Cheers to some fun-loving Mercer Islanders | Column

Islander Grant Callahan, 8, is happy to see the metal book returned to the sculpture of two children in front of The Mercer. Callahan first noticed that the book was missing last January.  - Contributed photo
Islander Grant Callahan, 8, is happy to see the metal book returned to the sculpture of two children in front of The Mercer. Callahan first noticed that the book was missing last January.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Plenty of ways to catch the Summer Celebration wave, July 12-13: Sign up to help MI Chamber of Commerce sell Dove Bars, register to march in the parade, buy your tickets for Sunday’s Pancake Breakfast, make a date for the Car Show, and plan naps for the young ones, so they don’t miss the 10 p.m. fireworks at Luther Burbank Park.

Party-on: Brice York, on a recent Saturday night at the community center, turned 40 with a “dance your pants off” party. Planned by his wife, Megan Nichols, the party included a DJ, smoke machine and “New Wave” ’80s videos. Favorite treats of the ’80s were York peppermint patties, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Skittles packs with Brice’s picture in his “Skoochie’s Dance Club” attire and lots of cold drinks. A mid-party delivery of Dick’s cheeseburgers for all made the dance marathon complete.

Ultimate partier: Andrea Lorig — oh yes, and Bruce — co-celebrated turning 70 in a horse meadow near Bridal Trails State Park with 160 other revelers on a recent Sunday. Accouterments for the catered affair in a tent were shovels for picking up horse apples that crossed partiers’ paths. Checkered tablecloths, enamelware, margaritas, bluegrass band and pies instead of birthday cake set the scene. “At our 75th, we plan to invite the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” jokes Andy, who still keeps a stable of 15 horses — down from 70 earlier!

No formal send-off for John and Jane Nelson, as the Islanders of 30-some years uproot on July 11 and transplant to Emerald Heights in Redmond. “Because we’re not leaving, just moving,” says Jane. “We’ll stay connected to our Island groups and friends.”

Jane’s involvements included the Environmental Council, MI Design Commission, Arts Council, Friends of the Library, AAUW Chapter President. She also started the Ivy Brigade in local parks and was culinary writer for the Reporter. John was founder and past president of the Arts Council, Probus Club and the Community Fund. He was also a ski school chaperone, past president of the Congregational Church, City Council member, Rotary Club president and District Governor, song leader and choir member, Summer Celebration parade announcer, and oh yes, 1991 Citizen of the Year.

John is known by most as a songster and limericks aficionado. His parting shot:

The Nelsons will be close by

Returning quite often on the


Because friends are here

Whom we hold quite dear

And to reconnect and say


Waterkeepers ’r us: As you kayak, boat, bicycle, hike and romp around Puget Sound and its river and lake sources this summer, keep your eyes peeled to spot polluters, urges Islander Susan Gebhardt, on the board of Puget Soundkeepers.

From its weekly boat patrols, Soundkeepers have spotted signs of soap, cleaners, excess debris, water discoloration or turbidity from paint, oil, sewage, sanding dust, or other industrial discharges that have led to 84 actions against illegal polluters.

“We are citizen watchdogs to assist the DOE [in maintaining] its mandates,” says Gebhardt. Another local spinoff of the global Waterkeeper Alliance, headed by Bobby Kennedy Jr., focuses on monitoring the stormwater runoff at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard. According to the DOE, stormwater runoff carries six to eight million gallons of petroleum into Puget Sound each year. To learn more about beach cleanups, riparian habitat protection, storm drain filters and more, go to or

CSAs, Community-Supported Agriculture shares, are late this year, but Boistfort Valley Farms began delivery of MI boxes of organic produce on July 7 with such treats as radishes, mint, baby carrots, strawberries, lettuces, chard, beets, baby bok choy, cilantro and a bunch of flowers — in spite of last winter’s Chehalis River flood.

MI’s own Sunday Farmers Market begins on Aug. 10 at Mercerdale Park, where regionally grown produce will be sold weekly until Sunday, Oct. 12. Its slogan is “Into Our Arms from Local Farms,” thanks to IslandVision. For more information:

Harvests from Island pea patches that include flowers, strawberries, peas, lettuce, rhubarb and raspberries are coming on. Chuck and Judy Wischman’s legendary fig tree is loading up for the Aug. 23 “Fig Fest,” and the birds, squirrels and a nightly raccoon are stripping our cherry trees, leaving thousands of pits to sweep from the driveway. Bon Appetite, wild things.

Mission Accomplished: Grant Callahan, 8, is happy to see the metal book entitled “Standard English Grammar A – Z” returned to the sculpture of two children in front of The Mercer. Grant first noticed that the book was missing from the statue last January and sniffed out its disappearance. He asked police, the MI City desk, The Mercer and its maintenance staff. He found that the book had become loose and was removed until the weather got warm enough to re-glue it. The discovery became fun for him, said Grant’s father, Tom, who enjoyed seeing Grant’s curiosity and perseverance in action.

Final tribute: Dave Paul’s life will be celebrated at a mass today, July 9, at St. Monica Catholic Church. A military ceremony will also fete him on July 25 at Tahoma. He and his wife, Judy, had a lifetime of collections that filled two homes. Dave collected vintage toys — tin noise-makers, board games, tops, windups, kazoos — everything he ever wanted in his childhood that he didn’t have as a foster kid, Dave said. Last year, he explained that in his early adulthood, he had decided to celebrate life to its fullest and his collections surely proved that. Hats off to a guy who knew how to extract joy from life.

To contact Nancy Hilliard, e-mail her at

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