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On Monday, Nov. 21, the Vashon Maury Island Community Council will host three speakers: Sergeant John Hall of the King County Sheriff’s Department, who will discuss the drug, crime and safety issues on the island; real estate agent Jean Bosch, who will explain house sales and foreclosure statistics; and Paul Reitenbach, King County Councilman, who will take comments and answer questions about the draft of the King County Comprehensive Plan. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at McMurray School.

Selective thinning of young Douglas fir trees and harvesting a stand of mature red alder in Vashon Island’s Island Center Forest (ICF) will help improve overall forest health and also provide income for additional land-management activities on the 363-acre forest.

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks staff and the Vashon Forest Stewards will share information on these proposed forest-management activities at the Nov. 15 Friends of Island Center Forest meeting

October 20, 2011. Vashon Island, my house, 4:40am. This is the last article in the Amanda Knox series; she is home, looking to the future and Vashon has been euphoric for the past few weeks. When she visited Thriftway recently, she received hugs and accolades from the folks who saw her at the store. No I haven’t seen her; I’m not her personal friend, but felt enormous relief to see her at SeaTac surrounded by her family. Someday, if it’s meant to be, I’d love to give Amanda the biggest hug, but I’m completely fine just having her home. To tell the truth, all I need to be happy is to see her hugging her Dad and Mom.

 October 4, 2011, 5:13pm PST, SeaTac Airport.  The British Airways jet touches down and Amanda Knox is home!  Those are the words that I have wanted to print for years.

October 3, 2011, 1:30 am PST, Raffaele Sollecito’s statement to the court:  “I never hurt anyone, never in my whole life.  The charge against me, it was so outlandish that I thought that it could disappear within a little amount of time, everything could be clarified.  But this did not happen and somehow I had to endure and go on day by day and I’ve been living a nightmare. 

VashonBePrepared and the Carnation-Duvall Citizen Corps Council were both honored with the first-ever Executive’s Awards for Community Preparedness.

"When storms knocked out power and blocked roads last winter, I saw first-hand how members of VashonBePrepared jumped into action to open warming shelters and deploy a ‘bucket brigade’ to distribute fuel for generators – keeping Island residents from suffering in the cold," 

Most of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close for nine days beginning Friday, Oct. 21. Want to know how to maneuver through the maze and on and off the West Seattle Bridge? Come to the Vashon maury Island Community Council at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17. A representative of the Washington State Department of Transportation will discuss the implications of the closure especially on the use of the West Seattle Bridge. The meeting will be at the McMurray School.

As most know by now, the news on the budget front is not good. The revenue forecast for the 2011-2013 biennium (July 2011-June 2013) dropped last week by $1.4 billion. That is a significant drop given that the general fund budget, which funds education among other programs, is $32 billion. There is pessimism regarding the November revenue forecast which may bring revenues down again. The Governor and Legislature are probably looking at a $1-$2 billion deficit in the current biennium. For this reason, the Governor has announced that she will call the Legislature back into special session November 28th in advance of the regular session that begins in January.  

An Italian appeals court has thrown out Amanda Knox's murder conviction and ordered the young American free after nearly four years in prison for the death of her British roommate.

Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict was read out Monday.

On September 23, 2011, the closing arguments began for Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s Appeal for the murder of Meredith Kercher. As you read this, the prosecution and Raffaele’s lawyers are done, Amanda’s lawyers will be presenting on September 29, followed by rebuttals on the 30th. Amanda and Raffaele will also read statements and we should hear a verdict between October 1st and 5th.

It is extremely important that we get an inventory of our tidelands economic and jobs potential. Bill Rowling has made a motion at the VMICC that we send a letter to the state requesting an inventory of our economic and jobs potential of the tidelands surrounding the islands. We need your vote to get this done so please turn out.

A four-year study to evaluate the role of nitrogen in observed late summer, low-level dissolved oxygen events in Quartermaster Harbor has passed the half-way point, and study participants want to share their updated findings with the public at an Oct. 12 workshop.

King County, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, the University of Washington-Tacoma, Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and the Vashon-Maury Island Groundwater Protection Committee, will provide the progress report in a workshop beginning with an open house at 6:30 p.m. followed by a presentation starting at 7 p.m. in the Vashon High School Commons.

Much has been written lately, in these pages and beyond, about the current plan of Vashon Allied Arts to construct a new performance venue. To voice my agreement with Steve Amos’s recent article that the arguments in its favor outweigh those against, I would like to add a few comments regarding acoustics and other issues specifically related to performance. It is especially worth considering how the new venue would compare to those already extant on the Island. While we performers are very grateful that these spaces are available to us, we are also

September 5, 2011 marked the arrival of the last phase of Amanda Knox’s appeal and Island supporters were glad to see the end in sight, the past year has been stressful but the court has been fair throughout this ordeal and we are hoping for a just outcome.  Amanda and her friend, Raffaele Sollecito, have spent nearly four years in prison for the murder of Amanda’s British roommate, Meredith Kercher. 

A murder that they did not commit.

September 11, 2001, 5:50am PST, Vashon Island, my house, blue skies, sunshine, a perfect fall day, a perfect day all over the United States of America.

Relaxing with a cup of coffee in hand, I turned on the Today Show and realized that one of the World Trade Center towers was on fire, it had been hit by a plane.  My first thought was a prayer for the people in that horrific situation and my second was “that hole is huge.”  Then a passenger jet came into view and struck the other tower, it was 6:03am PST and 2977 innocent people would lose their lives that day.

King County Parks is proposing to limit deer hunting at Island Center Forest on Vashon Island to a 17-day period in October, when all other access to the public open space would be prohibited.

Under the County’s proposal, hunting would occur Oct. 15-31, and hunters would be required to purchase a modern firearm hunting license. Bows and arrows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, revolver-type handguns or shotguns would be allowed; center-fire or rim-fire rifles are prohibited on Vashon Island.

The agreement that would have made Tom Bangasser the Owner and Publisher of the Vashon Loop and several website relating to Vashon Island is off the table.

Steven Allen announced late Friday the he has withdrawn from talks that would make Bangasser the Owner. While not elaborating on the details, Steven Allen the current owner and publisher of the Vashon Loop, said that the wording in the formal documents to be signed were too far apart from the original verbal talks  

Vashon Park District Commissioners announced August 26that they have hired Jan Milligan to fill the position of Executive Director to be vacated by retiring Wendy Braicks at year-end. Milligan will start working with Braicks at the Park District October 17. Braicks will leave the post in November. 

Recent tobacco retailer inspections on Vashon Island found three out of four retailers selling tobacco to underage teens. This is a startling reversal from inspections between 2005 and 2009 when there were no sales to minors. Overall, King County’s high retailer compliance rate has dropped over the past two years from 96% in 2009 to 89% in 2011. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be providing students in grades from 3rd Grade through High School an opportunity to participate in VFW Sponsored Youth Essay Contests that provide recognition and cash awards from the VFW Post, VFW District, State of Washington and National levels. The Washington State sponsored Youth Essay Programs include 3rd through 5th Grades; the National Patriot’s Pen Programs includes 6th through 8th Grades and the National Voice of Democracy includes 9th through 12th Grades.

 Decrease the risk or impact of serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease?

Shape up Vashon, or SUV for short, is a new Vashon initiative for people of all ages designed to create a fun and supportive community to improve health and well-being. 

When you join SUV, you set your own goals and then we help you achieve them with incentives, prizes, health tips, classes and connections to Vashon's many ongoing fitness and health activities.

September 5, 2011, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s appeal trial for the murder conviction of Meredith Kercher reconvenes after summer break and we expect to see the prosecution’s rebuttal continue. At the end of July we left off with the prosecution foot-dragging for an entire day asking inane questions to the independent experts who had reviewed key pieces of the DNA evidence from the Trial of First Instance in 2009.

Controversy over, well, everything... is more or less a Vashon Island tradition. In this respect, a little controversy around the planned Vashon Center for the Arts is evidently business as usual. So we at the Loop decided to review some of the issues to see if a new arts center had some merit.

After lots of work installing the motor in the wagon and managing all kinds of logistics we made it to the NW Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent. Since we are local we were able to get in line really early and therefore score a fantastic pit area, close to the starting line and right on the the path to the grandstands.

Amanda Knox, our local lass who’s murder conviction is on appeal in Perugia, Italy, won’t be in court again until September 5th, so while we are recessed I’d like to chat about something that has been on my mind as I have researched Amanda’s case; her plight has continually reminded me of personal safety and awareness of surroundings.