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ART IN THE CLASSROOM Harbor School sports a new space, new program. Page 11

NEWS | Family loses to park district again in court. [5] COMMUNITY | Bus drivers end dispute with employer. [4] BUSINESS | The Country Store gets a facelift. [19]

PIRATES PLAY Girls soccer team undefeated so far. Page 14


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2013 Vol. 58, No. 39


Vashon to get new ferry, new schedule Some are concerned about the state’s plan By NATALIE JOHNSON Staff Writer

A state plan to change the northend ferry schedule for the first time in 10 years is already raising concerns on Vashon. Washington State Ferries recently announced plans to add a larger ferry to the north-end triangle route next fall and at the same time eliminate some runs throughout the day, allowing for more time between sailings. The new boat configuration and sailing schedule, officials

say, will allow the ferries to carry the same number of cars throughout the day while more easily keeping to the schedule on a route that has become known for frequently falling behind. The state will hold a community meeting on the island next month to explain the coming changes and gather feedback and will likely present a draft schedule for public comment late this year or in early 2014. “We want a schedule that is resilient, reliable and realistic, whereas right now it is really fragile. ... Somethign needs to be done,” said Benjamin Smith, WSF’s service planning manager who has spent

months working on the state plan. Vashon’s ferry service advocates, however, say they believe a new schedule could cause longer lines at the docks and longer waits for commuters. “With this schedule proposal, ontime performance might be better, but it will be at the expense of it taking longer for people to make their commutes,” said Jan Stephens, a former member of Vashon’s Ferry Advisory Committee (FAC). Stephens was appointed by the state to a committee to provide feedback on the plan earlier this year. SEE FERRIES, 13

Photo Courtesy WSDOT

The Cathlamet, a sister ship of the Issaquah that currently sails on another route, will be reassigned to Vashon next year.

Volunteers prepare to help navigate health care reform Group will assist those affected, hold a community forum By SUSAN RIEMER Staff Writer

FAMILY FUN TO KICK OFF A ‘KNIGHT’ OF ART On Saturday an empty lot across the street from the Blue Heron will transform into a Renaissance scene complete with jugglers, musicians, artisans and costumed characters. Kicking off the second day of Vashon Allied Arts’ annual art auction — the year themed “A Knight With the Arts” — the free and family-friendly Renaissance Faire will offer crafts, activities and entertainment for all ages. And organizer Nancy Sipple is praying for clear skies. “It just can’t rain,” Sipple said with a smile last week as she worked to paint a life-size knight cutout with a hole where visitors can put their own faces for photos this weekend. She and other volunteers have been working in earnest to complete elaborate decorations and period costumes for the fair, the first-ever children’s event to accompany VAA’s popular two-day auction. Sipple, the auction’s co-chair, noted that about half the funds raised at the VAA auction go to support scholarships for children, yet activities kids them have been noticeably absent from the annual festivities. “It’s time we start bringing some younger families to the Blue Heron because in a few years they will be the people supporting it,” she said. The Renaissance Faire will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more on the auction, see page 11. Photo and story by Natalie Johnson

With the biggest change of federal health care reform slated to begin next week, more than 30 islanders are learning to assist Vashon residents with the new health insurance enrollment process. As part of a King County effort to enroll 180,000 people in the health insurance program created through the Affordable Care Act, 32 island volunteers recently participated in an all-day training session, led by Public Health - Seattle & King County. In the coming weeks, the volunteers, called “in-person assisters,” will host an informational forum, provide education and outreach, enroll Vashon residents in new plans and help them determine if they are eligible for tax credits or subsidies to help lower the cost of their coverage. County representatives will also host enrollment sessions on Vashon in the coming months. Some of Vashon’s volunteers will attend these events and observe

as part of their learning process, said islander Hilary Emmer, the main organizer behind the volunteer effort. Once they have passed a test and a background check, signed a confidentiality agreement and are fully qualified, the “assisters” will host events of their own to reach as many people as possible. “Our goal is to sign up 1,000 people,” Emmer said. The volunteer assistants — some of whom represent island agencies and groups — are passionate about seeing people become insured and have access to health care, Emmer said. One of the first public events, slated for Oct. 8, will feature Callista Kennedy of Public Health - Seattle & King County. Kennedy will discuss the importance of enrolling in an insurance plan through Washington’s new health care exchange. She will also field audience questions. “Everyone has questions,” Emmer added. Later that week, assisters will be at the fire department’s open house, helping people enroll on Oct. 12. As the process gets closer, Emmer and Kathleen Davis, who is a retired physician and involved SEE HEALTH CARE, 18

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, September 25, 2013  

September 25, 2013 edition of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, September 25, 2013  

September 25, 2013 edition of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber