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SANTA LANDS ON VASHON The holiday tradition comes to life again. Page 14

TAKING FLIGHT Acrobatic Conundrum tells a heart-stopping story. Page 13

NEWS | Change expected at island convenience store. [4] COMMENTARY | Rising to the challenge at K2. [6] SPORTS | Basketball and wrestling kick off the season. [15]


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013 Vol. 58, No. 50



Group addressing teen substance use continues struggle with VYFS By NATALIE MARTIN Staff Writer

The volunteer group working to tackle teen substance abuse on Vashon is again in conflict with Vashon Youth & Family Services, and this time the dispute is leading some to worry that the VYFS PlaySpace is at risk. The two groups met Monday evening with state and county officials — after The Beachcomber’s press deadline — to try to reach an agreement and end a conflict that has involved attorneys as well as Vashon’s

state senator. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure we can stabilize the grant on the island,” said VYFS Director Kathleen Johnson. The conflict stems from how the Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse (VARSA) and VYFS, its fiscal sponsor, use a large grant the two groups garnered last year to help address the island’s higher-than-average rates of teen drinking and drug use. SEE VARSA, 20

Natalie Martin/Staff Photo

Leah Mann and Ela Lamblin, founders of Lelavision, rehearse the group’s latest show.

As temperatures dipped below freezing last week, Fisher Pond transformed into a frozen playground. Hundreds of islanders ventured out on the ice on Saturday and Sunday to skate, pull children on sleds, hit hockey pucks or simply shuffle around and take in the scene. And as happens every few years when the pond off Bank Road freezes over, about 50 pairs of ice skates appeared, a range of sizes and styles to be borrowed by anyone wishing to try their luck on the ice. Though the skates have become something of Vashon lore, they actually spend the years between big freezes in the attic of Linda Peterson, a retired Chautauqua teacher, and her husband Gary. Linda said the tradition began decades ago when she and Gary, a Minnesota native and avid skater, raised their own children to skate. The couple began to accumulate a variety of ice skates to fit their growing children’s feet, started picking up some for their kids’ friends as well and by the late 1980s were providing skates for whomever showed up at the pond. Their children are now grown and have moved away, but the Petersons continue to collect skates from secondhand shops to maintain their collection. And when the temperature drops, Gary is usually one of the first out on the ice, drilling holes to test if it’s safe for skaters. This year, Linda said, she enjoyed seeing a father ice skate with his son for the first time. “Those are the kinds of things that make it all worthwhile,” she said. “It’s kind of a magical thing to happen on Vashon.” Top and bottom left photo by Jeff Dunnicliff, bottom right photo by Natalie Martin

Spinning and plucking, an island show heads to Seattle By ELIZABETH SHEPHERD For The Beachcomber

It isn’t unusual to hear the twang of guitars or throbbing of drums from a backwoods studio or garage on Vashon. But the music that emanates from Ela Lamblin and Leah Mann’s studio, at the end of long dirt road in Burton, sounds like none other. Approaching the studio through the woods on a recent November day, a visitor stepped around heaps of scrap metal surrounding the studio and heard low, didgeridoo-like rumblings, odd-sounding percussive slaps, the heavenly plinking of an oth-

erworldly harp and dulcet harmonies sung in an unrecognizable language. Inside, it turned out, a rehearsal was under way for Lamblin and Mann’s latest and most ambitious production, “Lelavision’s Heavy Metal DëVices,” a show named for almost two dozen musical contraptions and set pieces Lamblin has fashioned from scratch. The production features an ensemble of eight performers — most of whom are from Vashon — and is set to play twice at the Moore Theatre in SEE LELAVISION, 19

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, December 11, 2013