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Acorns to oaks Sequim graduate returns to rural roots Among growing numbers returning to peninsula

Apples don’t fall far from the tree

Milholland family produces community builders

Peninsula native comes home to serve

Port Angeles’ Kuch pursues law enforcement calling Supplement to Sequim Gazette and Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader



Port Angeles • Sequim Port Townsend • Discovery Bay Kingston • Edmonds • Greyhound Amtrak • Downtown Seattle Sea Tac Airport • Seattle Hospitals Olympic Bus Lines is an independent agent of Greyhound. You can now purchase your Greyhound tickets locally at your only nationwide reservation location on the Olympic Peninsula. • Free WiFi on board • Providing complimentary home-made chocolate chip cookies and bottled water.

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Outside the area toll free

(800) 457-4492 2 LOP Winter 2016

Late night or early morning flight? Ask us about special hotel rates!


Port Angeles/Sequim



In Focus 6

Departments 10 | FOOD & SPIRITS The Emerald Northwest Grill shares a tasty salmon recipe 17 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Dog training good for pups and their owners 21 | LOCAL RECREATION Brave the snow and ice for

a good winter hike 33 | CALENDAR OF EVENTS Upcoming winter events across our region 34 | LIVING END Acorns to oaks


Vol. 12, Number 4 • Living on the Peninsula is a quarterly publication.

147 W. Washington St., Sequim, WA 98382 © 2016 Sequim Gazette

6 | Sequim graduate returns to rural roots Teacher is among growing numbers returning to peninsula

On the cover: 13 | PENINSULA NATIVE COMES HOME TO SERVE Tom Kuch pursues law enforcement calling 19 | BEVERLY MICHAELSEN AND KAIYA LILY: Taking it in and letting go 24 | RURAL ROOTS = HOMEGROWN EDUCATORS: Cultivating teachers on the West End 28 | APPLES DON’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE Family produces community builders 4 LOP Winter 2016

From a 1-inch acorn to a stately towering specimen of 65-100 feet, the Garry oak is the only native oak species in Washington. The drought-tolerant tree, that can live hundreds of years, was perfectly suited for the arid Sequim Prairie before irrigation came in the 1890s. Many were burned as settlers cleared land but some large specimens still can be appreciated for their twisted and gnarled branch beauty in the Sequim area. Photo by Patricia Morrison Coate

Terry R. Ward, Regional Publisher Steve Perry, General Manager Editorial: Patricia Morrison Coate, Editor Production: Brenda Hanrahan, Page Designer Laura Lofgren, Page Designer Advertising Sales (360) 683-3311 • (360) 452-2345 226 Adams St. Port Townsend, WA 98368 360-385-2900 Lloyd Mullen, publisher Patrick Sullivan: ©2016 Port Townsend Leader

Freezing Temperatures & Icy Sidewalks When the temperature drops, we run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls due to ice and snow. Try to stay indoors when it’s very cold outside. If you need to go out and happen to slip and and injure yourself, Sequim Health & Rehab is ready to help you get back on your feet with our seven-day-a-week therapy department or our outpatient therapy services. 1st Place Best Rehabilitat ion Facility Clallam Co



650 W. Hemlock St., Sequim, WA 98382 360.582.2400

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What other bank on the What other bank on the Olympic Peninsula can Olympic Peninsula can say say their President & CEO was their President & CEO was born and raised in Sequim? born and raised in Sequim? Now that’s local. Now that’s local. That’s community. That’s community. Laurie (Teitzel) Stewart Laurie (Teitzel) Stewart President & CEO

President & CEO

Member FDIC

Port Angeles Port Ludlow SequimSequim | Port Angeles | Port Ludlow | 800.458.5585 800.458.5585


Laurie &Sister Sister Laurie & Irrigation Festival 1956 Irrigation Festival 1956

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Winter 2016 LOP 5

“ Students in Jaysa Hill’s fourth-grade class at Helen Haller Elementary School in Sequim give their teacher their attention during history class.

A RETURN TO RURAL ROOTS Teacher Jaysa Hill among growing numbers returning to peninsula Story and photos by Mary Powell Jaysa Hill pretty much knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age. For her, it was more or less a matter of the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her father was a schoolteacher and her mother was a paraprofessional educator, more commonly known as a paraeducator. It stood to reason then, that Hill would follow in their footsteps, which she did, and now teaches fourth-graders at Helen Haller Elementary School in Sequim. “She talked about being a teacher at a younger age,” Hill’s father, Larry said. “She used to teach her little brother on some old antique school chairs we had.” Hill said his daughter comes from a long line of educators. His brother Randy Hill is the assistant principal at Sequim High School and Larry taught and coached basketball at Sequim High School for 39 years.

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Jaysa Hill is somewhat an anomaly in that she returned to her roots after college to teach school.

Some of the best teachers I’ve seen are in Port Angeles and Sequim.

— Jaysa Hill, fourth-grade teacher, Helen Haller Elementary School

Students follow along in their history books in Jaysa Hill’s class at Helen Haller Elementary School in Sequim. Madeline Mote, 9, in white cap, says Miss Hill is kind and “not mean ever.” This is Jaysa Hill’s fifth year of teaching which she said she very much enjoys. “I like the younger kiddos,” she said about the grade level she teaches. “At this age they want to learn.” But this isn’t a story only about Hill’s teaching credentials or her love of the profession. It’s also a homecoming story. Not the football game, dance kind of homecoming, but the sort that actually involves coming home. Hill, 26, is one of the rare souls born and raised in Sequim. OK, she was born in Port Angeles, since that is where the hospital is located. But she has lived in the Sequim area all her life. Her father originally is from Eastern Washington, her mother Janet Hill, is a native Port Angeles/Sequimite. Larry taught math and coached at Sequim High School for nearly four decades. When it was time for Hill to begin school, you guessed it, she was enrolled at Helen Haller. How was it to come back and teach at the school you attended as a student? “It was a bit strange at first, there were teachers I had when I was a student,” Hill smiled. “I had to get used to calling them by their first name.” After graduating from Sequim High School, Hill trekked over to Pullman, home of Washington State University and the Cougars. (Full disclosure: I am a died-in-the-purple-and-gold fan of the University of Washington Huskies, so the two of us eyed one another a bit suspiciously, then laughed and came to an understanding that the Huskies would win the Apple Cup. Not really, but I can try.) Turns out Hill is the 15th Cougar in the family, so like being a teacher, WSU was a natural fit. Her younger brother is a student at the university, majoring in architecture. Hill did her student teaching in Spokane, but when she finished her studies, she decided to return to Sequim, where she substituted for the Port Angeles and Sequim school districts. Lo and behold, a teaching position opened up in Sequim and she was hired. She has taught fourth-grade since in her old school. “I knew I wanted to come back,” Hill said of returning to Sequim. “I love this community, my family is here. It’s nice to teach where you grew up and went to school.”

RURAL GROWTH It’s no secret that population loss persists in rural America, especially in more remote areas with limited amenities. Communities in these areas are accustomed to the annual migration of the best and brightest high school graduates, which is typically a third or more of each class. Reasons include education, opportunity and changes in farming. Most colleges and universities are not located in rural areas, a greater variety of work possibilities and higher wages typically are found in urban areas, and finally, mechanization in agriculture has resulted in far fewer people being needed to do the same amount of work. What constitutes a rural region? The Office of Management and Budget designates counties as metropolitan, micropolitan and neither. A metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population and a micro area contains an urban core of at least 10,000 — but less than 50,000 — population. All counties that are not part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area are considered rural. After the 2010 Census, the non-metro counties contained 46.2 million people, about 15 percent of the total population, and covered 72 percent of the land area of the country. Obviously, Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend fit into a rural designation. In recent decades however, according to a census brief published by the Center for Rural Affairs, the population of many rural communities slowly began to increase, as the number of births in rural areas made up for the number of people leaving. Unfortunately, the overall population decline in rural ares of the Great Plains states is not likely to stop anytime soon. Fortunately, that trend doesn’t include other states, including Washington. The three major cities on the North Olympic Peninsula are experiencing a bit of a population surge. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, Sequim’s estimated population was 6,826, while in the 2010 Census it was 6,606, a 3.3 percent change. Port Angeles’ estimated population in 2015 was 19,448 and in 2010, 19,308, a 2.2 percent change. In 2015, Port Townsend’s estimated population was 9,335 and in 2010, 9,113, a 2.4 percent change.

Winter 2016 LOP 7

Bella Cornell, left and Sierra Lonker, fourthgraders in Jaysa Hill’s class, agree Miss Hill is a good teacher. Reasons young people (think millennials, those coming of adult age in 2000) most frequently cited for returning to their rural roots were the desire to reconnect with parents and to raise children back home. In addition to support from family and friends, returnees sought familiar, easy-going environments. Decisions to return to rural communities often hinge on evaluations of schools systems. Small class sizes and more interaction with teachers also are valued. Knowing teachers as friends and neighbors is an important factor. Hill said she would like to stay in the Sequim area where her parents, relatives and friends offer an immediate support group. “This is a great teaching environment,” is how Hill described her teaching experience in Sequim.


Teachers always have been taken for granted despite doing some of the most important work in the world. In recent years it has become worse, with teachers absorbing the misplaced blame for the state of education in America. Some have the idea that teachers have it easy, a short day and summers off, when in fact, most teachers spend an inordinate amount of time outside the classroom, including the summer months, doing work related to teaching. The median annual salary for a public school teacher in the United States is $53,772 as of Nov. 7 with a range between $46,945-$62,089. Salaries in larger cities, such as Seattle, can be as high as $77,000. In the Sequim School District, the average salary for an elementary school teacher is $56,240, the median is $60,050. However, salaries can vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including the level of education (bachelor, masters, Ph.D) or the number of years a teacher has accrued. Hill’s day begins around 7:30 in the morning, about a half hour before her students arrive. As an elementary teacher, she is certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade, which means she teaches a myriad of subjects throughout the day. The course of study throughout the day includes history, math, English, reading, and for fourth-graders, an introduction to Washington state history. History was on tap for Hill’s students, who were both attentive and fairly excited about the subject of King Charles I and King Henry II. Hands raised high when Hill asked if they could figure out why Roman numerals were used in the royal names. Of course, attention spans varied in the classroom, some students reading along, others watching Hill as she pointed out facts shown on the whiteboard. And there were a few renegades preferring to look at books other than the one on topic. Dillan Worley, 9, had chosen to vacate his regular desk for one in the back

8 LOP Winter 2016

of the classroom. Said he could see the board better. What did he think of Miss Hill? “She’s awesome and she teaches us,” he put forth. Hill teaches in one of the seven portables at Helen Haller. While the portable classrooms are pleasant and when inside look like any other classroom, it’s not an ideal situation. Portables, by their very definition, tend to disconnect the class from the rest of the school. Overcrowding is a huge issue, not only at Helen Haller, but all Sequim schools. “The schools are falling apart,” Hill said. “At Helen Haller it’s a big issue.” Indeed, the school was built in 1970 and was designed for 450 students. Today’s student body population is 620. “We are running out of space, literally,” she pointed out. “The physical education teacher teaches PE at the neighboring Boys & Girls Club.” Nonetheless, she continued, “We have amazing teachers here and good programs, there is so much more to it.” Overall the students are a happy bunch, at least in Hill’s class. The word most used to describe Miss Hill is kind. “She’s not mean, ever,” said Madeline Mote, 9. Fellow classmate Makenna Hillean agrees. “The only time she gets strict is when everyone is talking.” For Hill, a woman with a perpetual smile and positive outlook, the magic of teaching comes alive in what she calls the “lightbulb moments,” when a kiddo finally gets it. As for teaching a technology-savvy generation, Hill said it has positive and negative aspects. Her requirement regarding cell phones is “off and tucked away” in backpacks. Other teachers, she said, have pockets in their classrooms for turned off cellphone storage. “Kids today are used to technology,” she said. “Some use iPods or other tech-friendly tools.” However, she added, “They do write with a pencil rather than typing their assignments.” It seems students these days learn keyboarding in the first grade. Cursive, by the way, is taught in the third grade at Helen Haller, but students shift between penmanship and keyboarding. And then there are the state standardized tests. Today’s students take the Smarter Balance Assessment test, a newer version of the previous Washington Assessment of Student Learning, a controversial test administered in the late 1990s until 2009, when it morphed into the SBA and MAP tests for elementary students and the High School Proficiency Exam. “Testing takes up a lot of time,” Hill said. “And yes, sometimes we do teach to the test,” which is a bone of contention for many teachers. After a full day of teaching, taking recess duty, helping with the afterschool Homework Club, and perhaps attending a department meeting of which she is fourth-grade chair this year, Hill is ready to check out. She is officially off the clock at 3:15 p.m., but usually doesn’t get home until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Later in the evening, much like her students, she sits down to homework — correcting papers and preparing lesson plans.

Fourth-grade teacher Jaysa Hill enjoys a moment with her students at Helen Haller Elementary School. Hill has taught for five years at Helen Haller and is well-liked by her students. When’s she not knee-deep into teaching, Hill works with the teens at her church, taking them, along with the church staff, on fall and winter retreats and mission trips in the spring and summer. She also teaches Vacation Bible School in the summers. In fact, her father said she considered going into the ministry before deciding on a teaching career. As for returning to Sequim, Hill has absolutely no regrets. She is upbeat about her chosen profession and especially her community. “It’s been an experience, a good one,” she said about being home. “The town is growing, but not too big,” she described Sequim of today. “It has really changed from when I was here growing up.” “There are a lot more younger people teaching here now, that are up on the current practices,” Hill was happy to report. “We have a varied and diverse staff, both older and younger, all very gifted. I’m thankful for the staff and for being able to teach at Helen Haller.” Among those who have decided to leave their rural roots, about half had considered moving back, and most cited low wages and limited career opportunities as primary barriers. Many pursuing technical and professional careers described the need to located in a large city, At the same time, those who do come home have the education and training to fill positions as doctors, pharmacists, accountants, bankers, lawyers, teachers and entrepreneurs. Strong community ties helped advance their goals, as they did with Jaysa Hill. We’re happy to have you here Miss Hill. Welcome home. Mary Powell is the former editor of the Sequim Gazette.

Boosting the number of those who return to their rural hometowns For talented youth, leaving rural communities is often an inevitable and highly encouraged rite of passage into adulthood. However, they also should feel welcomed and encouraged to move back. Here are six ideas that may serve as starting points for discussion in rural communities:

• Invest resources in all students, the ones who are planning to stay as well as the ones who are planning to leave. Three researchers who wrote the book “Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America” came to this conclusion: Communities often give a lot of support and attention to the “high fliers” — the students who were likely to make it big but who also were most likely to leave the community. This means that the community saw almost no return on its investment in these young people. On the other hand, the “stayers,” the people who eventually would be the ones serving on town councils and otherwise guiding the future of the town, received comparatively few resources from the community. Thus, the town would be better off overall if it spread its resources more evenly. • Support the businesses that are in the community. Investing in local businesses that already are established is the key because they already have made a long-term commitment to the community. Growth in local business means more money to hire full-time employees, who in turn would bring in or create their own families, add to the school numbers and generally increase economic growth • Find a niche. Some of the relatively few rural communities in the United States that are growing have found an unusual or quirky way to become known. For example: the once down-and-out town of Leavenworth (located in northeastern Washington), turned itself into a beautiful Bavarian village, despite the fact the it had no Bavarian heritage. As the timber and rail industries that had supported the town faded, the town decided to try to find a place in the tourism industry by renovating its downtown in Bavarian style. The plan worked. Leavenworth has become a pillar of the tourism in the Pacific Northwest, with more than a million tourists coming each year. • Make it a good place to live: If you ask teenagers what the community could do to improve, they likely are to say something like, “There’s nothing to do here.” According to Gary Aguiar, South Dakota State University associate professor of political science, what young people want at that age is a town square, a place where they can hang out and watch each other. College campuses have figured this out with student unions that offer a variety of nooks in which to study, eat and talk. Aguiar suggests getting young people involved in the process, because, he says, “If adults create it, it won’t be cool.” This kind of project is more important than it might appear because how a person feels about a community when he or she is growing up there has a big influence on if he or she wants to come back there later in life. • “Bust the myth that going home translates as failure.” This quote is from a story in the Salinas Journal about the town of Courtland, Kan., that is having a revitalization through returning young people. More than 20 people who graduated from college within five years have moved back to the community of 300, resulting in more strollers being pushed along its streets and new businesses on Main Street. “We find that people hesitate about moving back because they think they’ll be seen as a loser,” said Marci Penner, the founder of an organization to promote small-town living. “When they see others moving back, it erases the stigma. At some point, the memory kicks in about why you loved growing up in a small town.” Celebrating or raising the profile of the people who have returned to the area may be one way to dispel the failure myth. • Ask them to come back: Asking those who have left to come back is really a way to encourage people who might be somewhat interested to focus seriously on the possibility of a homecoming. A survey of people who have left rural places found that those who return are most often motivated by family or lifestyle factors, not just by potential employment. Living where you want regardless of the work you do is not the pipe dream it once was. Universal access to high-speed Internet has made it possible to telecommute much more effectively than it was even five years ago. An IBM employee featured in the Center for Rural Affairs newsletter moved to rural Nebraska because of the quality of life. “I didn’t know places still existed in the United States where children didn’t need to lock a bike,” he said in the article. Source: A series of articles published by the Center for Rural Affairs

Winter 2016 LOP 9


PUFF PASTRY SALMON The Emerald Northwest Grill, 179 W. Washington St., in Sequim, is a modern Northwest family friendly public house, featuring local micro-brews, wine and spirits, using the finest ingredients in our menu to deliver consistently high quality cuisine to your table. Daily Happy Hour 3-6 p.m., Kids Menu and beautiful Northwest ambiance with fireplace, water feature and greenery. Outdoor patio (21 and over) open seasonally. Open 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call for reservations 360-504-2083 or check us out on Facebook.


4 5-ounce fillets of fresh salmon 4 4-inch by 4-inch sheets of puff pastry Olive oil 1 egg 1 batch of puff pastry salmon filling (recipe below) 1 batch of spinach basil pesto (recipe below)

Puff Pastry Salmon prepared by head chef Cody Haeg.


1 cup fresh spinach, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon shallot, minced 2 ounces white cooking wine 1/2 cup cream cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and stir until translucent. Toss in spinach and deglaze with white wine. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper. Allow mixture to cool in refrigeration. Once cooled, combine mixture with cream cheese thoroughly.


Heat a conventional oven to 350 degrees F. Season your salmon with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Sear each side of the salmon until golden brown. Transfer to the oven and bake salmon to an internal temperature of 130 degrees F. Cool salmon for 30 minutes. With puff pastry at room temperature, place one salmon, presentation side down, on each puff pastry. Top each salmon with 2 tablespoons of the filling and 1 tablespoon of spinach basil pesto. To wrap, fold one corner of the puff pastry to the center, brushing each corner with an egg-wash to ensure sealing. Once wrapped, turn over, brush the top with egg-wash and cut three slits near the center for ventilation. Place each puff pastry salmon on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve with your favorite vegetables!

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4 ounces (by weight) fresh spinach 2 ounces (by weight) fresh basil 3 garlic cloves 1/4 lemon, juiced 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1/2 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper, ground


Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

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10 LOP Winter 2016


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Winter 2016 LOP 11

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538 N. Fifth Avenue Sequim, WA 98382



Left: Tom Kuch poses by his car circa 2000. Above: Tom Kuch appears in his official Air Force photo in 1989. Submitted photos

PENINSULA NATIVE COMES HOME TO SERVE, PURSUES LAW ENFORCEMENT CALLING By Patricia Morrison Coate Wearing a Seattle Seahawks shirt, baseball cap and jeans, Port Angeles resident Tom Kuch is just about as friendly as they come, with lively hazel eyes and an engaging grin. The 48-year-old family man is soft-spoken and congenial in a compact frame. But if you’re a drug dealer and he comes knocking on your door, Kuch — pronounced Cook — is all business. No more Mr. Mellow. “I didn’t plan on being a cop — my dad was a deputy and I saw how police officers even then were not treated with respect,” said Kuch, now a corporal with the Port Angeles Police Department and the new supervisor of the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team or OPNET. He spent his early childhood on the West End, in Forks and Clallam Bay, where his father Roger Kuch was a Clallam County deputy sheriff. Despite his dismissing law enforcement as a young man, Kuch said, “I always felt I’d be a good police officer and I wanted to help people. Others encouraged me over the years because I guess I’m a natural helper. I like the idea of chasing bad guys and protecting people who can’t protect themselves.”


“I think the shaping of a person is lifelong because you’re always shaping yourself until you die to try to become a better person,” Kuch said. “What shaped me a lot was when Dad got sick when I was 7, I felt like I needed to be more responsible. Mom said I was more responsible than other 7-year olds. Also sports is a metaphor for life — to work together as a team.” Kuch describes a blissful childhood in Forks, saying, “At that age, it was a perfect playground with the trees and the woods. I played organized sports — T-ball and Little League football — but my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was 7 and had to retire, so we moved back to Port Angeles for his medical treatment.”

There, too, sports became a big part of his life, with Little League baseball and YMCA football. Going into middle school and high school, Kuch focused on football and baseball, even playing when he was 18 for the Aggies, the first team in Port Angeles history to go to the Babe Ruth World Series. Aggies’ coach Scott Brodhun also influenced a teenaged Kuch, who still remembers his mentor as “a great coach, person and motivator” with “very high standards.” After graduating in 1987 and a year of junior college, Kuch decided school wasn’t for him. “I was not necessarily a great scholar but a good kid,” he said, so after high school he played baseball for Green River Community College in Auburn, majoring in general studies. “At that point I didn’t know what I wanted to be but I knew I wanted more sports.” A bit adrift, the 20-year-old joined the Air Force but didn’t serve his full term of duty because of Defense Department budget cuts. He was honorably discharged and returned to Port Angeles, getting a job he loved at the Port Angeles Boat Haven. But because of a lull in the fishing industry, it also was cut. “I’d always had odd jobs as a kid and when I lost the Boat Haven job, I didn’t like being unemployed at all,” Kuch said. “I felt I’d always had a calling to be in law enforcement, so for job security, in 1994 I joined the Forks Police Department as a communications/corrections officer.”


After graduating from the Washington Law Enforcement Academy in Burien, Kuch held several positions with the Clallam County Sheriff’s office in the 1990s. He joined the Port Angeles Police Department in 1999, moving up through the ranks from patrol officer, then detective to corporal in 2011, after successfully testing for each level. Kuch also served as the department’s school resource officer and also started the Crisis Intervention Team to train patrol officers how to help and handle people with mental illness.

Winter 2016 LOP 13

Tom Kuch is sworn in as a Port Angeles Police officer by Mayor Gary Braun in December 1998. Submitted photo

“After being a corporal and patrol officer, in April they asked me if I’d supervise OPNET,” Kuch said. “OPNET is a group of different agencies that work together to investigate drug crimes. Our goal is to get as many drugs off the street as we can and hold accountable those who choose to sell them.” The eight-member OPNET team includes Kuch from PAPD, a sergeant and detective from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, detectives from the Sequim Police Department and Washington State Patrol, and Border Patrol, Homeland Security and U.S. Customs Air/Marine agents. The team also works with the state Department of Corrections. “In a typical day, I try to meet with my guys to talk about cases we’re working on,” Kuch said. “We discuss tactics to use when we investigate. I’m meeting and talking with people in neighborhoods (with drug activity); to people who used to use and want to help clean up their town; to people currently using and hating the way their life is or the trouble they’ve gotten into and want help in changing their lives. OPNET does a lot of surveillance in the field and sometime we have informants purchase drugs for us to get a drug dealer.” Kuch said he alters his appearance from time to time to blend in better with the criminal element on the Olympic Peninsula and so declined a having a current photo taken for his own safety. “It’s safer than being a patrol officer because we’re not in uniform on the street, walking around being a target to being ambushed,” Kuch said. “When we serve search warrants at drug houses it can be dangerous, but we take precautions to be safe. OPNET has an unwritten rule — no undercover work posing as a dealer because it is very dangerous. The Olympic Peninsula is a small community and growing up here and being a police officer here, a lot of people recognize me and that makes it difficult to do undercover work. Most of our work is behind the scenes.”

14 LOP Winter 2016

The best part of my job is the feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood I feel with the men and women I work with. Often times we are severely scrutinized and frowned upon, which makes our brotherhood all that much more welcoming. — Cpl. Tom Kuch


“The best part of my job is the feeling of camaraderie and brotherhood I feel with the men and women I work with. Often times we are severely scrutinized and frowned upon, which makes our brotherhood all that much more welcoming. A close second to that though is when somebody who you’ve had to help/arrest/counsel comes to you at a later date and thanks you for helping them to make a positive change in their life. That’s highly rewarding,” Kuch said. “The worst part of my job is the feeling of ‘us’ against ‘them.’ Sometimes it just feels like everyone is against ‘us’ (the police), and it makes it hard to keep those ‘silver lining’ thoughts going.” To release some of the intensity of police work, over the years Kuch has coached his children’s many sports activities and relaxes by brewing his own beer, snowboarding, working out and spending time with his family.

I always felt I’d be a good police officer and I wanted to help people. I like the idea of chasing bad guys and protecting people who can’t protect themselves.

— Cpl. Tom Kuch


The challenges in law enforcement are many, Kuch said, from overnight shift work to overcoming legal hurdles in court to being painted with the same brush of distrust against law enforcement that’s now permeating American society. “My challenges are going to work every day and trying to help people in their worst moment then going home and trying to be normal — I’m not as happy-go-lucky as I used to be,” Kuch admitted. “But it’s very rewarding to help somebody when they need it. What makes me most proud is that is that I’m driven to be fair and to treat people with respect, even sometimes when they don’t deserve it.”

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“My supervisors understood how important it was to show that cops are people, too, and it’s been a way to be a positive role model in that way. I like working with kids because I believe there’s still hope for kids.”

Above: The Kuch family today, from left, wife Erica, Tom, son Dakota and daughter Victoria Below: The Kuch family circa 1974 in Forks: Peggy, Roger, Tom (#33) and Travis (#16) Submitted photos

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Home Care Is Our Mission Winter 2016 LOP 15

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16 LOP Winter 2016

He will always need to use his hands because he is so tall but he definitely got stronger while at Crestwood. Ron lives in a house which has 16 stairs and is now able to climb stairs using his cane. Diane came back to Crestwood as an outpatient for therapy due to knee pain while climbing stairs and midback pain while quilting or doing book work. She is happy to report that she is no longer having any pain and does her special exercises to prevent it from coming back.

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Diane is also able to do the sit to stand test 9 times in 30 seconds without using her hands! But she is shorter than Ron so that isn’t a fair comparison! Ron and Diane will be missed but have promised to come back to play the Mandolin and Ukulele and sing for us at Crestwood.


Therapy Success Story, Crestwood Health and Rehabilitation

Karen Faddis and her best friend Ranger, a 5-year-old German shepherd mix. Ranger is a rescue dog who Faddis says is “from the streets of San Bernardino, Calif. “He’s a wonderful dog,” she says of Ranger.

Come, sit, stay … Good dog! Dog training good for pups and their owners Story and photos by Mary Powell At least three times a week they gather to socialize, recreate and become proficient at the task at hand. On this particular Tuesday, CC, River, Leo, Eddie, Kody, Addy, Hattie, Ranger, Dinah and her daughter Flo, Mr. Z and Keeper are ready to roll. Tails wagging, ears up, a little bit of drooling and the meeting is called to order. Oh, did I mention these are dogs we’re talking about? After a short tine of catching up, the owners also are ready to go. The dogs are relatively quiet, patiently looking at their owners for a cue that it’s time to work. This group of mostly women meets fairly often to talk about dogs and train dogs. The dogs include mutts and breeds of all sorts: golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, Australian shepherds, a wire-haired dachshund,



I think dogs are taking over the world. Almost every car has a dog in it. — Karen Faddis, dog owner and competitor

something called a Spinone Italiano, a Bouvier des Flandres, and a couple of papillons. “You get the bug and then you’re done,” said Nancy Radich, owner of the two papillons, Addy and Mr. Z. First things first. Everyone abruptly takes out wrapped cheese sticks from their pockets, unwraps them and starts biting off small pieces. Cheese, they all agree, is the best treat to entice good behavior and motivator for ring performance. The cheese bites go back into the pockets and away we go. Quite often the workouts are held at Jo Chinn’s home out on Livengood Lane, where she has set up a couple of different rings for practicing a variety of competitions. Specifically, this group was working on competitive obedience and rally obedience. Occasionally, Chris Cornell, an AKC certified judge, stops by to give pointers for those interested in competition. Cornell, it turns out, is a very popular judge among the dog competitors. A retired engineer and an Arizona transplant to Sequim, Cornell judges dog competitions throughout the United States. Around here, if the competition schedule reveals Cornell to be judging, it’s a sure thing everyone’s going. “Everyone likes to show for him,” said Chinn, even though she was disqualified once by Cornell. Seems she raised her right shoulder a bit, a no-no since it could be considered a gesture to the dog. First up was Susie Metzger and her golden retriever Kody. She and Kody took a walk around the perimeter of the ring, first heeling with the leash on, then without. When Metzger stopped, Kody stopped. If told to sit, Kody sat. He kept a close eye on Metzger, watching for her direction. Cornell watched closely, giving tips for the perfect heel, sit, stay. For the lack of posts, two of the women watching quickly take their places in the ring, sans dogs, to form human posts for Kody to navigate. And he does it perfectly. Pets, “good dog” and a piece of cheese come from Metzger. One by one, everyone takes a turn in the ring. Valerie Bush trotted out Leo, short for Leonardo, a 3-year-old Spinone Italiano. Don’t worry, I had never heard of that breed either. (By the way, it’s pronounced spin-on-ee.) A rather large and tall dog, Leo was one of the most laid-back pups I’ve ever encountered. He sauntered into the ring as if to say, “been there, done this,” did an excellent job and then started drooling, probably in anticipating of one of those cheese bites. Bush started serious dog training about two years ago. She and her husband had a mastiff, the largest dog breed in terms of mass. A typical male weighs between 150-250 pounds. That’s a lot of dog and a lot of dog food. Bush said they wanted to downsize, so bought Leo, who isn’t a small dog by any means. The mother-daughter duo, Dinah, 10 and Flo, 5, belong to Chinn. This is another breed I hadn’t heard of, the flat-coated retriever. A beautiful dog, they are jet-black, a bit smaller than a Labrador retriever, with silky fur. Both are grand champions in conformation and utility, the highest level of obedience competition. Oh, and Cornell has another of Dinah’s offspring, Bree. “They are one of the oldest retriever breeds,” Chinn said. The flat-coated retriever is a gun dog and is a breed originating from the United Kingdom.

Winter 2016 LOP 17

WAYS TO BE A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER • Have your pet vaccinated by a licensed vet annually. Rabies vaccinations are required by law. Other vaccines are recommended for the health of your pet. • Purchase your pet’s license and have your pet wear the license so that you may be notified if he or she is lost. • When out in public, keep your pets on a leash and clean up after them. • Do NOT allow your pet to become a nuisance to your neighbors. Correct behavior problems immediately. • Do NOT allow your pets to run at large. You could be liable if you pet injures someone or something. • Do NOT allow your pets to bark continuously. • Consider your pet’s safety first. On HOT days, leave your pet at home. Source: Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Westminster with her. “Breezy didn’t do anything, but it was a good experience.” McGregor had the same comment as the others: “It’s more fun for me to have more people to practice with.”

KENNEL CLUBS Nancy Radich and her papillon finish a practice session with AKC judge Chris Cornell. Chinn was busy working one of the duo (hard to tell the difference, really) across the yard at another rally practice set-up that had markers throughout the course with a specific direction for the dog and owner. Leo and Bush were doing the same. This bunch is a close-knit group that practices a lot. Like three or four times a week a lot. The work pays off because each of their dogs has ribbons and trophies and championship titles from several types of competitions. And at the drop of a hat, it’s off to a competition to places like Wenatchee, Cashmere, Monroe, Everett and plenty of places in Oregon. Why do it? Why do people fish, or hunt or collect stamps or a number of other activities or hobbies? It’s what a person loves to do. And with a dog, there’s always a ready companion, eager to jump in the car and show his or her stuff. “There’s a lot of camaraderie among us,” Chinn said during a training session. And, she added, “It’s good to train with other dogs.” Every Monday afternoon, the circle of canines and their owners trek over to Port Townsend to the home of Sue McGregor, where she hosts training sessions in her barn. McGregor and her family, like a few others in the group, have relocated from Juneau, Alaska, to Sequim. “Most of our old friends are from Juneau,” McGregor said. Like her friends, McGregor is a dog enthusiast. She has a Spinone, actually a couple of them, her favorite breed. Remember Leo? Turns out she bred Leo and has Leo’s sister as one of her own dogs. “Leo,” she said, “has the most fantastic temperament.” Indeed, in the realm of dog training, trials and competitions, it’s a small world. McGregor is most involved with conformation shows. In fact, her first Spinone, Breezy, qualified for the well-known Westminster dog show held in New York City. At the time, McGregor explained, qualifying dogs had to be in the top five of their breed and Breezy was one of the top five Spinones in the U.S. Now, she said, it’s much easier to qualify a dog. “We had great fun,” she said of the group of friends who went to

18 LOP Winter 2016

There are several dog-related associations, but the most well-known are the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club. There is not a lot of difference between the two except that one is limited to the United States and the other encompasses both the U.S. and other countries. The American Kennel Club, commonly referred to as the AKC, is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the U.S. In addition to maintaining its pedigree registry, the AKC promotes and sanctions events for both registered purebred dogs and non-purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official forming of the AKC.

Three good friends get together to give their dogs a workout in training methods. From left, Jo Chinn and her dogs Dinah and Flo, flat-coated retrievers; Camille Stephens and CC, an Australian shepherd; and Valerie Bush and her pup Leo, a Spinone Italiano.

Anita Pedersen rewards her landseer Newfoundland Newfy for finding clove hidden in the crack of cement. Pedersen takes nose work classes at Pathways Dog Training owned by Elaine Diedrich. Photo by Kathe Road The United Kennel Club (UKC), was established in 1898 and is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world. The UKC registers dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of it — nearly 16,000 annually licensed events — are tests of hunting ability, training and instinct. According to its website, “As a departure from registries that place emphasis on a dog’s looks, UKC events are designed for dogs that look and perform equally well.” About purebred dogs. Both the AKC and the UKC define a purebreed dog as one that has been registered and has papers that prove that the dog’s mother and the dog’s father are both of the same breed. Once a dog is registered with either the AKC or UKC, the dog’s owner receives a pedigree — a lineage showing the dog’s ancestors are all from the same breed — along with the dog’s own registration papers. When the lineage of a purebreed dog is recorded, that dog is said to be pedigreed. A mixed breed dog, on the other side of things, is the offspring of two or more different dog breeds where neither the mother nor the father is a registered purebred dog. Mixed breed dogs are commonly referred to as mutts, which, by the way, is not a derogatory term. To be sure, a dog doesn’t know if he or she is a purebreed or a mutt, but they do know if they have a loving owner who treats them as one of the family. One more is the hybrid dog. This is a dog that is the result of two purebreed registered dogs. It’s how the goldendoodle or Labradoodle, to name just two relatively “new” breeds, came about. Here on the peninsula, dog owners have the Hurricane Kennel Club. Founded in 1988 as the Kennel Club of the Olympic Mountains, the club is an AKC-licensed, all-breed club and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the interests of dog owners and breeders of purebred dogs. The club hosts two AKC-sanctioned events each year, one agility-rally-obedience trials and the other rally-obedience trials.


Camille Stephens admits her primary source of recreation and leisure is training and participating in competitions with her dog, an Australian shepherd named UCD URO1 Starswept’s On a Hi Note at Hisaw CD RN (ASCA), CD RA (AKC). What? It’s her registered name, but she is called CC. Imaging calling out, “come Starswept’s On a Hi Note at Hisaw” every time you wanted her attention. In case you are wondering, the titles are as follows: UCD, United Kennel

Club Companion Dog; URO1, United Kennel Club Rally Obedience Level 1; CD, Companion Dog; RN, Rally Novice; RA, Rally Advanced Washington State. Almost feels as if one should bow before the seemingly brilliant and royal CC. Stephens has been involved in dog training for several years. CC is her fourth Aussie. She said she isn’t sure how it came to be she was attracted to Aussies, but she does like the breed. Earlier this summer, Stephens and CC competed at the 2016 Australian Shepherd Club of America National Specialty in Albany, Ore. There were 1,400 Aussies and 3,000 entries, with some dogs entered in multiple events, such as herding, conformation, ability and tracking. In Albany, CC finished her ASCA Companion Dog (CD) title and earned her ASCA Rally Novice Title. The last weekend in November, the two traveled to Monroe, along with Jo Chinn and her dogs, to attend a trial. “On Saturday we didn’t qualify,” Stephens recounted, “although there were some positives about the performance.” On Sunday, she said, “We redeemed ourselves and qualified with a 194.5 and first place in our class. I was absolutely thrilled with how we did.” Every couple of weeks, Stephens, another Juneau transplant to Sequim, announces she and CC are going to one competition or another. She talks about rally, obedience and rally obedience and levels in each of those activities. Obedience is rather obvious, but rally had me curious. Like CC, most of the dogs mentioned here have ribbons and awards galore for competition performance. For example, Leo, Valerie Bush’s Spinone, recently won the highest-in-trial for obedience at a national all-Spinone trial held in Everett. Way to go Leo (and Bush). The choices in dog sports and recreation are nearly endless. Regarding competitive activities, there are literally dozens of them, everything from agility to weight pulling. But the most common of those activities and the ones the folks here most participate in are agility, conformation training and showing, obedience training, rally obedience and nose work. Ever watch a border collie weave at breakneck speed in and out of a set of poles, or dash in and out of low tunnels or manage a seesaw? That’s what agility is all about and it is truly fun to watch a well-trained dog go through his paces. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires concentration, training and teamwork, with dog and handler negotiating an obstacle course racing against the clock. And the border collie is one of the best breeds for this sport. Obedience training is quite possibly the most important exercise dogs can master. It’s basically a treatise on good manners. In novice classes and shows, dogs learn to sit, heel on and off leash and stand and stay for a certain amount of time. From there, open and utility levels require more difficult activities, such as doing heeling patterns and sit and stay for a much longer time period. Utility is the highest level of obedience, a higher and more rigorous level of training.

TOP 10 REASONS TO TRAIN YOUR DOG 1. Strengthens your bond 2. Communication skills will grow between you and your pup 3. Fun for your family and your pooch 4. Decreases and/or eliminates behavior issues 5. Provides enrichment and stimulates your pup’s brain 6. Gives your dog a “job” 7. A trained dog is six times less likely to be surrendered or returned to a shelter 8. Builds confidence in shy and fearful dogs 9. Creates less work for you in the long run 10. Enhances safety and can even save your dog’s life Source: Humane Society of the United States

Winter 2016 LOP 19

it is hidden. In nose work competitions, there are four locations involved in searching: interiors, exteriors, containers and vehicles. “People love it,” said Elaine Diedrich, owner of Pathways Dog Training in Sequim. “And it gives a dog the opportunity do to what they love to do.” A dog trainer for the past 20 years, Diedrich is extremely excited about nose work, and in fact, teaches nose work classes. She also offers rally and obedience training classes, but said the nose work training is a “fabulous balance to all other kinds of training.” Nose work starts with getting the dog excited about using his nose to seek out a favorite toy or treat reward hidden in several boxes. As the dog grows more confidence with his nose, target odors are introduced and competition skills are taught. In early November, Diedrich demonstrated a mock trial at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. In April 2017, the first UKC-sanctioned K9 Nose Work trial will take place at the fairgrounds. “Dogs love the game, they love to go and find the source,” she added. Diedrich said nose work is a great confidence builder for dogs.


Suzie Metzger and her golden retriever Kody take the practice ring while Chris Cornell, a certified AKC judge, looks on.

Unlike regular obedience, rally obedience has the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. Like other competitions, rally obedience titles include novice, advanced and excellent. Conformation is what you might call a beauty contest for dogs. Conformation is the official name for “dog shows.” The purpose of conformation showing is to evaluate breeding stock. The dogs’ conformation, his overall appearance and structure, is an indication of the dog’s ability to produce quality purebred puppies, which is what is being judged in the ring. That’s why mixed breeds and spayed or neutered purebreds are not eligible to compete.


K9 Nose Work is a relatively new sport for dogs and their owners, created and sanctioned by the National Association of Canine Scent Work. The activity is an offshoot of the training professional scent detection dogs receive. Elements of the training are used in K9 nose work, but for recreational purposes only. Nose work training teaches the dog to find one of three scents, wherever

20 LOP Winter 2016

If it seems as though everyone has a dog — or two or three — they do. According to the American Pet Product Association, it’s estimated that 7090 million dogs are owned in the United States. (And 74-96 million cats.) Approximately 37-47 percent of all households in the U.S. have a dog and 30-37 percent a cat. As Karen Faddis, owner of Ranger, said, “I think dogs are taking over the world. Almost every car has a dog in it.” Indeed, here on the peninsula, dogs are a popular pet. It’s not unusual to see people stopped on the sidewalk talking about their dogs in tow, or pull up next to a car with dog and start waving and talking to the dog from your car (guilty here). According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 28 percent of dogs are purchased from breeders and 29 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues. It’s impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the U.S.; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million. Nearly 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters every year. Of the dogs entering shelters, about 35 percent are adopted, 31 percent are euthanized and 26 percent of dogs who come in as strays are returned to their owners. The American Humane Society reports the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29 percent), not enough time to care for the dog, divorce, death and behavior issues (10 percent each), and allergies (11 percent). Only 10 percent of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year. The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society, within in its mission statement, is committed to caring for and finding permanent homes for the homeless animals of Clallam County. It is an open admission shelter, which means no animal is turned away. Each year, 2,000 animals are brought into the shelter. That’s the not-so-good news. The better news is that most of our dogs are well taken care of, loved and well trained. Obedience training is one of the most important aspects of raising a dog. A well-mannered, obediencetrained dog is both appreciated and welcome by others. Moreover, training serves to strengthen the bond between a dog and his owner. It builds communication, understanding and mutual respect and demonstrates to the dog that his human is the leader of the pack. Full disclosure: I love dogs and have a schnauzer, Oliver. He and I have taken a beginning obedience class, he got an incomplete after the first class (nice teacher talk for he failed, just wanted to sit on my lap the entire time), but did pass the second time through. So, I have to thank CC, River, Leo, Eddie, Kody, Addy, Hattie, Ranger, Dinah, Flo, Mr. Z and Keeper for sharing their fine behavior and showing all dog lovers and owners it can be done. Good dogs! Mary Powell is the former editor of the Sequim Gazette.

It’s a bit of a strenuous hike on the Mount Townsend trail, but the views are worth it.



Brave the snow and ice for a good winter hike on the Peninsula Story and photos by Michael Dashiell We were doing some recruiting for a new Sequim Gazette staff member a few weeks ago and were a bit surprised to see so many resumés come in from out-of-state applicants — and not just out of Washington, but East Coasters and Midwesterners mixed in with a few from Oregon and California. In interviews, we like to ask, “What do you do outside of work?” Answer for just about each: “Oh, I like to hike. That’s one of the reasons I applied.” Duly noted. Having a national park in the backyard is certainly a draw. One of the things I love about the Olympic Peninsula is the hiking potential during our mild winters; if one can bear a little rain and some slush, you are good to go on just about any open trail. The trusty Farmers’ Almanac predicts a wetter and colder-than-normal winter for the PCNW, so if you are gearing up for some winter trails and need to replace those old boots or get a pair of snowshoes, now is the time. Here are a few of my favorite winter hikes. Of course, please don’t forget the Ten Essentials of hiking: map, compass, sunglasses and sunscreen (yes, even in the winter!), extra clothing, headlamp/flashlight, first-aid supplies, firestarter, matches, knife and extra food/water.

Not just for skiers and snowboarders, Hurricane Ridge offers plenty of great winter hiking. Bring your snowshoes.

Winter 2016 LOP 21


This one’s a no-brainer: If the ridge road is open — and that’s no guarantee, so make sure to go online or call up the road conditions line at 565-3131 — this is a hiker’s playground. I suggest a snowshoe hike up Hurricane Hill if you can manage it. Breathtaking, 360-degree views abound. How long: 2.9 miles from the Visitor Center to Hurricane Hill; 2.6 miles from the Visitor Center to Switchback Trail via Sunrise Ridge How hard: Varies depending on the snow, wind conditions. On average, moderate to difficult. Snow covers many of the standard trail markings. Trails near the center are easy to moderate. How to get there: From downtown Sequim, take U.S. Highway 101 west to Port Angeles. Turn left on Race Street and follow that as it changes to Mount Angeles Road and then Hurricane Ridge Road. From downtown Port Angeles to the ridge is about 17 miles. Entrance fee or pass required. On the web: for daily fees, passes and special discounts. Other information: Call 452-4501.


These easy day hikes work fine even under the wettest of winter conditions. Bring a change of footwear and socks for the ride home, however. How hard: Ridiculously easy How to get there: To the Dungeness Spit from downtown Sequim, hop on Highway 101 eastbound to Kitchen-Dick Road. Take a right and follow three miles to the Dungeness Recreation Area entrance. Take a left on Voice of America Boulevard and follow to the Dungeness Spit trailhead. To Port Williams from downtown Sequim, take Sequim-Dungeness Way north, then a right on Port Williams Road. Follow that until you hit water. Other information: Make sure to chip in a $3 day-use fee at the Dungeness Spit kiosk (children 16 and younger are free), and don’t forget “doggie

Though the eastern portion is closed for repairs and upgrades, the Spruce Railroad Trail offers a fine winter hike.

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22 LOP Winter 2016

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With some of the peninsula’s hiking trails unreachable in winter months, the Spruce Railroad Trail works every time — most of the time. The trail starts on Lake Crescent’s north shore, shortly after the road crosses the Lyre River. However, trail improvements — including the restoration of the 450foot long McPhee Tunnel and other changes to provide universal accessibility — take place this winter with completion anticipated in spring 2017.

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That means the eastern half of the eight-mile (round trip) trail, from the Lyre River Trailhead to the west end of the McPhee Tunnel, will be closed for the duration of the project. Instead, hit the western trailhead for an alternate trek. To the south are snow-dusted peaks and ridges along the south shore, including Mount Storm King. How hard: Easy How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 west of Port Angeles for 26.1 miles. Pick up the trail by turning right onto Camp David Junior Road and continue to the end of the road, about 3 miles; or, continue to Fairholme Olympic Discovery Trailhead a couple of miles farther on Highway 101, just opposite of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. On the web:

means trekking into Olympic National Park where pets are not allowed, so those hiking with canines can expect to finish just two-thirds of the hike up to the park boundary. (Minus dogs, hikers can finish the 5.2-mile hike at Deer Park.) How hard: Moderate. Length: 3.6 miles to ONP boundary; 5.2 miles to Deer Park Campground How to get there: Drive 2.5 miles west of Sequim on U.S. Highway 101 to Taylor Cutoff Road. Follow sweeping right turn onto Lost Mountain Road. Turn left on Forest Service Road No. 2780, then right on Forest Service Road No. 2875. Look for trailhead and parking area at Slab Camp on right. No pass is required. On the web:



A great, short day hike, Robin Hill features ample tree coverage among its 195 acres of forest, meadow and wetland. Usable in any weather, the park has about 3.4 miles of developed foot trails and 2.5 miles of equestrian trails. Robin Hill also features 20 acres maintained by WSU Cooperative Extension programs for pasture management, agricultural research plots/ gardens and special water conservation and composting programs. How hard: Easy How to get there: Take U.S. Highway 101 to Dryke Road west of Sequim. Turn north on Dryke, the parking area is on the right, before the road’s first curve. Or, take Old Olympic Highway to Vautier Road, turn left, then drive to Pinnell Road, turn right. Parking area is on the left. On the web:


Since pets are allowed on trails in Olympic National Forest and most state-managed Department of Resources land, dog hikers and their owners are in luck. Deer Ridge Trail offers impressive views of Mount Baldy and farther back toward Buckhorn Mountain, Mount Deception, across the Graywolf River and into the Buckhorn wilderness. Completing the trail

“This better be worth it” was my first though of simply getting to the trailhead. But thanks to a great trail, a fun hiking group and spectacular views at the top, Mount Townsend is a worthwhile winter/late spring hike. There are actually four trails to the top, but I prefer the Upper Trailhead start. A semi-steep set of switchbacks above Camp Windy brings you to the intersection with the Silver Lake Trail at the three-mile mark. Stay right to crest the mountain, where on a good day you can catch a view of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, and maybe even downtown Seattle. The top is windy and if there’s snow on the ground, bring your hiking poles and crampons — actually, bring them anyway, just to be safe. How hard: Moderate to strenuous How to get there: Take U.S. 101 south from the Quilcene Ranger Station 0.9 miles. Take the slight right onto the Penny Creek Road and drive through the grounds of the Penny Creek Quarry. In 1.5 miles, take the left fork onto Forest Road 27 and follow it 13.5 miles before turning left onto FR27-190. The trailhead is at the end of this spur road. On the web: Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette.



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Winter 2016 LOP 23

Rural Roots = Homegrown Educators

Cultivating teachers on the West End

New teachers at QVSD gather for group photo in the fall of 2015, with Elena Velasquez kneeling in front. Story by Christi Baron, Forks Forum editor It has most likely always been a problem keeping teachers in Forks. For many first-year teachers coming to what may seem to them as “the end of the earth� is just too isolating. The Quillayute Valley School District was seeing a huge turnover each year. It was decided something needed to be done. Several years ago, the district identified the need to create a program that would better induct teachers into the community and schools. Because of

24 LOP Winter 2016

this planning, the district received funding in 2013 to support this work. Quillayute Valley School District became one of five school districts across the state to receive grant funding to support new teachers. The purpose of the funding was to create a systemic program that better served first- and second-year teachers, as well as any new teacher from out of the state.


The first year of true implementation was in 2014.

meetings once a month. Elena Velasquez, a 23-year“The whole point of the program was veteran homegrown teacher, to provide support so that continuspearheaded the program in ous growth occurs across all levels of her role as the district’s instructeaching. We were fortunate to have tional coach. She and a team the funding to put these systems in of teacher leaders design and place,” said Reaume. organize a two-day New Teacher The mentor program was such a Academy. Any new teacher success that the retention levels of could access the two-day trainteachers has greatly increased. In addiing, although new teachers were tion the district also has nurtured staff required to attend. from within and many homegrown Teachers were acclimated to teachers are now also on staff. the district, assigned a mentor Velasquez did such a great job with the teacher, took a tour of the Forks’ Elena Velasquez program that this school year she was greater community by bus, promoted to principal at Forks Junior High School. set up their classrooms, learned about the new Velasquez is now a homegrown administrator. Teacher Principal Evaluation Program (TPEP), as well a variety of other activities. Superintendent Diana Reaume said, “Elena IMMIGRANT TO ADMINISTRATOR Velasquez and her team created a welcoming “I moved to Forks when I was nine years old environment for our new staff. They specifically and started at Forks Intermediate School in the designed the first two days to demonstrate how Annex building that I now work in. My teacher important relationship building is to the climate was Mrs. Homberg. I didn’t speak a word of Engof a classroom.” lish when I arrived, but managed to hang in there Each new teacher also was assigned a mentor with the help of many caring adults. I especially with whom they met frequently. New teachers remember Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Halverson, Ms. Stewalso were required to attend monthly meetings. art, Mr. Darling, Mr. Daniels, Mrs. West and Mrs. They had an opportunity to observe master Datisman. I moved on to Forks Junior High, then teachers throughout the year, as well as had an high school to graduate in 1989. In school I was opportunity to be observed by their mentors. a girls basketball manager, on the drill team, a Mentor teachers were required to attend natural helper, in yearbook club, a member of special training by the state, as well as had an op- FBLA and a teacher’s assistant for Mrs. West.    portunity to be a part of the Teacher Roundtable I did not plan on attending college when I

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was in school, but ended up going to Peninsula College to begin a degree in business administration. A person that made a huge difference in my choice to attend college was Kay Klepe. Every time I told her I didn’t plan on going to college, she told me I was going. In the meantime I started volunteering at the school as an interpreter and was hired part time as a paraeducator.  After a few years working, I fell in love with the career and changed my pathway to education. I earned a bachelor’s K-8 teaching degree from Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Mass. I later earned an endorsement to teach Spanish, ELL and Bilingual Ed K-12.  I taught bilingual education in grades 6-12 for most of my career at QVSD. I also taught kindergarten and secondgrade bilingual for one year each.  I later earned a master’s degree in curriculum, instruction and assessment and continued to teach bilingual ed and Spanish as a world language. Three years ago I transitioned into an instructional coach for the district and focused on implementing a New Teacher Mentor Program in the district. I am now in my first year as an administrator at Forks Junior High School.   I am truly invested in the community and am committed to my role as an instructional leader to for the benefit of students. I love living in Forks. When I first arrived here in 1979, I remember crying every day, hating the cold and rainy weather, hoping that my family would move back to Juarez, Mexico. Now I plan on dying in Forks at the age of 105 or so.”

Once a 25 bed jail, Taps at the Guardhouse is now a place to shed your shackles and unwind! Enjoy a distinctly Pacific Northwest experience featuring local, seasonal and sustainable fare alongside regional craft microbrews, ciders, wines and distilled spirits. Open Daily at Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA Happy Hour•Monday - Friday•3 pm - 6 pm LIKE Taps on Facebook! Winter 2016 LOP 25

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26 LOP Winter 2016

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Providing Life Enrichment for Those with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Memory Loss Winter 2016 LOP 27

The Milholland family of Jefferson County makes community building and activism a regular part of their lives through their work and volunteerism in Port Townsend and beyond. Three generations pictured are, from left, Amanda, Nancy, Doug, Inez and Danny. Photo by Kathie Meyer

APPLES DON’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE Milholland family produces community builders Story by Kathie Meyer, Leader freelance Danny Milholland, 32, and his wife, Meredith, live in the same house he was born in, not a common occurrence in Port Townsend, increasingly populated by transplanted retirees. This house on Lincoln Street looks like any other Victorian home in the neighborhood, but once inside, the handwrought, built-in furnishings made from sturdy trunks of cedar announce it has been carefully tended by people who care about their surroundings, those who put their heart into every aspect of their lives. Danny is proud that he was born and lives in a house that sits on a part of Joe Kuhn’s ranch because Kuhn is where he took his inspiration from when he conceived of the annual Cake Picnic which occurs after the Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade. “For 30 years, (Kuhn) produced a clambake that fed the entire town,” Danny Milholland explained. The clambake began in 1879. Judge Joe “Uncle Joe” Kuhn was mayor of Port Townsend from 1883-1885 and again from 1890-1892. “At some point, a group of friends and I were brainstorming about what to do for Rhody Fest, to revitalize it and make it fun and exciting for us and our friends and the community,” he continued. “We came up with the idea of serving free cake to the entire town. It’s fun to see that tradition of feasting and celebration continue, which has been a big part of our life (growing up).” “Our life” also refers to Danny’s older sister, Amanda, 34, who moved as a baby with her parents, Doug and Nancy, to Port Townsend from Portland in 1982. Now, Amanda and Danny, both major players in community building just like their parents, are apples that didn’t fall far from the tree.

28 LOP Winter 2016

Despite being defeated in two races for the U.S. House of Representatives, Doug Milholland remains active in global issues such as nuclear disarmament. Here he is shown outside the Jefferson County Courthouse after a court appearance for an arrest while protesting at the Naval Magazine Indian Island. Photo by Nicholas Johnson Danny Milholland in 2015 helped launch a bigger and better Fort Worden Old-Fashioned Fourth of July community celebration, and at this moment, he even helped a child with the piñata bash. Photo by Nicholas Johnson


Activism and community building is a tradition that extends further back on both sides of the family than the two (actually three when you count Amanda and Gabe Van Lelyveld’s daughter, Inez, who is 15 months old) generations that live in Port Townsend. “I grew up in a family that expected social change would happen through their actions,” Doug said. Members of Doug’s mother’s family were conscientious objectors during the “popular and justifiable” World War II, he said. “If you really believed that ‘the other’ was part of God, you just wouldn’t be involved in killing them.” The same energy thrived on Nancy’s side of the family. “During the McCarthy hearings (in the 1950s), my mother would just cry because of what was happening,” she said. Once parents themselves, Doug and Nancy continued to work for a better world while their children watched. “For me, it started here in this house,” Amanda said. “There are a couple of pieces. One, my parents were part of a Sister City Project with Jalapa, Nicaragua, in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, my parents starting organizing for Rosewind (a co-housing development where Doug, now 67, and Nancy, 72, now live). From both of those things, Danny and I were frequently in the middle of very large gatherings at this house. That meant that there were things like consensus building workshops that we got dragged to.” Like most Port Townsend kids, Danny and Amanda ventured outside the city limits after graduating from high school. Neither was eager to leave, but both felt compelled to explore the world and find their own unique passion. For Amanda, that meant getting a bachelor’s degree at The Evergreen State College in Olympia and going into the Peace Corps in Uganda before landing in Portland, Ore.


For Danny, it meant traveling around Thailand and Central America. Eventually, he ended up in California working as a natural builder. Then, one night in 2005, while sitting under the stars in the stereotypical California hot tub on a chestnut farm, he received a life-changing phone call that told him his mother was critically ill after having both a heart attack and a stroke. In Port Townsend, as Nancy miraculously began to recover, the community they had built responded with food, financial support, singing songs and just showing up. “One of the things that became really clear to me in that time, and the months that followed, as we continued to get that kind of support, is that all of the investing in community our parents did was more valuable than any insurance policy,” said Danny. “People were just pouring in to love on our family.” As a result, Danny moved back home. After doing so, he recognized that natural building really wasn’t his passion. In his epiphany, he felt called to be a “community builder.” What that meant exactly wasn’t necessarily clear, but he knew that he networks well, inspires people and makes things happen. For a while, he worked and lived with Port Townsend’s “acrobaticalist” group, Nanda, as their manager in Portland, but eventually Port Townsend again called him home. Since moving back to Port Townsend in 2012, Danny has gotten serious about building his event promotion business, Thunderbull Productions. In addition to the Cake Picnic, Danny has either created or brought new energy to Boomfest, the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July at Fort Worden, the AllCounty Picnic each August which touts emergency preparedness, and the Chimacum Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair. His clients also include the Jefferson County Land Trust, the band Locust Street Taxi and Dove House Advocacy Services. Recently, Danny and his father collaborated to produce two events in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the tribe’s water source. While it is not easy to make a sustainable living wage at what he does, he hangs in there, and continues to dream. “Danny’s big wish now is to put on a North Olympic Peninsula cultural arts festival that celebrates the diversity and creativity of our peninsula,” Doug said.

Jefferson County Farmers Market director Amanda Milholland attended the Port Townsend market’s opening day festivities last May. Her relationship to food changed forever after working in the Peace Corps in Uganda after graduating from The Evergreen State College in Olympia. Photo by Nicholas Johnson

I think between the family and the community here, we grew up in an environment where there was a really strong sense of being connected to other people. — Amanda Milholland


Amanda, on the other hand, was called home when she and Gabe began to discuss what type of place would best suit them for raising a family. The couple wanted a community where kids could walk all over the place, maybe enter a friend’s house without knocking, and being welcomed when the occupants see who it is, said Amanda. In 2015, they made a leap and returned to Port Townsend before Inez was born in August. As a new mother, Amanda wasn’t sure how the Jefferson County Farmers Market director’s job would jive with taking care of a baby. She dismissed the idea more than once before she realized it was a perfect fit. The journey to this job began with Amanda’s Peace Corps experience. Living in Uganda changed her perspective about food, she said. When she returned to the United States, the myriad product choices overwhelmed her and she missed the personal relationship she had with food while living in Africa. In Portland, she began obsessively gleaning fallen fruit and canning it. She turned her yard into a garden and her neighbor’s yard, too. Once again in Port Townsend though, she wasn’t sure how to manifest her focus beyond having a personal garden and raising chickens. “I’d been moving in that direction (as the market director) for such a long time without knowing exactly what it was that I was trying to build,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve felt such a strong personal connection with what I’m doing.” Going forward with the market, she said her goals involve food security and access. Both Amanda and Danny see their issues as more locally based whereas their parents have taken on more global causes. While Doug has run unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representative twice, both Danny and Amanda haven’t given a run for office much thought. Both are fairly sure that any aspirations they may have would remain at the local level. “I think between the family and the community here, we grew up in an environment where there was a really strong sense of being connected to other people,” Amanda said. Understandably, both Doug and Nancy beam when their children’s accomplishments are discussed in terms of a family legacy. “Look at them! We couldn’t be prouder!” Doug said to smiles all around. Although he’s no relation, Joe Kuhn probably would approve as well.

Winter 2016 LOP 29

Kaiya Lily and Beverly talk with customers Haylee and Gail Troncone about the joys of dressing up.

BEVERLY MICHAELSEN AND KAIYA LILY: TAKING IT IN AND LETTING GO Story and photos by Katherine Darrow When Beverly Michaelsen and her then teenage daughter, Kaiya Lily Hubbard, made their way west from New York to Washington in 1998, they were answering to Beverly’s recurring lucid dreams that urged her to move across the country and open a vintage clothing store in Port Townsend with her good friend Gail Dahlman. The idea was first conceived while the two friends were on vacation; the Victorian seaside community called to them. Eighteen years later, mother and daughter are now business partners at Wandering Wardrobe, a consignment clothing business in the Fountain District at 936 Washington St., just a block south of Haller Fountain in central downtown Port Townsend. Kaiya Lily was just starting high school then and was happy to help out at the store when she had time in her busy student schedule. But, like many young people who grow up in small towns, she was eager to try something new and more urban, so during the past decade, she has done some wandering of her own. A few years after graduating from Port Townsend High School in 2002, she traveled across Puget Sound to Seattle, where she completed a degree program in Digital Animation and Multimedia Design with a Certificate in Illustration at Shoreline Community College. This led directly to a position with the college as a computer lab assistant until 2015. “Life in Seattle was good to me,” Kaiya Lily reminisces, “but I prefer the relaxed, rural lifestyle on the Quimper Peninsula.” She dropped everything and came back home to Port Townsend almost two years ago when her mom offered her the opportunity to be a full business partner. Her new focus is learning to do the accounting and other legal aspects of retail management so that she can be sole owner of Wandering Wardrobe within another year or two. Now in her early 30s, Kaiya Lily is ready to take the reins of the business and the title to the building, so that her mother can follow new dreams. “There will be challenges,” she admits. Among those are learning the names and faces of more than 3,000 consignment clients from the

30 LOP Winter 2016

region, many of whom Beverly has been doing business with throughout the past 18 years. Being a mother-daughter team also has some built-in hurdles. “We are both very strong-willed,” Kaiya Lily says, as Beverly nods in agreement. “But we are also willing to listen to each other and compromise.” “We complement each other very well,” Beverly summarizes. “Mom likes to bring things in,” explains Kaiya Lily, “and I like to thin things out. To me, everything in here is a magical treasure,” she adds. “Each item should be able to stand alone. I would like every piece on display to say ‘Wow!’” “We like to call Wandering Wardrobe a ‘destination treasure boutique,’ smiles Beverly. “Most tourists won’t find us unless they wander off of Water Street. We are a little bit hidden away up here, and when you find us, we hope you’ll feel like you’ve found something special.” Indeed, if you venture west from Water Street, Port Townsend’s main drag, and find your way to Wandering Wardrobe, you are in for a unique shopping experience, an adventure in itself. In many ways, it feels more like a fashion museum. Floor-length petticoats, lacy lingerie, tooled-leather jackets, period costumes and pirate gear are among the many items you can choose from. You also can search the Decade Rack, where styles are divided not by size but by the time period in which they were made or inspired from. Another corner is dedicated to Norwegian sweaters. All of these are offered at bargain prices, a fraction of what you would pay for similar haute couture elsewhere. Discerning shoppers also can find something from the popular and contemporary Free People or Anthropologie brands, or browse Beverly’s own line called Whimsical Wear. And, of course, there are plenty of options for accessorizing with scarves, hats, purses, shoes and antique jewelry. Kaiya Lily also offers her own line of earrings made by recombining old necklaces, gems and crystals. “We trust the mystery that people will bring in exactly what someone else is looking for,” says Beverly. “Every item comes in with stories and goes out to be part of new adventures.”

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Winter 2016 LOP 31

elaborately embroidered white gauze dress with spider lace details dating back to the Edwardian era (1901-1910) is neatly displayed on a wall behind the counter, along with several other singular vintage gowns. Beverly’s ebullient personality balances Kaiya Lily’s more reserved nature, just as the creative ensembles the two put together for in-store displays resonate perfectly. When asked what they appreciate most about each other, Kaiya Lily ponders for a while. “Her compassionate nature,” she answers definitely. Beverly says with equal certitude that she admires her daughter’s “strength and insight.” The mother and daughter team also blends personalities, voices and distinctive tastes in music on local radio, at 91.9 KPTZ, Port Townsend, where they back each other up to play a Sunday afternoon show called “Over Easy.” Beverly airs as “DJ Eva,” the name of her Dungeons & Dragons avatar; Kaila Lily’s handle is “Kung Fu Kitty,” a nickname given to her by a friend who was impressed with her uncanny skills at billiards. Those skills, plus her light-hearted but practical attitude will somehow come in handy, along with natural talents in design, as Kaily Lily gradually transitions the store into something more to her own personal tastes and interests. Both women have great trust in spiritual guidance that brought them here and in clear messages that it is time for Beverly to let go and devote more time to her many other passions, which include oil painting, costume design and bee-keeping. Until then, finding new treasures and matching them up with treasure seekers who discover Wandering Wardrobe, is exactly what both of them are meant to be doing, together.

Beverly evaluates a 1940s bolero jacket brought in by a consignment customer. It was accepted. Some of those include a dress one of her clients wore while traveling on the Orient Express and a wolf fur coat that was worn by another woman when she attended Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration back in January 1993. The journey of each piece of clothing is partly what inspired the name of the store. Both women have a knack for creating stunning outfits from the menagerie of clothing that clients deliver. A 1950s summer floral dress pairs perfectly with a beaded wool cardigan and is accessorized with a pearl-studded handbag. At the sparkle rack, a glittering red sequined pullover blouse is matched with a flouncy red skirt trimmed with satin ribbons and a one-of-a-kind purse decorated with feathers and faux crystal beads, circa 1960. Making a statement all on its own, an

Katherine Darrow is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.

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32 LOP Winter 2016


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Beverly shows off one of the oldest vintage items currently on the racks, a size 2, floor length silk dress, circa 1880s.


JANUARY PORT TOWNSEND & JEFFERSON COUNTY •  Gallery Walk/Artists Receptions, Port Townsend, first Saturday. •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Tri-Area Community Center, Chimacum, Jan. 28. Confirm at •  Strange Brew Festival, American Legion Hall, Port Townsend, Jan. 29-30. •  Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival, City of Angels Ensemble, Joseph F. Wheeler Theater, Fort Worden State Park, Jan. 15. SEQUIM & DUNGENESS VALLEY •  First Friday Reception & First Friday Art Walk, Jan. 6. •  Wednesday Morning Bird Walks, Railroad Bridge Park. •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Sequim Prairie Grange, Macleay Hall, Jan. 14. Confirm at •  Port Angeles Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Sequim Worship Center, Jan. 14. •  “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., Jan. 27-Feb. 12. PORT ANGELES •  Farmers Market, The Gateway, Saturday mornings. •  Studium Generale, Thursday, 12:35 p.m. programs, •  Peninsula College Little Theater. Second Weekend Art Event, downtown. •  Port Angeles Christmas Bird Count, Jan. 2. Contact to sign up. •  Port Angeles Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Jan. 13. •  Young Artist Competition, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles, Jan. 21. •  Snowgrass 2017, local bands, bluegrass, Port Angeles High School, Jan. 14. •  Comedy Night, Port Angeles Community Players, 1235 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Jan. 14.


SEQUIM & DUNGENESS VALLEY •  First Friday Reception and First Friday Art Walk, March 3. •  Wednesday Morning Bird Walks, Railroad Bridge Park. •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Sequim Prairie Grange, Macleay Hall, March 12. Confirm at •  Soroptimist Gala Garden Show, Boys & Girls Club, March 18-19. •  “Over the River and Through the Woods,” Olympic Theatre Arts, March 31-April 16.

There were large crowds on hand at the 2015 Clallam County Home and Lifestyle Show in Port Angeles. This year’s show will be at Port Angeles High School from March 11-12. Photo courtesy of KONP

•  Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby,

Port Townsend Boat Haven, Gardiner Boat Ramp and other areas, Feb. 17-19. •  Port Townsend Community Orchestra Winter Concert, Chimacum High School auditorium, Feb. 26. •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Tri-Area Community Center, Chimacum, Feb. 26. Confirm at •  Annual Shipwrights’ Regatta, Port Townsend, Feb. 25-26. SEQUIM & DUNGENESS VALLEY •  First Friday Art Walk, Feb. 5. Wednesday Morning Bird Walks, Railroad Bridge Park. •  Red Wine and Chocolate, wineries throughout area, Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 18-20. www.olympicpeninsulawineries. org. •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Sequim Prairie Grange, Macleay Hall, Feb. 12. Confirm at •  NPBA Building, Remodeling & Energy Expo, Sequim High School, Feb. 18-19. •  “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Olympic Theatre Arts, through Feb. 12. •  Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby, John Wayne Marina and other areas, Feb. 17-19. •  Sequim Irrigation Royalty Pageant, Sequim High School auditorium, Feb. 11.

FORKS/WEST END •  Quillayute Scholarship Auction, Forks High School, March 17-18.



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PORT ANGELES •  Farmers Market, The Gateway, 125 E. Front St., Saturday mornings. •  Studium Generale, Thursday 12:35 p.m. programs, Peninsula College Little Theater. •  Port Angeles Symphony Chamber

PORT ANGELES •  Farmers Market, The Gateway, 125 E. Front St., Saturday mornings. •  “The Haunting of Hill House,” Port Angeles Community Players, 1235 E. Lauridsen Blvd., through March 12. •  Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, Port Angeles High School auditorium, March 11. •  Clallam County Home and Lifestyle Show, Port Angeles High School, March 11-12. •  Second Weekend Art Event, downtown.

Orchestra, Port Angeles High School auditorium, Feb. 4. •  Second Weekend Art Event, downtown. •  Doll Show, Vern Burton Center, Feb. 4-5. •  Red Wine and Chocolate, wineries throughout area, Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 18-20. www.olympicpeninsulawineries. org. •  Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby, Ediz Hook, Freshwater Bay and other areas, Feb. 17-19. •  “The Haunting of Hill House,” Port Angeles Community Players, 1235 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, Feb. 24-March 12.


PORT TOWNSEND & JEFFERSON COUNTY •  Gallery Walk/Artists Receptions, Port Townsend, first Saturday. •  Red Wine and Chocolate, wineries throughout area, Feb. 11-12 and Feb. 18-20. For more information, visit

PORT TOWNSEND & JEFFERSON COUNTY •  Old Time Fiddlers Jam, Tri-Area Community Center, Chimacum, March 26. Confirm at

Winter 2016 LOP 33


ACORNS TO OAKS By the Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith We are now entering into the time of the year where the days shorten and the chill of winter invites us to snuggle down beside our hearths to celebrate the harvest and gifts of the year. It honors not only the harvest of this year’s crops, but the placing of seeds deep into the soil that in due time emerged and grew. The ancient traditions say that on the Winter Solstice/Christmas Eve, a spark of life is lit in the depths of all seeds that will grow into fullness with the coming of spring. And not only do the seeds light up, but the souls of the children who will be born in the next year are alit and then drawn into the light of their chosen families. The Season of Light sending forth sparks of life everywhere. This engenders true wonder as we imagine the powerful creative forces of nature and the universe. From the explosion of a star nova to the bursting forth from the earth of a plant to the intricate weaving of a human body. But it is not just on a physical level, but rather at every level of being. Corinne Heline reminds us of this in her classic book “Star Gates”: “Man is a universe in miniature. All that lies about him in the heavens and upon the earth have their small reflection in his being … So the great wheel of the universe turns, and to the man on earth it brings seedtime and harvest, light and darkness, heat and cold … Viewed with the eye of spirit, each season as it comes and goes renders its own unique contribution to the human unfoldment, and the gifts it brings are spiritual as well as material.” We live life in a continual process of seasonal changes and transformations. Like an acorn, we sometimes have no idea what the oak tree we will grow into will look like. As the oak, we sometimes forget the acorn we came from and the new ones we will produce. We tend to see the world from an outer perspective while within us a spark of potential always is calling us into new expressions. Rabbi Shoni Labowitz in “Miraculous Living”

34 LOP Winter 2016

reminds us of the power of this inner seedling that seeks nourishment and growth into expression: “Intention is the desire to make something happen before it comes into being … You were born from God’s intention, and what comes through you is born from your intention … When you unite your intention with God’s intention, heaven unites with earth, and infinite possibilities are born.” The Zen Buddhists say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. The first force is the acorn which is the seed holding all the promise and potential which in due season grows into the oak tree. Everyone can see that force at work, but only a few see another force operating as well. For the second force is the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing and guiding its growth into maturity. The oak tree in this respect actually creates and calls forth the very acorn from which it was born. Seed to tiny sprig to full tree while all the potential is held in both the tree that creates the acorns and the acorns that create the tree. Do you remember your first-grade science project when you put that little seed into a paper cup with moist soil and then waited to see what happened? That first sprig of green emerging from the depths of the earth invited wonder and amazement. In “My Grandfather’s Blessings,” the wonderful writer Rachel Naomi Remen shares a story of when she was 4 years old and her grandfather said he had a special gift for her. She was a bit surprised to discover it was a little paper cup filled with dirt. Then she learned that she would need to take the teapot and water it some every day and wait to see if anything happened. Not quite the fun gift she had hoped for. Her response was “What? Every day?” Rachel’s grandfather made her promise she

would do this. Out of love for him, she continued even when she resented it, complained aloud and even tried to give it back to him. Finally, one morning, a tiny stem with two delicate soft green leaves emerged from the soil in the paper cup. She ran with joy to her grandfather to show him what had happened. He told her that “life is hidden in the most ordinary and unlikely places.” She said in amazement, “So all it needed was water?” He smiled at her and said, “No. All it needed was your faithfulness.” Mary Manin Morrissey says that, “The universe can only do for you what it can do thru you.” Miracle workers don’t just say prayers and visualize. They act. They do things. They plant seeds, water them, nurture the seedlings and care for the full grown trees. They are simply faithful as the process of creation takes place. Each of us can create our lives from consciously allowing the light to spark within us just as with the seeds and acorns … and then grow into new possibilities like oak trees. Through our choices, we evolve. We can become the roots that hold us deeply attached to life, the branches in which the birds can safely nest and a strong trunk against which people can lean for support. We can then release new acorns to bless ourselves and others in the future. The time is ripe for harvesting what you have grown this year while allowing the quiet darkness of winter to be the womb of your new possibilities. So celebrate the oak trees in your life and plant anew the acorns they gift you with as life continually expresses in, through and as you. The Rev. Pam DouglasSmith is the minister at the Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center in Port Townsend who leads international spiritual pilgrimages. Contact her at

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Special Sections - Living on the Peninsula, December 2016  
Special Sections - Living on the Peninsula, December 2016