NEWS | VAA arts center project clears a hurdle.  COMMUNITY | Sheriff to visit Vashon, talk crime.  ARTS | ‘Kindie rock’ group brings family fun. 
BEACHCOMBER VASHON-MAURY ISLAND
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2013 Vol. 58, No. 03
State agency questions nonprofit’s use of Mukai farmhouse
What makes a community? The people.
See pages 12-17 for our annual ‘who’s who’ listing.
NEW HIGH SCHOOL BEGINS TO TAKE SHAPE
“The high numbers concern me, but I’m not at the point where I think we need to address it. I want to look at mid-period 2013, to see if the trend is continuing,” said VIFR Chief Hank Lipe. After experiencing a slight dip in call volume in 2011 — something Lipe called an anomaly — VIFR responded to 1,485 fire and medical calls in 2012, an increase of more than 200 calls over the year before. It was the agencies’ second busiest year on record; in 2006, an unusually high number of fires contributed to a total of 1,516 calls.
Tomorrow evening an internationally known technology expert will visit Vashon to give a talk on preparing students for the job market of the future. School officials hope the lecture by Mark Anderson, a consultant who has become known for predicting trends in technology and the economy, will get islanders thinking not only about what skills students will need to succeed in a changing world, but about how the Vashon School District might grow to better meet students’ needs. The event, slated for 7 p.m. tomorrow at McMurray Middle School, will kick off what Superintendent Michael Soltman hopes will be a community-wide conversation culminating in a new strategic plan for the school district. “This conversation is a catalyst to a discussion that will go beyond technology,” Soltman said. “What do we need to do to be as successful as we can for student achievement?” Soltman, who joined the Vashon School District in 2009, said he believes Vashon’s schools have made great strides in the past several years. The district has met or is well on its way to meeting goals outlined in its 2007 strategic plan, including improving and aligning curriculum, boosting professional development for faculty and making capital upgrades to the campus. The district’s finances are in better order today, Soltman said, and the community has stepped up to subsidize school programs where state funding has fallen short.
SEE VIFR, 21
SEE SCHOOL DISTRICT, 22
SEE MUKAI, 24
VISD says it’s time to plan for an education of the future By NATALIE JOHNSON
By LESLIE BROWN
A state agency has found evidence that the Mukai Farmhouse is being used as an occasional private residence, a possible violation of a state grant the nonprofit received to purchase the historic site more than a decade ago. The top two officials in the Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation inspected the site last month. During the visit, Mukai group they also saw changes little indicadirection as tion that Island it plans for Landmarks, the the future. nonprofit organiSee story, zation that owns page 24 the farmhouse, had accomplished any historic preservation work over the past 12 years or had offered the public regular access to the site. In a strongly worded, three-page letter to Mary Matthews, president of Island Landmarks, Allyson Brooks, the state preservation officer and head of the historic preservation agency, voiced concern about the status of the house and Island Landmarks’ apparent failure to live up to the terms of the state grant. “The State of Washington is considering its legal options to prevent further personal use of the property and further deterioration of the historic character,” Brooks wrote. She called on Matthews to “cease and desist from any further personal use of the historic resource and remove all modern items impairing the historic character of the home.” But Matthews, in an emailed response to Brooks’ letter, took umbrage at the allegations.
Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo
One year from now, Vashon High School students will return from winter break to attend classes in a new building. But upon returning from this winter break, they got a glimpse of what that building is beginning to look like. Until now, construction crews have been doing less visible work on the high school building, installing underground utilities such as electricity, water and sewer, and pouring the school’s foundation. But recently students and staff noticed that the building has “gone vertical,” said the school district’s capital projects manager Eric Gill, as steel framing has begun for what will be the auditorium wing (seen at top of photo). Framing for the rest of the two-story structure will soon follow. Gill said the project is on schedule and progressing well. “It’s starting to look like a building,” he said. Gill noted that the concrete that can be seen now will in most places be the actual floor of the building. The district chose concrete flooring, he said, because it’s durable, low-maintenance and will look great once a finish is applied. “It will be beautiful,” he said. “It will look good and fit with the character of the school.”
Fire department faces more calls, more off-island transports than in years past By NATALIE JOHNSON Staff Writer
Vashon’s fire department faced a record number of medical-related calls last year and transported more people than ever to hospitals on the mainland, according to recently released statistics. Officials with Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) say responders were able to handle the record number of emergencies, but they’re keeping a careful eye on the call volume, suspecting that an aging population on Vashon may mean more calls become the new normal.