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.

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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GICCA Stage Project Update, Nov ’19

GICCA Stage Project Update, Nov '19


Plunge cutting in progress


Community members show their support as the crew positions the "showcase" log


Beautiful "showcase" log in place



As you drive past Schoolhouse Park at Edens Road and Guemes Island Road you can see the latest progress at the GICCA Stage. The "showcase" log, donated by Lorrie Steele, is now in place atop the two front vertical logs, donated by Yadi Young. This large arch frames the beautifully crafted back milled beam that is made from timber from Darrington, WA.

Under Jep Burdock's direction, and with our engineer's stamp of approval, our crew is using classic timber frame connections that will replace some planned custom metal brackets. The money saved will be significant. However, we have faced some unplanned expenses as we had to contract with a certified crane and operator to place the showcase log. Most of the remaining overhead work may now need to be done with a certified crane as well. L & I Assessment Report

When the weather permits, our hardy crew is continuing to work on the wing walls, eight perimeter upright columns, and the electrical, sound, and lighting plans.

Gerry Bosworth has joined the work crew bringing his professional skills as a licensed electrician. Rick Norrie, Tom Fouts, John Strathman, and Jep Burdock round out the crew. Libby Boucher and Barb Ohms have made some headway on peeling the purlin logs. More help is needed for this work. If individuals are interested in volunteering they may contact Rick Norrie, Project Manager or Barb Ohms, GICCA President for the work schedule.

Thanks to the many community members who were present at the "log raising" on Nov 13. Our crew appreciated both observers and cheerleaders. The original concept is now taking shape and it is becoming easier to visualize future community celebrations taking place on the GICCA Stage at Schoolhouse Park. The community's continued moral and financial support is making this possible.

GICCA Stage Project Update, Oct ’19

GICCA Stage Project Update, Oct '19

Drilling holes in back beam, Back beam in place, Finding the balance point

 

The seven 33 ft long logs that will be used for the purlins (front to back roof supports) are now at the site and in the process of being peeled and dressed. These logs replaced others that were unusable. Transporting these logs from Conway to Guemes was a community effort with many thanks to Bob Porter for his help.

 

Through Jep Burdock’s friendship with Dan Rankin, the mayor of Darrington, WA, we acquired two massive milled beams to be used for the back horizontal support beam. These also replaced a log at the site that was unusable. These milled beams were cut from a tree on Dan Rankin’s mother’s property in Darrington. She was a community activist and Dan was proud to see this wood go to a worthwhile community project.

 

Sandy and Kathy McKean donated additional logs for the eight perimeter vertical columns and for the two middle columns in the back. We replaced the latter with straighter logs that better accommodated the overhead beam. These logs are also being peeled and dressed.

 

Under Jep’s direction using his timber framing skills, Tom Fouts, Rick Norrie, and John Strathman assembled the Darrington beams according to the plan specifications. Forks were cut in the tops of the four back vertical columns. It took some “delicate” chainsaw work and Tom’s skilled maneuvering with the boom truck, but the back beam is now in place.

 

The next steps include fitting the front horizontal “showcase” log for placement on the two front vertical columns and construction of the wing walls that will enclose three sides of the stage performance area.

 

Many thanks to our dedicated core team who have given countless hours of their time and donated equipment, fuel, and ferry fees. Their wives also deserve a huge thank you as this project has taken Tom, Rick, and John away from many projects at home.

Directory Update Reminder

Directory Update Reminder

The directory on this website is used to create the printed phone books that so many of us depend on for reaching out to our fellow islanders. We'd like to remind islanders to please take a look to ensure that your directory listings are accurate. If you're not listed in the directory and would like your residential and/or business listing(s) to be included, now's the time to add them. The phone books will be updated with new and modified listings in the next printing cycle.

 

If you have any questions or would like assistance with your directory updates feel free to contact us. Thank you on behalf of GICCA and your fellow islanders.

Fiesta de los Amigos Fundraising Dinner, Nov 9

Fiesta de los Amigos Fundraising Dinner, Nov 9

GIST (Guemes Immigrant Support Team) is a group of Guemes volunteers that formed around the idea of continuing island support for immigrants in our area. GIST has joined with the Guemes Church for a fundraising dinner, FIESTA DE LOS AMIGOS, with the goal of raising $2000. Proceeds will be divided between four existing organizations actively assisting immigrants in Skagit County. We hope to give each of these remarkable tax-deductible groups $500. All four can be easily found online.

 

• Red Group. The first $500 would go to this student outreach and support group under the umbrella of Skagit Valley College. Some, but not all, of the young people involved are DACA. Red Group also sponsors a Community Information Fair, The iDream Conference.

• IRIS (Immigrant Resources & Immediate Support) supports 2 to 5 immigrant families at a time with very basic needs that include school costs. IRIS is all volunteer with no overhead costs. Some of their families seek asylum, some are homeless, some are single parents, and all are in great need.

• SIRC (Skagit Immigrant Rights Council) provides basic legal information to immigrants. Donations to SIRC go to student scholarships and low-cost loans to immigrants seeking citizenship. These loans reduce the financial hardship of the application fees, which can be considerable. SIRC is all volunteer with no overhead costs.

• Tri-Parish Food Bank is located near St Charles Catholic Church in Mount Vernon and has a large and varied immigrant clientele. It is not a recipient of the successful local “Red Bag” program. Tri-Parish buys appropriately and in bulk, has a communal garden, and benefits from a very dedicated long-term staff. They serve all comers. Tri-Parish’s overhead costs are estimated at 20%.

 

On the evening of Nov. 9, there will be a brief informational program of personal stories provided by two remarkable young immigrant (Mixtec) women, Guillermina Bazante and Marta Martinez Olivera. There will be time for questions. These two women do not represent any of the four groups above but, as community activists, they seek to better the conditions for all local immigrants.

 

Sock drive for fieldworkers who badly need good, new wool socks (Merino/Smartwool/Wigwam at Amazon or REI), size 9-11.  Please bring what you can.

 

$5 tickets for a $100 Gift Certificate to COA Mexican Eatery.

 

Cash donations will be accepted at the door or with a check made out to the Guemes Island Community Church with “Immigrant Support” written on the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible. You do not have to attend to donate. Checks may also be mailed to The Guemes Island Community Church, 7611 Guemes Island Rd, Anacortes, WA 98221.

 

For more info contact, Infoimmigrantralph@gmail.com

Guemes Community Day Summary by Regina Wandler, Skagit Land Trust Stewardship Manager

Guemes Community Day Summary by Regina Wandler, Skagit Land Trust Stewardship Manager

Thank you to all who participated in Skagit Land Trust’s Guemes Community Day on Saturday, 10/12!

 

We are happy to talk to community members interested in supporting Trust activities on Guemes. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with stewardship of our conservation areas, or in serving on a Guemes Community Group to help organize events and facilitate Skagit Land Trust’s continuing work on Guemes Island. If you are interested in helping out, please email us at info@skagitlandtrust.org – we’d love to hear from you!

 

I had a lot of fun at our work party (focused on pulling invasive Etruscan honeysuckle) and heard that folks enjoyed the walks along the shoreline at Kelly’s Point and up to the top of Guemes Mountain.

 

At the community meeting, we gave a quick overview of the new Kelly’s Point Management Plan and of the updated Guemes Mountain and Valley Management Plan. The Trust prioritizes the protection of important conservation values on those properties. We protect a wide array of ecosystems across both properties, including maturing forest, freshwater wetlands, and marine shoreline, as well as the beautiful and diverse balds on top of Guemes Mountain. We noted the importance of preserving vital ecological processes like aquifer recharge and feeder bluff functioning. We will continue to develop public access in ways that protect the conservation values present on both properties. We also look forward to supporting sustainable agricultural use of Guemes Valley into the future.

 

We also discussed some issues of concern to the larger Guemes community. We know that community access up Muriel Lane was a hot topic earlier this year. After the issue was flagged for us, we looked through legal surveys and access records for the area and did not find any information that guaranteed public access up Square Harbor or Muriel Lanes, which are both private roads. While this is disappointing for some community members, the Trust is very happy that the trail ensures that the mountaintop remains accessible. The flooding on Edens Road also caused a hubbub. Flooding may have been caused by beaver dams that are located on several private properties. As far as we know, none of the dams are on Trust owned property. Skagit County has been working on identifying a long term solution for this issue, and we are supporting them as opportunities arise.

 

At Kelly’s Point, we are working through the County permitting process to fill the potholes, expand parking, and install signage and a bike rack. We have heard concerns from several community members about the risk associated with hiking along the bottom of Yellow Bluff. To warn visitors, we have currently posted a simple sign at the stairway to the beach informing visitors of the potential for bluff slumping, and we plan on including more information about risks posed by the bluff on permanent signage that will be installed near the parking area.

 

Last but not least, we let those at the meeting know that we still need your help! We are happy to talk to community members interested in supporting Trust activities on Guemes. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with stewardship of our conservation areas, or in serving on a Guemes Community Group to help organize events and facilitate Skagit Land Trust’s continuing work on Guemes Island. If you are interested in helping out, please email us at info@skagitlandtrust.org – we’d love to hear from you!

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Guemes Neighborhood Farm Stands

Guemes Neighborhood Farm Stands

Got Greens?

 

Guemes Island is home to many talented home gardeners. A few go beyond the small patch of herbs and lettuce and grow abundant vegetables, flowers and fruit that they sell from roadside stands around the island. Check out the offerings at these stands. It’s best to get there early in the day while supplies last. Payments are on the honor system.

 

Cedar Petrick, 5253 South Shore Drive, is open weekends throughout the summer offering a variety of vegetables and flowers. Chicken and duck eggs are also available.

 

Chris Damarjian (pictured on the left above), 7001 Guemes Island Road, stocks her stand on Friday mornings with organic vegetables and fruit. She often sells out by the end of the day. Check back over the weekend for late additions and flower bouquets. Also, handmade beeswax food wraps.

 

Tom Deach’s Garden on Edens (pictured on the right above), 4623 Edens Road, sells vegetables and flowers and stocks the farm cart by the road during the week as things are harvested. The proceeds benefit Carol Deach’s Jamaican children’s education program.

 

If you need fresh homegrown eggs, you need only drive the “egg route” around the island until you find an egg stand that still has a dozen for sale. Mimnaugh’s on Paradise Lane, Davelaar’s and Petrick’s on South Shore Drive west of the Store, (if the sign is out) Horneman’s on Edens Road east of Deach’s farm stand, the farmhouse on Eden’s Road at Section Ave, or Stamper’s north on Section Ave.

 

A Guemes frittata of just picked greens and fresh eggs can be on your menu if you hit the stands early. If you miss out, the Anacortes Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday morning until October 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Depot at 7th and R Streets in Anacortes.

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