May 2013 more I

May 2013 more I (6)

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 16:07


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Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Jaxin Patrick got a surprise visit at his Evergreen Elementary school from his dad, Nathan Patrick on April 23. Patrick, who works as a electronics technician with the U.S. Navy, returned early from an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan. Jaxin Patrick, 6, had no idea his father was coming home. “I thought it was a dream. I was really surprised to see him, and I missed him so much,” he said. Visit for more homecoming images.


Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Nathan Patrick and his family are all smiles as they leave Evergreen Elementary last month after a surprise visit.


Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

Father and son spend a special moment after being apart for more than eight months.

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:55

Popular KP winery is up for sale

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Before it was Trillium Creek Winery, it was a tiny ad in the Tacoma newspaper that read: Three parcels of land totaling nearly 12 acres of blackberries, trees and possibilities.

Claude Gahard had been making raspberry and blackberry wines for 20 years before moving to the Key Peninsula in 1992. In 2000, just prior to planting their Pinot Noir vineyard, his wife Claudia told him: “You’re French, let’s make wine ...”

They did. It was educational and fun, and soon turned into a labor of love lifestyle.

“It was luck and divine guidance,” said Claudia Gahard. “We didn’t know they (the grapes) needed to be planted on a hillside.”

In the years before the first crop was harvested, the couple had designed and built their dream French farmhouse.

The two-bedroom home, complete with a den/office, features open-beam ceilings, hardwood floors, a brick fireplace and stainless steel appliances.

The happy-go-lucky duo added an Alsatian cottage tasting room, a rockery, a shop and a large underground wine cellar to the Home-area property.

Gahard continued his career as a commercial pilot while his wife worked on the property between his junkets with Continental Airlines, until he retired after 18 years of service.

Gahard said he met with Gerard Bentren from Bainbridge Island Winery for grape-growing and wine-making tips and contracted with Paul Burgess vineyards to purchase bulk Syrah, Merlot, Riesling, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties from Eastern Washington.

The winery buys between 30,000 and 50,000 pounds of grapes every year to make low sulfite (50 parts per million) wines. “There are no headaches and no hangovers,” Claudia Gahard added, “but you can’t store them on the top of your refrigerator.” 

She said the two of them are solid business partners. “Claude takes care of the inside and I take care of the outside.”

They met in a grocery store in Oak Harbor, where Claudia worked in public relations. She said the chemistry between them was “instant.” They will celebrate 35 years of marriage in September.

The Gahards have recently put the winery up for sale with Wilson Properties.

The couple plan to build a bed and breakfast winery in Lake Chelan after their granddaughter graduates from high school in two years. When it happens, they plan on being open during the summer months.

“I will deliver to my best customers,” Claude Gahard said.

Gahard said about half of his present customers have become good friends, most of whom prefer wines made in the French style. 

“This is a people business. It’s all about personal relationships,” he said. During tastings, he emphasizes wine and food pairings, in the French tradition.

“No matter how you feel when you come in, you leave happy,” Claudia Gahard said.

For information, call (253) 884-5746.

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:51

Annual pinewood derby rolls through Vaughn

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Last month, the Key Peninsula Lions-sponsored, Boy Scout Pack 222 rolled into the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

The place was abuzz with fun and excitement. Kids and their parents were seen shuffling into positions in a multitude of body contortions, yelling, urging their homemade vehicles to accelerate down a ramp.

This year, Pack 222's derby was professionally created, elaborate and technically designed.            

For as long as scouting has been around, groups of kids have looked forward to this annual competition to see how their crafted wooden cars fared with others. 

The scouts’ cars race down a long ramp with four slotted tracks.

The ramp is elevated at the start gate (end) before the cars are released down a sloping track where gravity –– the motivating power –– swishes them about 50 feet where they bump to a stop at track's end, often with a whack.

This group’s finish line was different. The end was scientifically cushioned in such a way that the cars lined up in the order in which they finished. The results of each race were then projected on the ceiling, with computerized exact times electronically announced. 

Nowadays, organizers said that almost every vehicle is made from a Boy Scouts of America kit.

In the past, they were carved out of chunks of wood on which wheels were mounted. Today's cars are assembled by the cubs, frequently with the help of an adult, almost always, dad.

They are decorated and painted in whatever way the kids wish. They must meet weight standards and other details of the regulated contest rules.

Pack 222 spokesman Billie Bowen was there, and was just as fired up as  most in the gym. Excitement was in the air, cars lined up on a display table in the KP Civic Center for all to admire. 

“The Pack 222 boys have been working hard designing patterns, putting the cars out on build day, sanding, painting and adding finishing touches,” Bowen said.

Siblings and parents also worked on their cars, as there were also sibling and adult races. 

Bowen said there were sharks and Batman and Hulk-themed cars.

“Some were hot dogs, and classic race cars painted in the most awesome colors. The pride in the boys’ faces as they show off their cars is obvious and great to see,” he said.

The goal behind the Pinewood Derby races is to have fun. Each car races four times, and as they race down the track, kids and adults alike cheer and congratulate each racer no matter what order they place, he said  

"The derby is more than about just winning. It’s a time for children to learn sportsmanship and to develop a lasting relationship with an adult role model. As in all aspects of scouting, the Pinewood Derby help boys develop skills, confidence and self-esteem,” Bowen said.

Key Peninsula Master’s Dry Carpet Cleaning business started April 28, 1998.

Last month, owners Tom and Julie Boardman celebrated 15 years of successful operation with a fundraiser for the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

The couple’s celebration party was held at Blend Wine Shop, in Key Center. It was a festive occasion and a unique way of giving back to their community.

Cleaning services were raffled off during the event, with all proceeds to be donated to help support the civic center.

Some 15 years ago, while working as auto body repair person, Tom Boardman began suffering from exposure to work-related chemicals. He needed a different line of work with an instant income. The couple quickly researched business opportunities.

Julie Boardman said they contacted a carpet cleaning supplier who changed their lives.

“He gave us supplies, equipment and training and sent us business customers. In less than a month we were trained and earning an income,” she said.

Their business has blossomed since then because the two take the time to get to know each of their customers very well.

“We serve the needs of each person. The majority of our customers are women because they focus on detail,” she said.

The couple maintains those relationships –– mostly repeat customers –– serving clients in Seattle, Kirkland, Tacoma, Kitsap County as well as the Key Peninsula.

Their children, Ben, Heather, Jessie, and Becky Boardman have grown up with the business. All are highly-qualified carpet cleaning specialists producing the same quality cleaning as their parents.

According to Julie, the largest carpet the family ever cleaned was an 18,000 square foot church multi-purpose room. It took the entire family, including an exchange student living with them, two days to finish. The oldest job Master’s Dry Carpet Cleaning did was cleaning an area rug more than 100 years old.

Blend was filled with many longtime customers and friends who were quick to recommend the quality service provided by Master’s Cleaning service.

“Julie and Tom just cleaned my carpet yesterday. They did a great job,” Sylvia Haase said.

Barbara Heard said that Tom and Julie really “understand the science of dirt.”

In addition to running their business, the couple returned to take on an active role helping to run the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Tom Boardman is a member of the board and Julie became the executive board secretary one year ago.

“I’ve been on the civic center board for 32 years. We missed them when they were off the board. We’re so glad they’re back,” Claudia Loy said.

Tom Welch was the lucky first-place winner, getting $400 off any cleaning service. Second and third prize winner, Mark Roberts, won a love seat upholstery cleaning (or comparable) and bottle of wine.

For information, call (253) 858-6477 or visit

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 15:39

Community Café forum comes to the KP

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The Mustard Seed Project of Key Peninsula hosted its third Thursday Community Forum on April 18 at Key Peninsula Community Services (Home Senior Center).

They were asked by Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources to partner on the event after a similar interactive session about two years ago.

This is the first of three such planning events around the county this spring:

Pierce County Community Connections -- Aging & Disability Resources (ADR) is hosting a series of Community Cafés to learn from older adults, adults with disabilities, community leaders, family members and service providers what essential services and supports are needed to create livable communities for people of all ages throughout Pierce County.

During the event, participants addressed critical questions about what challenges exist in becoming a community for all ages, and what role Pierce County can play in helping to address these challenges.

According to Edie Morgan, Mustard Seed founder and executive director, insights gained at these events will be used in developing ADR’s 2014-15 Area Plan Update, ADR’s guide for planning and funding programs and services that can best serve older adults and adults with disabilities in Pierce County, including the Key Peninsula. 

“This is an important and infrequent opportunity to help with community planning for seniors at the county level,” Morgan said.

By Scott Turner and Charlee Glock-Jackson, KP News

Cyndi Cashman and her husband have lived in the Key Peninsula for some 25 years.

Back in the ‘80s she and her husband were teaching in the Alaska bush when she got hired to teach at Evergreen Elementary.

In 2007, Cashman met Carmela Micheli, owner of a Montessori school in Tacoma.

“Carmela asked me if I would be willing to come to Tacoma one day a week and do a music program for her in her school,” Cashman recalled.

Cashman was soon teaching both music and non-violent communication at the Tacoma school.

Last fall, Cashman transferred to Micheli’s new Arcadia Montessori School in Gig Harbor, located on three-and-a-half acres of forest on Crescent Valley Road.

“Cyndi works with music and she uses her non-violent communication training to help our children learn what their needs and feelings are and how to express them,” Micheli said.

Cashman also shares her non-violent communication skills at Minter Elementary where her three children attend.

Cashman is also “very environmentally friendly,” Micheli said. That’s important because Crescent Creek runs through the back corner of the Arcadia property, and walks through the woods to the creek are part of the Montessori school’s environmental education curriculum.

“We also go out into the yard every day and learn about what’s going on,” Micheli added. “We do art and painting of the trees, and we do watercolors out in the yard.”

Arcadia offers classes from preschool through third grade and also includes daycare. Micheli said the location is convenient for Key Peninsula families.

“It’s only a few minutes to the Purdy bridge and straight down 144th Street, so we have easy access to the Key Peninsula,” Micheli said.

Arcadia has another Key Pen connection. “It was built by Pete Grobins and Grobins Construction,” Cashman said. “It’s a beautiful building and Pete did an incredible job with it.”

Cashman is very fond of the Montessori curriculum, especially as it’s practiced at Arcadia.

“When I was a parent of young children, I was really looking for a way for my kids to really explore their learning process, not necessarily through the traditional preschool environment,” she said. “I wanted my daughters to have the freedom to learn what they were curious about –– and that’s what Montessori does.

“We have a little opening circle where we talk about peace and kindness and compassion. We also talk about the project we’re working on –– like right now we’re working on animal tracks. Then the children decide what they want to study, maybe they want to work with numbers or geography. They can work with the number board or work with maps,” Cashman said.

She said the students get a very independent kind of learning, with the goal of prepping them for kindergarten.

Cashman said teachers also put an emphasis on socialization.

“That’s a huge part. You’re getting a 3-year-old into a community of kids learning how to be kind and compassionate, how to use their words. It should be the norm,” Cashman said.

Even the childcare kids are included in the Arcadia learning experience.


Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

 Trevor Easley, 5, takes a closer look at one his treasures he found while exploring the grounds at Arcadia Montessori School


“They get a Montessori experience throughout the day. It’s a continuing learning process that never really stops,” she said.

“My girls transitioned from (the original Gig Harbor) Arcadia to Minter, and they were very successful at Minter. They came in with some wonderful skills,” she said.

Micheli, the Arcadia school’s owner, “has a real interest in the Key Peninsula,” Cashman said. “She’s a former resident. She lived out here three years ago and she loves the culture of KP. We want to bring that culture and energy to Arcadia.”

For information, call (253) 858-1114 or visit