environment. Respecting and caring for our natural world ultimately serves to strengthen all elements of society. When humanity assimilates this perspective and lives accordingly, both place and people (and all living things) will thrive at their highest potential.

 

 

“The greatest threat to our environment is the belief that someone else will take care of it.” – Unknown

A HUGE thank-you to the Guemes Island stewards (past, present, formal and informal) who demonstrate their devotion to place, providing an example of how we can all help the environment (and each other) thrive!

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