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AN ARTISTIC LIFE Trading in a French horn for a paintbrush. Page 11

Special pull-out section inside

LS CEDAR GROWS Island business set to expand significantly. Page 4

BEACHCOMBER VASHON-MAURY ISLAND

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2012

Vol. 57, No. 26

See pages 13 to 20

www.vashonbeachcomber.com

An artist’s eye, a teacher’s heart

County plans to cut bus service, explore alternatives Vashon is one of three areas chosen for pilot project By NATALIE JOHNSON Staff Writer

Natalie Johnson/Staff Photos

Carolyn Buehl is hugged by fifth graders at the end of class. Below, Buehl beams after receiving a Native American blanket at her retirement party.

A beloved teacher steps down after a rich career time, while others mimicked artists the kids studied in Buehl’s As Carolyn Buehl began class, such as Georgia O’Keefe or Andy Warhol. And for some to pack up her classroom at projects, Buehl, a spunky and Chautauqua Elementary School energetic older woman, simply last week, organizing art supplies played music and asked children and wrapping delicate monkey to draw what the sounds made masks to send home with stu- them think of. dents, she pulled “If you have an out an old photo artistic she “All my life I had been lets youvision, album. Inside the pursue it album was photo one of the those kids instead of telling after photo of colon the margin, and art you what to do,” orful student art, said Cyrus Sweet, spoke to me.” many of it held by a fifth-grader. “I grinning young Carolyn Buehl, think that’s why retired art teacher kids behave better artists. “Some of the in her class.” kids in there just This year graduated from VHS,” Buehl said Chautauqua said goodbye to with a smile. Buehl, who, after more than 20 Several of the projects in years teaching art at the school the photos — animals, insects district, has become known as a and planets — complemented beloved mentor, a creative teachwhat the students were learn- er and a talented artist in her own ing in their classrooms at the right. A group hug that ener-

75¢

Some of Vashon’s lesser-used bus trips may be cancelled as soon as next year under a King County plan to replace bus service in less populated areas with more costeffective transportation such as shuttles or carpools. The plan, which identifies Vashon as one of three sites for pilot projects, was forwarded to the King County Council for approval last week. “It’s really thinking outside the box of a big bus driving down the highway delivering people where they want to go,” said Joe McDermott, who represents

Vashon on the county council. “It’s a real opportunity for Vashon to be a trailblazer in the county for how we might do this.” Tim Johnson, who chairs the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council, however, said he was troubled by the lack of public input into the formation of the plan and questioned whether it would work on the Island. “I have a hard time envisioning something that would cost less and get people where they’re going,” Johnson said. “The alternatives sound nice, but I just don’t think it’s feasible.” The plan is being driven by Metro’s ongoing financial woes. Matt Hansen, who heads the county project, said the transit agency is looking to cut its budget in anticipation of a $60 million shortfall SEE METRO, 26

Beekeepers troubled by a rash of bee deaths this spring

By NATALIE JOHNSON

By LESLIE BROWN

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

getic fifth-graders gave Buehl last week on one of the last school days epitomizes how class after class of elementary school students have grown to adore her. “She has a very fanciful, energetic and yet disciplined approach of bringing artistic expression into kids’ lives,” said Pam McMahn, who heads the Vashon Artists in the Schools Program and whose own children had Buehl as a teacher. “She’s not afraid to experiment with nontraditional ways of opening kids’ eyes to the beauty of visual art.” Gail Labinski, who used to teach art at Chautauqua as well and is now a reading specialist, SEE TEACHER, 23

Members of Vashon’s growing beekeeping community are expressing mounting concern over the state of their hives after a tough spring that saw the number of honeybees dwindle in several colonies and other hives die off completely. Emails have been flying, with some blaming pesticides for the demise of their hives. Others say a cold, wet spring and insufficient nectar sources may be behind the deaths; some bees have simply starved to death, they say. Honeybees have also been weakened over the years by a mite that bores into the insects, making them vulnerable to disease and viruses. Inexperience among a crop of new beekeepers could also be a factor, some say. Donna McDermott, a new beekeeper on Vashon, called it “a perfect storm.”

“It’s really sad,” added McDermott, who had several bees die in one of her three hives. “You come to love the girls and watch them work so hard. And then you go out one day and they’re acting funny, and the next day, they’re dead.” Bob Dixon, who’s been keeping bees for 15 years, recently lost one of his six hives — a new one that he purchased in February. He’s had bees fail to survive the winter, he said, but it’s unusual for him to lose a hive in the spring. “We don’t have the answers,” he said. “We don’t know what’s killing the bees.” As a result of the deaths, some beekeepers are calling on Vashon’s two hardware stores to stop selling certain products, particularly Sevin, a widely used insecticide that contains carbaryl, known to be fatal to bees. Concern is also growing about a family of insecticides called SEE BEES, 21


Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, June 27, 2012