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Carolyn Wiley

Carolyn Wiley

On the fourth weekend of every June since 1933, amateur (ham) radio operators across the nation have participated in “field day,” the largest ham radio event of the year.

Saturday, 29 April 2017 11:29

Devil's Head Diary: State Budget Views

What’s Happening with McCleary and fully funding state K-12 education?

On day 91 of the 105th day of the 2017 Washington State Legislative Session, it looks like fulfilling the state constitutional mandate to fully fund basic education will be unmet. The House and the Senate are fairly close in the dollar amount listed in budget proposals, but there is still a huge gap in strategies for raising the funds.

Saturday, 29 April 2017 10:47

New Owners Work to Bring Back Faraway

Taking on the restoration of historic sites requires a special sort of person and Brook Hurst Stephens is one of them.

Rob Dubinski was hired in January as volunteer coordinator at The Mustard Seed Project, the latest sign of an elder-friendly community becoming a reality on the Key Peninsula.

Park Ranger Janet Shonk hopes that many Key Peninsula residents will be drawn to Penrose Point State Park Sunday, April 30, to help celebrate ShellFest.

Thursday, 02 March 2017 10:22

Mount Everest Veteran to Speak on KP

Longtime Mount Everest climbing guide Dan Mazur will speak to students at Evergreen Elementary School and to the public at the Longbranch Improvement Club March 15 for the benefit of the Longbranch Foundation Scholarship Fund. His mother, Mary Mazur, lives in Longbranch.

Thursday, 02 March 2017 10:01

Evergreen Elementary School Goes to Camp

Thirty-six fifth-graders from Evergreen Elementary School spent three days and two nights in February in the Outdoor and Environmental Education program at YMCA Camp Seymour on Glen Cove, learning about natural resources, exploring ecosystems and improving their outdoor and group-building skills. The program is designed to supplement and enhance state learning standards.

Thursday, 02 March 2017 09:56

Devil's Head Diary

Our Legislature and Our Schools: The 2017 Legislature is faced with difficult decisions as it tries to comply with the state Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary ruling ordering the state to fully fund basic public school education, but there are several points of agreement between the Republican and Democratic positions.

Tacoma Power will replace the transmission towers in Henderson Bay and Burley Lagoon in late 2017, if the required permitting is approved. The four steel-lattice towers in the water and on the Purdy Spit will be a replaced with a single, taller pole in the lagoon. The four towers on land on both sides of the lagoon will be replaced with four single-pole transmission towers. Tacoma Power will also create a new nesting site for the ospreys that have used the lagoon towers for decades.

Sunday, 29 January 2017 13:51

Devil’s Head Diary

Blue-Tarp Beautification and Appliance Migration

People lucky enough to reside in areas of great beauty are naturally inspired to delve into artistic expression. The side effect is that, per capita, people in the Puget Sound area spend more time on the fine arts, literature and cultural entertainment than in any of the contiguous states. This investment in leisure pursuits is only exceeded by their investment in boats, but that is understandable—just look around.

The desire to make things more beautiful affects the way Puget Sounders take care of their stuff. For instance, a November wind sends a limb through your roof, requiring an immediate, albeit temporary, fix. Right away, you go to into beautification mode. After all, you can’t do much about a hole in the roof until the rains stop—say in mid-May or later. So, you head out to Home Depot and invest in the universal fix. Even if you don’t get around to fixing the roof in the dry season, it’s no problem—blue tarps usually last a couple of years. You have to admit that a cheery flash of color gleaming through the trees on a dreary winter day lifts the spirits of all who pass by.

Curiously, blue-tarp beautification is prevalent in areas affected by the magnetic forces that are released by sun flares. The magnetic phenomenon, known as appliance migration, usually starts with small things, like toaster ovens and such. These small appliances begin to congregate and, if left unattended, the combined magnetic energy intensifies until hot-water tanks and stoves are pulled right out of the house and into the front yard. The stuff may sit there ignored and exposed to the elements until the magnetism becomes so strong that the whole pile trundles over to be with the old cars behind the barn. Since the pile of stuff seldom grows after installation of a blue tarp, we can assume that blue tarps act as some kind of magnetic shield.

One of my friends was telling me about some new arrivals who had just bought a place on the Key. They were asked what attracted them to the area. The newcomers explained that it was because they were impressed with the number of swimming pools that showed up in the satellite view on their Google search.

Although I’m a fan of local beautification efforts, I had never considered the economic impact that a few well-placed blue tarps could have on neighborhood property values.

Perhaps it is about time for us to start showing a bit more appreciation and respect for all the blue-tarp people who go the extra mile to enhance the image of our Peninsula.

I feel inspired to invest in some backyard boat beautification myself.


Carolyn Wiley lives in Longbranch.

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