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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Flamingo Phil Says

Flamingo Phil Says ...

To succeed in life you need three things, a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.

GICCA Stage Project Update, Jan ’20

GICCA Stage Project Update, Jan '20

 

Work is progressing at the stage, although safety concerns prohibit the crew from working in wet and slippery conditions. The final perimeter vertical logs are now in place on the east side of the foundation. Three remaining vertical logs are stripped, dressed, and ready for placement on the west side after the roof purlins are raised. The crew is working on stripping the seven 33 foot long purlin logs. When the weather permits and the logs are ready, they will be raised atop the main vertical logs and work can begin on the support structure for the roof.

Thanks to Gerry Bosworth for helping to develop an electrical plan and completing the preliminary rough-in for receptacles. Rick Norrie, Tom Fouts, John Strathman, and Jep Burdock round out the crew as we move gradually along toward completion of this long-awaited project.

Thank you to the many community members who donated to the Stage Project and other GICCA funds during our recent fundraising campaign.

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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