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WINNING BIG IN VEGAS Local wrestler crowned double champion. Page 21

Green Living on Vashon Special Section on Pages 13 – 17



Vol. 59, No. 17 h b h b


General store meets modern times at Group hopes to the half-century-old Country Store halt trash, begin compost program


Walking into The Country Store and Farm, a place that has been in business for 50 years on Vashon, is a feast for the senses. It starts in the parking lot, as customers spy rows of colorful ceramic pots and flats of delicate perennial plants on the store’s wraparound wooden porch. Just across the threshold, a bounty of goods awaits — racks of colorful clothing, a case filled with handcrafted jewelry, stacks of books, displays of thick wool socks, shelves stocked with Northwest specialty foods, hand-dipped candles, rubber muck boots and much, much more are all on display. Everywhere, it seems, there are textures to reach out and touch. But there’s also an appealingly earthy smell in the air. It’s the unmistakable, oldtimey scent of a general store — one that offers not only necessities for the inside of your house and closet, but niceties for your pets and garden as well. One large room of the spacious store is stocked


42 years, beginning in 1971, but last year, at the age of 91, she moved into an assistedliving facility on the island, and Mike took over, regularly commuting for weeks at a time to Vashon from his California home. Since then, he’s added

When Shannon Brundle did a study of Vashon’s waste stream for her master’s thesis, she was surprised to learn that not only does the island not have centralized composting, but there’s no place to recycle yard waste either. It’s either burned or ends up in a landfill. “This is a no brainer to me,” Brundle said. “We’re throwing away green material and trucking it off the island. Why?” Now Brundle’s work is a starting point for a group of islanders who hope to create a community composting program on Vashon and stop the steady flow of garbage and waste that leaves the island. Dubbed Zero Waste Vashon, the nonprofit is exploring the possibility of locating a type of composter on Vashon that would not only recycle many types of waste — including food scraps, yard debris, sewage, meat and manure — but would also produce compost and energy to be used locally. If successful, Vashon would be the first community in the state, and possibly the country, to utilize the technology on such a small scale.




Natalie Martin/Staff Photo

Country Store employee Vanessa Williams looks at an Easter display by the store’s expanded clothing section. with organic livestock and pet food, as well as organic and natural garden staples — everything from tools to seeds to pest control products and fertilizer. And outside the store, 10 acres stretch out in a lush you-pick orchard and nursery. The store’s success and

charm, according to manager Mike Biel, all boils down to the inventiveness and imagination of its longtime owner — his mother, Vy Biel. “What we’re doing here is just carrying her original vision forward,” he said. “She had a really good vision.” Vy has owned the store for

A soggy spring day doesn’t deter egg hunters Despite a steady downpour on Saturday afternoon, an onslaught of children dressed in rain jackets and rain boots descended on Ober Park the day before Easter to take part in Spring Fling. The wet weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm as more than 200 youngsters played, met the Easter Bunny and, in the annual the highlight of the Spring Fling, competed with their peers to scoop up colorful eggs that held candy and coupons for prizes at local merchants. “It could be worse,” volunteer Gretchen Neffenger shouted over a loudspeaker between children’s songs. “It could be snowing,” she said. Jim Marsh, director of the Vashon Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the annual event, said he was surprised at the huge turnout, though maybe he shouldn’t have been. Marsh spent much of the afternoon holding an umbrella over the Easter Bunny so she could greet children without getting her fur wet. “It doesn’t dampen things as much as we think it does,” he said of the rain. “I think people here are used to it.” Photo and Story by Natalie Martin

Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, April 23, 2014  
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber, April 23, 2014  

April 23, 2014 edition of the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber