New Year toasts to ‘can-do’ folks

Nancy Hilliard
Around the Island

  • Wednesday, January 2, 2008 2:00pm
  • News
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island ReporterIsland resident David Beyl

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island ReporterIsland resident David Beyl

Nancy Hilliard
Around the Island

While 2008 creeps in on cat’s paws here, farmers Mike and Heidi Perioni and their new baby, Natalina, were evacuated by boat from their home and farm in Curtis, Wash., Dec. 10.

Mud and debris have mostly been cleared from their flood-damaged Boistfort Valley Farm, which supplies organic produce to 50 Mercer Island families. Thanks to volunteer crews, the Perionis now work from makeshift headquarters.

“We anticipate a full recovery, and plan to offer a 2008 community-supported agriculture program as usual, although the winter produce washed away,” says Heidi. “We’re trying to replace lost farm equipment, supplies and inventory — some of which we see stuck in fences as we drive along the roads. We’re determined to continue, and we feel so blessed that so many people have helped us, physically, financially, spiritually.”

Other New Year toasts are in order for:

Teresa Pilon is known as “the jolliest guard in front of the construction site at the 7800 Plaza,” said Denny and Mary Morrison, future unit owners. They often go there to “gaze down into the pit” and chat with her, and they learned she was a former banker. Evidently, her “less stress” career change agrees with her, as she has now become the “pleasant traffic director” who requests slow-downs and stops while building ensues. HMI Construction Superintendent Mark Olson agrees that Pilon is a pleasure to work with.

Lisa Getty is the can-do manager of MI Printing Plus who has won awards for her customer service. She has been thrown such curve balls as: “Can you print my signature on a round card” … “Please print this in white ink” … “Need it in an hour and need it shipped in a day.” She even figures how to print mailing labels that are spaced all wrong for traditional labels. She offers “orphan envelopes” in all colors and sizes, three for 25 cents. Her claim is that “if it’s possible in today’s print world, I can make it happen.” Her usual response is, “Sure.”

Cricket Cooper, Albertsons’ “goodwill girl” checker, brings sunshine to routine shopping. Her dangling earrings sparkle as she engages customers in chat. “Good morning, Don. How’re you getting along these days? Sorry to hear your wife’s not up to snuff. Wish her our best.” She says the hardest part of being in public service for 30 years (part of which was as a stewardess) is when customers move on. “They become family. I don’t like to lose them.”

Three generations of the Person family have pampered MI’ers and their cars at MI Service Center. Carl Person Sr., now 90 and still in his home by the library, began fixing cars in his neighborhood 35 years ago. Then, he set up shop where the Park and Ride now sits, and finally relocated to 27th and 80th next to the car wash. Ten years ago, Carl Jr. took the helm. And, when grandson Mike returned from New Zealand two years ago, he joined the family biz.

“There’s something really satisfying about hanging out here with dad and serving some of the same customers as grandpa did 35 years ago,” says the 26-year-old. “Uncle” Richard Person fills an office on the top level of the MISC building, where he designs homes and buildings. From engines to dwellings, Persons roll up their sleeves.

Bob Fenton, the shopping center’s postal carrier, is often seen bouncing from his truck in damp and 40-degree weather in his summer uniform shorts. “No problem,” he shouts, “after all, this is Washington state.” According to merchants, he’s as ebullient in service as he is in dress.

Anita Myrfors turns the tables on would-be cooks. First, you gather 14-18 friends who love to cook — in someone else’s kitchen — and schedule a date to “Cook with Anita.” Upon arrival at her MI home, you enjoy wine and nibbles and learn the recipes. Everything is provided for your teams to cook it up, as Anita cruises and coaches. Once the food is prepared, you become her guests at a table set with candles and flowers. Menus include international themes, all-American, seasonal food and “pure indulgences.” Way to shake the winter doldrums.

Laurel Nelms, a prolific Island painter, has lived here for more than five decades and shared her works with the public. In her mid-80s, with a failing memory, she and her husband, Dick, have prepared a solo show of her works, which opens Jan. 7 and ends Feb. 22. A reception will be held at 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, in her honor.

Lucky Louie’s at it again. The poodle is practicing “Downward Facing Dog” yoga moves with his mistress, Eve Green, at the Seattle Humane Society in Eastgate on Sundays beginning Jan. 6. He and Eve will “deepen their connections” via massage, stretch and relaxation. You and your pooch can too with instructor Brenda Bryan, who has 8 Limbs Teacher Training and is a licensed massage therapist. E-mail or call (425) 641-0080.

To contact Nancy Hilliard, e-mail her at

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