GICCA Welcomes Two New Board Members

GICCA Welcomes Two New Board Members

The Guemes community turned out during the month of November to vote in members for the 2022 GICCA Board of Directors. Two new members, Nancy Fisher-Allison (left) and Darlene Klister (right) were elected to the seven-member Board.

 

Nancy Fisher-Allison was raised to lead a life of service. Throughout both her private and professional lives, she has found ways to give back to the communities where she has lived. Nancy is a former public-school librarian with interests that include history, the arts, and the natural world. Using her experience as an educator, Nancy hopes to establish an adult education series aligned with the wide-ranging interests of Guemes islanders.

 

Darlene Klister is known to many for her unique jewelry creations and the art classes that she teaches from her island studio, Firelight Designs. Her creative path has led her from painting in different mediums to silver and coppersmithing. Darlene's professional career included over 30 years as a paralegal. Her intention is to bring a balanced business and creative perspective to her work with the GICCA Board.

 

The three incumbents, Libby Boucher, Tom Sternberg, and Barb Ohms were reelected. Two returning Board members, Kathy Whitman and Mary Hale each have one year remaining on their terms.

 

Your 2022 Community Center Board looks forward to a productive and creative year ahead.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Guemes Connects Needs You

Neighbors Helping Neighbors – Guemes Connects Needs You

A "community" is defined as a group of people living in the same place. There is also a more internal definition. A community is a group of people that takes care of each other. As Guemes Islanders, we are geographically connected but when we feel we are part of something bigger than ourselves, we truly function as a community.

 

For many years, Guemes Connects has brought neighbors together to help neighbors. Their mission is to foster a network of support for the Guemes Island community. This group of dedicated volunteers is committed to meeting the needs of anyone requesting assistance, regardless of age, illness, disability, race, or religion. Now Connects needs new volunteers as several of the founders are retiring.

 

The group's goal is to provide on-island skilled, compassionate assistance in the following areas:

  • Emergency Meals
  • Respite care (temporary relief for caregivers)
  • Transportation to medical appointments (not available during COVID)
  • Home Maintenance (helping needy island residents with uncomplicated maintenance tasks)
  • Housing (availability information)
  • Medical equipment (free wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, bedside commodes, grab bars, etc.)

 

Guemes Connects also sponsors the popular Gathering Lunch (not available during COVID) and Soup-to-Go (a COVID safe alternative). These weekly lunch programs are open to everyone. Meals are served on Thursdays from 11:30 to 12:15 from November to April at the Guemes Community Church. A suggested donation of $5.00 helps to fund the program.

 

When the in-person Gathering Lunch is possible, free blood pressure testing is available from 11:15 to 12:30. The "Gathering" began as an opportunity to visit with neighbors, meet new friends, and enjoy a home-style hot lunch cooked in the Church commercial kitchen by island volunteers.

 

Soup-to-Go provides the same home-style soup lunch, bread, and a cookie as a COVID-safe alternative. Drive through at the front of the Church from 11:30 to 12:15, beginning on Nov 4. No lunch i served on Thanksgiving, Nov 25.

 

Following is the current contact list of the coordinators for the areas Connects serves.

Meals Lorraine Francis 360-293-8364 (H)
Respite Care Juby Fouts 360-293-2704 (H)
Transportation Open
Home Maintenance Bill Clark 360-299-3230 (H)
Housing Ron Knowles 360-588-9922 (C)
Medical Equipment Juby Fouts 360-293-2704 (H)
Barb Ohms 360-298-1885 (H) 303-521-9094 (C)
Gathering Lunch/Soup-to-Go Beverly James 206-660-1447 (C)
Sharon Hughlitt 360-588-0179 (C)

Contact Lorraine or Juby with questions or if a specific coordinator cannot be reached, OR if you wish to volunteer! Guemes Connects needs YOU to help keep these valuable services going.

 

"Do more than belong: participate."
"Do more than care: help."
"Do more than dream: work."
Words of wisdom from William Arthur Ward

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.

Adam Mimnaugh, What It Means to Be an Islander

Adam Mimnaugh, What It Means to Be an Islander

After years of discussion, many options considered, an architect consulted, bids entertained, grants denied, budgets constrained, and many heads scratched, the Guemes Island Community Center Hall finally has a new front porch and walkway. Wheelchairs and food carts can now reach the front door unimpeded by stairs or detours onto gravel. Only two steps now lead onto the deck to reach the Guemes Library. Soon the walkway near the Church will also be repaired providing a smooth interconnection between facilities.

 

The community is grateful to islander Adam Mimnaugh, Mimnaugh Excavation, and his crew for a job well done. Thanks to workers Dan Raynor, Adam Pahnke, Chris LeBoutillier, and Max Boucher. Several other volunteers also lent their expertise to the project and wish to remain unacknowledged. Mimnaugh is donating the labor costs with the Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) covering the cost of materials. Retired builder and resident, Bill Heft, worked with Adam to develop the plan and elevations. Bill was part of the crew that leveled and finished just over 10 yards of concrete.

Mimnaugh Excavation has been serving the Guemes Island community since 2003. Adam offers professional service for Guemes Island residents that includes general excavation, septic system installation and inspections, utilities, road building, and more. Adam and most of his employees live and work right here on Guemes Island. With their equipment here on the island, Adam has the ability to get whatever is needed to a job site minimizing delays and commute costs.

 

“Being an islander” means sharing your success and giving back to the community. Over the years Adam has employed many islanders and has donated equipment time, labor, and materials to a number of island community projects including the Stage Project at Schoolhouse Park, Kelly’s Point, and now the welcoming new entrance to our 107-year-old Community Center Hall.

 

The GICCA Board and the Guemes community wish to thank Adam and his crew and all the volunteers!

David and Paul on the beautiful bench made for the Dog Woods entry meadow by John Hoenselaar

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer

Photo and narrative provided by David Wertheimer

 

Paul Beaudet and David Wertheimer have been island residents since 1998 when they visited Guemes after reading Valerie Easton's article "The Secret Gardens of Guemes" in the Seattle Times. Paul and David purchased a home at Kelly's Point where they spent nearly every weekend since, commuting back to Seattle for work on weekdays.  With David's retirement in 2019 and a shift to remote work during the pandemic, they now consider Guemes their permanent year-round home.

 

Paul is the Executive Director of the Wilburforce Foundation, which works to protect and preserve North American wildlands.  David retired after 13 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he served in various roles on the Pacific Northwest team and as Director of Community & Civic Engagement.  Both have been actively involved in island organizations over the years.  Paul served on the Community Center board for 7 years, David served on the board of Friends of Guemes Island, is an occasional speaker at the Guemes Island Church, and both have been involved in various land conservation campaigns, including the efforts to save Guemes Mountain and to permanently protect Kelly's Point.  David has also stepped in to serve as a Commissioner for the Guemes Island Fire Department after the tragic and untimely death of Frank Crawford.

 

A few notes on Dog Woods:  After years of walking past the wooded parcels on West Shore Road on a regular basis, Paul and David decided in 2020 to acquire 120 acres of woodlands, portions of which had, in the past, been heavily logged.  The land is designated as forest land.  They call the property "Dog Woods," both to honor the Samish history of the island as a place where this First Nation community raised their unique Woolly Dogs, and to celebrate the dogs that populate and enjoy the island today.  Paul and David are working with local naturalists Peter Dunwiddie and Samantha ("Sam") Martin to learn more about the unique features of the Dog Woods environment, and to determine the best ways to nurture the forest lands and restore its full health. Their primary goals in the years ahead are to remove invasive weeds, restore and enhance the native plants, and maintain a trail network to welcome community access.  In time, they plan to donate the land to Skagit Land Trust.  (For additional information, see:  https://guemesisland.info/dog-woods-trail/)

 

David and Paul planting paper birches at Dog Woods, a restoration forest (ARF!)

Photo Credit: Mary Lascelles

 

Dog Woods is truly becoming a community effort.  There are numerous community members involved with Dog Woods that we'd like to acknowledge.  These individuals include, (in no specific order):

  • Jimmie and Lu Lemieux (who are building the Dog Woods trail network)
  • Rick Petrick
  • John Hoenselaar
  • Sam Barr and Eric Licata
  • Manuel, Lynette, Ioanna, Elia and Aiden Mattke
  • Jim, Joanne and Lisa Cieko
  • Dyvon Havens and Jep Burdock
  • Rebecca and Bud Ullman
  • Terri and Joe Gaffney
  • Barbara and Randy Schnabel
  • Jeff Hale and Mary Parker-Hale
  • Robert Olson
  • Marc Beaudet

John Strathman, Adventure During A Pandemic

John Strathman, Adventure During A Pandemic

John Strathman is no stranger to memorable moments on the water. He’s been kayaking in the Pacific Northwest for years. Since moving to Guemes Island in 2014, John has kayaked in the 2015 inaugural  R2AK “Race to Alaska” (Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK), rowed in two “SEVENTY48s,” (Tacoma to Port Townsend), and completed a solo kayak adventure from Ketchikan to Guemes. His most recent leisurely trip around the San Juans with his friend, Tim, was memorable in its own way.

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NOTE: The stalwart Odyssey has been repaired “good as new” and is safely tucked away, awaiting next year’s “moments.”

Tom Sternberg, GICCA Board Member

Tom Sternberg, GICCA Board Member

The GICCA Board welcomes its newest Board member, Tom Sternberg, who was recently appointed to fill the vacant Trustee position. Like many of us, Tom and his partner Virginia’s visits to Guemes grew into a desire for a peaceful, rural place to make their full-time home. The pandemic changed their work situations and working from home became the required option. A small tight-knit rural community with an active community center was just the place they were looking for.

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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.

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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.

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