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Irk Day

Island Life

As anyone reading this column should know by now, I have come to dread the second and fourth Tuesday of any given month. If you regularly read and nod and plod and groan through the seemingly never ending litany of articles posted in this space, which some might call the Vashon Park District Chronicles, while others may perhaps more correctly designate the entire mess as “just more VPD crap”, you will be more than self-aware that I am leading in here once again to another of my recountings of the latest edition of the most recently passed VPD Commissioner’s Clown College Revue and Jamboree. I know, too, that I can say just about anything I want regarding this special event, as almost no one shows up to observe the festivities and check on the veracity of what I write in this regard.

On the other hand, the grand folks over at the Voice of Vashon have agreed to post the recordings I make of each, entire biweekly clown show on their on demand page of the VOV website so you can see for yourself that I’m not making any of this stuff up. Of course, if you prefer you can endure the nonsense in the privacy of your own home and within a safe walking distance of your bar fridge or liquor cabinet, not to mention being within reach of the pause, fast forward or mute button. Another possibility is that if you have an old computer screen that you’d like to send off with a brick or a sledge hammer or semi-restricted explosive device while watching something really annoying, here’s your chance. Actually, you might consider watching these meetings on an older, non-essential monitor anyway, as you might at any moment during the viewing find a shoe or half empty pint glass launched toward the offending target without any chance of recall. Be forewarned.

In truth, it is not all screeching cats and finger nails on the chalk board at any given VPD board meeting There are of course CC Stone’s dessert snack samplers of both gluten and non-gluten sugary goodness that keep one and all fueled for the duration. And at this latest meeting before the opening gavel fell, I had a brief conversation with VPD executive director Elaine Ott about her wanting to show what goes on at the Park District in a more favorable light. I agreed to sit down with her in the not too distant future to discuss and then write about the good stuff at parks, so don’t dial out on this one just yet. An example of a good thing was fairly quickly forthcoming at last night’s meeting when Ms. Ott reported on the progress being made on resolving the current pool dilemma. For those unaware, the recent renovation of the High School found the pool’s shared connection with the old septic and drain field severed, with only the pool sewage line being reconnected, while the pipe carrying pool backwash water was left capped due to new regulations regarding septic systems and highly chlorinated water. Pumping and hauling the water from the backwash tanks was explored and found to be cost prohibitive. As it is, a new separate leach field for this water is being built to accommodate the outflow, but the pool will open two weeks later than planned, which of course is way better than not opening at all.

Another bit of light in the VPD darkness was CC Stone’s report on her efforts to connect the Park District with the Salmon Safe group ( out of Portland, as a few Island farmers have already begun participation in a program that reduces the pollution of our Island waters with fertilizer, pesticides and animal waste. Even though this presentation was more than appropriate for Earth Day, it was also quite relevant to the current situation with the new VES fields project, and the higher demands required by sand based playfields for much more irrigation and fertilizers, which then can potentially be leached and washed into island streams and aquifers. It has also recently come to light that former parks manager Jan Milligan had prepared an extensive report on the problems and demands of a sand based field system, a report that was apparently ignored by the board in accepting this form of field construction. Commissioner Ameling’s  surprise at maintenance supervisor Jason Acosta’s recent presentation about the increased costs surrounding all aspects of maintaining the VES fields seems disingenuous at best in light of the existence of this report.

For those who are looking for drama in streaming videoland, one can skip over almost the entire first two hours of the park board recording on the VOV site to about the one hour and fifty nine minute mark. It is there where you can join in on the discussion of maintenance at the Pt. Robinson light house already in progress. Over the past year and a half, I and other meeting attendees have been a witness to the ongoing battle between Capt. Joe Wubbold and Mr. Ameling over the need for painting the roofs of the lighthouse and the crews quarters which are now the lodging rental buildings. This has been messy and unnecessary and primarily driven by the funneling of all available monetary resources into finishing the massively over budget VES fields project. Just about three or four minutes after the point where this current discussion gets overheated, you can witness the mass exodus (as much of a mass as the sparse attendance allowed) of those who had had enough of Mr. Ameling’s obfuscation, redefinition and splitting of hairs regarding this matter. At this point, in spite of Steve Sussman’s calm and logical reasoning regarding what some might call the red roof dilemma, you might be fed up with the blither almost as much as we all were. Since you are already on your computer, you can just sit back, have a long or short draw on your beverage of choice and mosey on over to the Vimeo video site where I have posted a collaboration with Island musical bard John Browne in a reworking of the country/western classic, retitled here as “Ghost Park Board in the Sky”. You can find the link here, pardner: . Happy trails!