By the time you read this, I’ll hopefully be back in the wonderfully green state of Washington. I’ve spent much of the past week visiting a daughter and my wife’s old haunts in Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas.
Hopefully some of the sunshine followed me.
While on our short stay, I revisited my “Could I live there?” checklist — a quick rundown of places I’d consider living before I find some minor (or major) issue with said locale, scratch it off my list and happily return to the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.
It took less than 12 minutes to check Albuquerque off my list. We had just signed off on the rental car when our clerk waved us toward our vehicle, smiled, glanced at my Seahawks hat and said, “Go Niners.” Check.
Our next stop was Santa Fe. Beautiful place. Nice places to eat. Friendly people. But going for a five-minute jog at that elevation felt like doing wind sprints. Plus, I got an anti-dog feeling in the city. Check.
Next was Las Cruces. Another sunshiny spot boasting 90 degrees when the weather report back home read 50 and raining. Nice! And then I saw it. Or didn’t see it, to be accurate. No expanse of water. No lush, green forests. No snow in the mountains. And though my wife insisted winter eventually comes, I got the feeling that just meant a stronger breeze and low 60s. I need some real sign of winter, even if it’s six months of 40 degrees and gloomy. Check.
Finally, El Paso. I noticed an awful lot of Dallas Cowboy hats. And shirts. And posters. And keychains and jerseys and flags and jewelry and … check.
It’s good to be home.
As Sequim school leaders take a hard look at what voters will and won’t support for a possible construction bond in 2015, many eyes will be upon Port Angeles. Our peninsula neighbors are seeking a bond that would pay to essentially replace the 61-year-old Port Angeles High School. Cost estimates are either $118 million (with a new gymnasium) or $99 million (without).
The Port Angeles school board got a look at an advisory group’s recommendation and is expected to vote on putting the bond construction proposal in mid-November and send it to voters in February — quite possibly on the same night Sequim voters will be looking at a school bond construction proposal to build a new elementary school and additional classrooms at Greywolf Elementary and Sequim High School. Sequim’s board, you may recall, asked voters to consider spending a similar amount to rebuild Sequim High School as part of a $154 million overall bond earlier this year that was, to put it modestly, soundly defeated.
My guess is that SARC’s board of directors may be interested to see how the folks in Port Townsend fare as they try to convince the community to consider a $11-$13 million proposal for a new YMCA aquatics/rec/health center.
Proponents of the project believe it can be self-supporting within two years based on 1,300 family memberships, but the entire price tag would have to be raised by community.
Speaking of schools …
A Gazette reader stopped by the office to show me a headline and accompanying article from a recent New York Post article, one lauding female students (“Girls rule! Outscoring boys on NY math tests”). Just 35.2 percent of girls in grades 3-8 are passing mathematics exams (to the boys’ 33.4 percent). As ugly as those stats were, it’s much more impressive than their scores from last year; the girls’ scores are up 5.2 percent, and boys’ are up 4.1 percent. In an impressive display of grasping the obvious, author Elizabeth Green said the results were nothing to crow about since both two-thirds of boys and girls are not meeting standards. “We don’t teach math very well in school,” she told the Post.
I know you’ve been waiting. The What To Do With The Kids® Fourth Annual
Best/Worst Role Models for Kids list is out. Fair warning: Parents, there may be some names on this list you may not recognize — other adults, there may be a name or two on this list you DO recognize.
Best Role Model for Girls: 1. Jennifer Lawrence (actress), 2. Michele Obama (First Lady), 3. Taylor Swift (singer/actress), 4. Malala Yousufzai (Pakistani activist for the rights of girls) and 5. Mayim Bialik (actress).
Best Role Model for Boys: 1. Justin Timberlake (singer/actor) 2. One Direction (musicians), 3. Peyton Manning (pro athlete), 4. Josh Hutcherson (actor) and 5. Bradley Cooper (actor).
And now, the other lists …
Worst Role Model for Girls: 1. Kim Kardashian (reality TV star), 2. Miley Cyrus (actress/singer), 3. Niki Minaj (singer), 4. Lindsay Lohan (actress/singer) and 5. Amanda Bynes (actress).
Worst Role Model for Boys: 1. Kanye West (singer), 2. Justin Bieber (singer), 3. Robin Thicke (singer), 4. Chris Brown (singer) and 5. Ryan Lochte (reality TV star/Olympic athlete).
There you go. Anyone you’d bump/add to the lists?
Speaking of role models …
The “Boys in the Boat” are going on a boat — kind of.
Fans of Daniel James Brown’s “Boys in the Boat” book will love this. Judy Willman, daughter of Joe Rantz (Joe is the primary protagonist of James’ best-selling book) and Judy’s husband Ray are special guest presenters on Beautiful Celebrity Solstice, a luxury cruise ship making its rounds to and from Alaska. The Willmans are bringing memorabilia and even Joe’s gold medal from the 1936 Olympic Games to show off.
Rantz, formerly of Sequim, was on the University of Washington’s eight-man crew team that won gold in the 1936 Olympic Games. Brown’s book about Joe and the UW “boys” is being made into a movie.
Tickets go from $1,196 per person (stateroom, no window) to $1,616 (balcony stateroom).
Tourism on the water
Keep an eye on the Maritime Heritage Act (HR 5038). Reps. Derek Kilmer, 6th District, and Denny Heck, 10th District, have called for the leaders of the House Committee on Natural Resources to consider their legislation to create a Maritime Heritage Area in Washington.
The Maritime Heritage Act would cover most of Western Washington’s saltwater shoreline and help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development and maritime history as told through Washington’s museums, historical ships, fishing culture and other activities.
It would be the first National Heritage Area established in the Pacific Northwest. The nation’s other 49 designated National Heritage Areas promote local economic growth and tourism and preserve sites and landmarks with “cultural and historical significance.”
Heritage Area designations are eligible for federal grants and can help draw contributions from state, local and private sources. They also help coordinate marketing and tourism promotion like develop websites, put up highway signs to advertise sites, sponsor festivals and publish brochures and tour maps.
In Port Townsend on Oct. 15, Kilmer spoke with stakeholders about the act and stressed the bill is non-regulatory.
“There is no regulatory authority associated with this, no impact on property rights. It’s all voluntary to participate,” Kilmer told the Port Townsend Leader.
Reach Sequim Gazette editor Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.