Odds, ends from the editor’s desk — Dec. 17, 2014

Get ready for the hordes arriving en masse — again. For the umpteenth time, Sequim is on another “great place to retire” list.

Get ready for the hordes arriving en masse — again.

For the umpteenth time, Sequim is on another “great place to retire” list. The fawning admirers this time are from grandparents.com — yes, you read that right, grandparents.com — who placed our fair town on quite an exclusive list: the “Six Best Cities to Retire … in 10 Years.”

Joining Sequim are: Huntsville, Ala.; Mount Dora, Fla.; Dahlonega, Ga.; Chattanooga, Tenn., and Bluffton, S.C.

Why 10 years from now? Grandparents.com calls these places the “unsung heroes of retirement — those places that don’t always make the national top 10 lists but are a boon for retirees nonetheless.” Apparently they haven’t read all the publicity Sequim gets year after year …

And why just six cities rather than 10? No idea.

The site did mention many of Sequim’s highlights — the great weather, the lavender, etc. — but grandparents.com’s description of Sequim seems to me a little curious.

For example, the website indicates that Sequim is “nestled between the snow-capped Olympic Mountains and Salish Sea … “ Well, OK, technically that’s true.

Sequim also is nestled between the Olympic Mountains and, say, Canada, or between the Olympics and the North Pole, but I think most folks would have an easier time placing it between the Olympics and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. But maybe I’m being picky.

In another instance, the site’s description of Sequim indicates that “this Pacific town is also home to another unique (and tasty!) cash crop — Dungeness crabs — which are harvested nearly year-round from November to July.” Well, true, they are found here — but not exactly unique. The crabs are found along the Pacific Ocean — California, Oregon and Washington. And Sequim is not really a “Pacific” town, is it?

Am I being too picky? Perhaps. But this one got me:

“If outdoor recreation isn’t your thing, Sequim has a thriving cultural scene and is only a short drive to Seattle or a 30-minute ferry ride to Vancouver (just don’t forget your passport!)” OK, where to start. Never mind the subjective phrases like “a thriving cultural scene” and “short drive to Seattle” … a 30-minute ferry ride to Vancouver? Let’s a try a 30-minute ferry ride to another town for a 90-minute ferry ride … to Victoria. I mean, a 30-minute ferry ride might put Sequim squarely in the middle of the … wait for it … Salish Sea.

Look, I’m sure they meant well. Whoever is writing these pieces is probably not getting a lot of direction — or doesn’t have access to something resembling an encyclopedia — so there are a few glitches here and there. Understandable. But let’s give the hordes of soon-to-be-retirees across the nation more accurate details of our little town before they pack up, move here and start looking for that ferry to Vancouver.

What a splash

Last week’s torrential rainfall was impressive, sending the Dungeness over flood stage and reminding us of the power of Mother Nature. Local videographer John Gussman captured some great footage that he posted at vimeo.com/114099320 featuring compelling footage of the Elwha River roaring and raging.

Other than power outages and some downed trees, power lines and a neighborhood bridge in Port Angeles, it looks like the peninsula came through this storm relatively unscathed. Jefferson County may have taken the brunt of it in our area. However, it should inspire some of us (myself included) to get our home emergency kits updated … or started.

Driving high

As several news outlets noted last week, a recent survey indicates that many Washington residents who use marijuana admit to driving within a couple hours of smoking it. The survey polled 940 people in six counties (Kitsap, King, Snohomish, Spokane, Whatcom and Yakima), and nearly 70 percent said they had smoked marijuana at least once. Out of those, 44 percent said they had driven within two hours of using pot.

Full results of the voluntary and anonymous poll of drivers completed by Pacific Institute for Research Evaluation won’t be complete until some time next year.

Has the legalization of marijuana led to more stoned driving in Washington? Hard to say, as the Kitsap Sun notes, because the state doesn’t have a separate law against driving under the influence of pot (it’s classified as driving under the influence).

Of those who took the survey, just 3 percent who admitted to driving stoned said it made their driving worse. A little more than 60 percent said it didn’t make any difference and 25 percent said it made them better drivers.

And if you really need some sleep …

The 55th edition of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s quarterly performance report is out! The 55th edition of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s quarterly performance report is out! Just what you wanted for Christmas!

OK, I mock, but a lot of hard work was put into the so-called “Gray Notebook” (online at wsdot.wa.gov/publications/fulltext/graynotebook/Sep14.pdf).

The edition details everything going on with state transportation projects and departments, ranging from how incident response teams keep traffic moving on state highways to how reliable ferries were during the quarter.

It’s also filled with statistics the average state resident can’t possibly put in perspective (like $475.5 million — the backlog of unmet repair and replacement needs for state transportation capital facilities) and others that seem to have at least two edges to them (statewide traffic congestion increased 1.5 percent between 2011-2013, great for the economy and terrible for commuters).

The report devotes a little less ink than may be expected to a rather embarrassing WSDOT gaffe: Big Bertha, the largest tunnel boring machine in the world, and as of this writing the world’s largest broken boring machine in the world.

Built specifically for the state’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project, Bertha broke in December 2013 after hitting some metal pipes that broke its cutting blades, and the machine has been shelved  since.

After a year-long-plus repair job, Bertha is supposed to be back at work in March 2015 to finish the estimated remaining 89 percent of the job.

Reach Sequim Gazette editor Michael Dashiell at editor@sequimgazette.com.


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