Illahee 1/7/17 Photos, Preserve Bear Sighting, Kitsap Sun Articles, Wed Port Meeting, Big Squid

Photos.  The following photos are of common mergansers.  A flock of several hundred landed in Illahee on Thursday afternoon and quickly found a school of fish to chase toward shore where they are easier to contain and consume. 

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Bear Sighting.  Periodically bears have been seen in the Illahee area, and on Thursday morning at 5:50 am a small bear, estimated height of 3 to 3 1/2 feet, was reported going through a garbage can at the bus stop next to Kitsap Mental Health.  He was chased away and went back into the Illahee Preserve.   The bear was identified as a youngster which are typically pushed away by the mama bear this time of year as they prepare to den up for the winter.  The youngster bear was evidently looking for an easy meal and garbage cans are an easy mark. Kitsap Transit was asked to pick up the trash and install some critter proof cans.  Below is a photo of the transit stop we took today, without a garbage can.
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Kitsap Sun Articles.  The New Year’s Memorial run in the Preserve that was mentioned in our last update was covered in detail by the Kitsap Sun, see below.
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Also in local papers was the press release regarding the Supreme Court upholding newer stormwater rules, see below. This most likely affects the All Secure project next to the Illahee Preserve as its stormwater design was considered vested long before the statewide rules changed in 2015.  The project was appealed by Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group because of wetland and stream buffer concerns and is scheduled for a March 2017 hearing.  
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Port Meeting on Wednesday.  The Port of Illahee meets on Wednesday (1/11/17) and we hope to hear what was found from the contamination sampling that was done around the underground gas tanks at the former Illahee Store and if the Port is still interested in purchasing the property.  The meeting time is 5 pm and the public is invited.  Below is a photo of the sign that is put out before their monthly meetings.
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Big Squid.  Just before the cold snap hit with its 20 degree temperatures, squid fishing was good and the squid were big.  It was so good the seals were hanging around at the dock evidently enjoying them also.  The low temperatures and the cold north wind kept all but the hardiest squid fishermen away this past week.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 12/29/16 Photos, New Year’s Day Memorial Hike, Shelter Preparations, Preserve End of Year Financial Support

Photos. Thanks to Chris for the photos below “from yesterday’s walk, a Brown Creeper and a Hairy Woodpecker! Other species observed included a Golden-crowned Kinglet and several chickadees. Even in a slow time of the year there are many forest residents making their way in the Preserve.” 

 
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New Year’s Day Memorial Hike/Jog.  While taking photos of the future shelter site (see next item) Tabatha was putting flagging out for a New Year’s day memorial hike/jog that was advertised on several Facebook sites for a 9 am start.  We said we would let people know what the flagging was for in case they wanted to join in.
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Shelter Preparations.  A recent trip to the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot found some grading work being done.  The East Bremerton Rotary Club has approved building a picnic shelter at the Almira entrance and the site looks like it is nearly ready for the install to begin.
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Preserve End of Year Financial Support.  We were requested to note that the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) group, the 501.c.3 non-profit group that supports the Illahee Preserve, is in need of financial support.  Funds are used primarily to purchase properties like the 25.5 acres in 2015, and legal costs associated with trying to protect wetland and stream buffers.  Contributions to the IFP are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and need to be postmarked by Dec 31, 2016 to be credited to 2016 taxes.  Contributions can be mailed to:  Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3, Jon Buesch Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd NE, Bremerton, Wa 98311.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/25/16 Photos, Preserve Garbage Dumping, Guard Rail Damage, Mail Theft Chase, Goose Road Crossing?

Photos.  Thanks to Chris for the following photos taken in the Preserve last week.  We need help coming up with wildlife photos and really appreciate contributions like these!

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Preserve Garbage Dumping.  This was found at the Thompson Lane parking lot on Friday.  Volunteers usually find a way to take care of most dumping, but this was about 20 big bags so a call was made to the Park’s Department to see if they could help.  The second photo was some dumping along side another road in the Illahee area.

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Guard Rail Damage.  We saw some questions about a guard rail that was damaged near the Illahee Creek culvert so we took some photos.  The guard rail is designed to absorb the energy when impacted and that is what it did.  It sheared off two posts at it’s base, and then folded the steel rail like an accordion.  In the old days the old style of guard rails would have caused major damage to a vehicle and anyone inside.  It appears the people must have driven off after the accident based on the input below from the property owners.

We’re not aware of any one being hurt, or what caused the damage. The police do not have a report in their records.  We were  gone between 12:30 – 2:00 PM on Thursday, 12/22/16. Surprised when we returned home.

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Mail Theft Chase.  We came across the scene below on Saturday and found it had just happened during an attempt to catch someone stealing mail on School Street.  They said they were chasing a gray Mazda 3 hatchback when they lost control going around the corner.  They were disappointed when a deputy said he couldn’t help them despite their seeing the person going through mail boxes and stealing the mail.

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Goose Road Crossing?  There are a number of Canada geese in the area north of the Illahee Community Dock and as they consume more and more grass they are crossing Illahee Road.  There were residents who at one time wanted deer crossing signs along Illahee Road, and may now want goose crossing signs?

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Jim Aho

Illahee 12/18/16 Photos, Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans, Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward, Purchase Price?, Contamination Testing

Photos.  The last ones being of Illahee Creek and the culvert.

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Illahee Preserve 2017 Plans.  We came across a document that we aren’t sure if it is still official.  We think it should be as it highlights future and ambitious plans for the Illahee Preserve, including plans for “TE Phase II” for a “Proposed South Entrance, Homestead Park, & Native American Exhibit” that seems to be overtaken by recent events.
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Reduced Timbers Edge Moving Forward.  The Timbers Edge development was greatly reduced (by two-thirds) with the purchase last year of the 25.5 acres.  The hopes for state grant funding for the remaining third did not materialize, so unless something extraordinary happens, there will be a 45 lot reduced development on the site.
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We saw comments (by a member of the group that initially opposed TE) regarding the reduced development that indicates the owner and developer worked collaboratively with the community to ensure if a development went in it would not impact the base flows of Illahee Creek. 
 1.  They gave us an opportunity to purchase the most sensitive riparian parcels, and we did with the purchase of the 25.5 acres for the Illahee Preserve.  Not only did they give us the opportunity, they also contributed significantly themselves.  How often does that happen?
 
2.  Our hydrologeolgic studies noted the impact of sewers and the tightlining of the stormwater, on the base flows of Illahee Creek, and this amended application eliminates the sewer line in favor of a community drainfield, and the stormwater is being infiltrated on site.  They listened to us when we said the soils in this plateau area are nearly perfect for infiltration.  The planned drainfields and stormwater infiltration areas mimic the natural conditions existing on the site and will therefore continue to support the critical base flows in the creek.
 
3.  While it would always be nice to have larger lots the density is roughly 4 homes per acre and they are permitted (grandfathered) up to 9 homes per acre.  They are basically abiding with our Illahee Greenbelt Zoning of 1 – 4 homes per acre, which is almost unheard of for a property like this.  I don’t know how we could do any better with density.
 
4.  Additionally, they gave us an opportunity to look over the preliminary plans and determine access points for the Preserve and the drainfield area provides a nice border on the west side.
 
5.  And most importantly, if we should be able to come up with purchase funding, they will sell us the property.  This is another unbelievable gesture on their part.  Our problem is with timing at this point as we are up against the project clock that requires them to begin the project this coming Spring of 2017.  
 
6.  We worked hard this year trying various avenues for funding with the major emphasis on RCO funding and we eventually found a funding source that used our previous purchase as a match.  Kitsap County Parks even hired a contract grant writer to assist and we were hopeful until at the very end we realized state wide competition was rough and we didn’t fare as well as we hoped.  We did get verbal support for a 2017 appropriation this upcoming 2017 legislative session, but it wouldn’t be available until summer at the earliest, which doesn’t meet the project start date (though it could work only if the start was slow until the funding was secured.)
 
7.  The bottom line — my assessment is we are most fortunate to have a property owner and a developer who have bent over backwards to work with us.  There may be a few minor details to work on if we don’t come up with the purchase funds, but overall things couldn’t have gone better and I have a great respect for Mr. Tallman and Mr. Johnson, and thank them for patience and generosity.
Purchase Price?  Inquiries regarding what it would take to purchase the development.  Without an Options Agreement it would be guessing but think the earlier $970K could be reduced to about $820K.  One person is willing to start a fund with a $10K gift and a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA was received recently.  If there is enough interest a capital campaign can be organized.  Let us know if you would like to help with a campaign or to contribute, or just want further details and we will pass the information on.
 
Contamination Testing.  This past week an environmental firm came to test the soil around the petroleum underground storage tanks at the Illahee Food Store site.  We watched the process with great interest and when those drilling and preparing the samples were seen smelling a particular sample and said it smelled of gas, we can only conclude contamination will also found by the testing lab.  
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p1030199Evidently the Port also felt this was a good possibility as we found the following resolution on their website:
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We will continue to follow this story as there are many concerned about the store being vacant and abandoned for nearly 15 years, and have expressed support for the Port acquiring it.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/11/16 Photos, Humming Bird Correction, Illahee Preserve Work Party, Old Gas Tanks Inspected, Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday, Port Meeting Wednesday

Photos.

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Humming Bird Correction.  Thanks to Paul for correcting me as I incorrectly identified the humming bird in the last Update.   
 
The exposure is a bit dark, but the hummingbird in the photo appears to be a male Anna’s hummingbird.  If the photo was taken recently, the photographed bird cannot be a rufous.  Rufouses winter in Mexico and along the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The larger and hardier Anna’s hummingbirds are year-round residents in western Washington.  Anna’s hummers are the birds hitting the hummingbird feeders hard right now.
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Illahee Preserve Work Party.  A week ago a small group of Olympic High School volunteers helped haul rocks, which are many times heavier than wood chips, to fill a particularly wet section of a trail.  
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Old Gas Tanks Inspected.  The Department of Ecology recently conducted their routine inspection of the gas tanks at the Illahee Store.  The inspector said she would like to have these tanks taken care of as they have not received the required cathodic protection (necessary for steel tanks) when the power to the store was shut off many years ago.
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Illahee Store UST Drilling Monday.  We found some colorful “locate” markings around the vacated Illahee Food Store the other day and understand soil testing will occur Monday, to determine if the underground gas storage tanks ever had any leaks.  We also noted the septic system was checked the other day and the drainfield lines located. 
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Port Meeting Wednesday.  Just a reminder the Port of Illahee monthly meeting is this Wednesday (12/14/16) at 5 pm.  Also a reminder that two port commissioner positions will be up next year and interested residents need to apply in May for the November 2017 election.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 11/30/16 Photos, Buglary, Sea Lions Eating Salmon, Timbers Edge Notice, From 110 to 45 Lots, Illahee Creek Friendly, Purchase Option?, Major Contributor Ideas?, Donation Opportunities

Photos.  A Rufous Hummingbird and a Barrow’s Goldeneye, the first with the dock in the background, and the second next to the dock.

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Burglary.  There was a burglary at a home on Illahee Road on Monday afternoon, that was evidently interrupted when the residents returned home after being away for a few hours.  The homeowners feel the thief or thieves left quickly after seeing them pick up their mail by the road as both back and side doors were wide open.  They ramsackled the lower floor of the house and took jewelry, antiques, silverware, computers, etc.  What was particularly disturbing is they turned off the power to the house at an outside box that would shut down any alarm systems and evidently entered the house breaking through a window.  In other words it appears to be professionals who did this.
 
Sea Lions Eating Salmon.  There have been some big sea lions in the area and difficult to get good photos of them.  Residents report seeing them catching and eating salmon, with one salmon, estimated to be about 12 pounds, big enough that the sea lion had trouble getting it into his mouth.
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Timbers Edge Notice.  Notices of Application were received by a number of adjacent residents and residents who were previously concerned about the Timbers Edge project.  For those who didn’t receive the post card notice this is what it looked like.
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From 110 to 45 Lots.  As mentioned in the notice this is an amendment to what was originally proposed which significantly reduces the number of home sites (from 110 to 45), which is due to the purchase last year of two thirds of the project area (25.5 acres) that was added to the Illahee Preserve.  The purchase cost was $565,000 that came from citizen contributions, the property owner, and a state salmon grant.  This left the 10.7 acres that will be developed if not purchased.  
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Illahee Creek Friendly.  This amended development proposal is a good one for Illahee Creek in that maximum infiltration helps support the base flows in Illahee Creek, especially during the summer when the stream requires a good source of water stored up in the shallow aquifer.  Better yet would be its purchase for the Illahee Preserve!
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Purchase Option?  While there is no options agreement to purchase the property, there was an understanding that if the necessary funds could be raised by the end of the year, the property owner and the developer would be willing to sell.  
 
Major Contributor Ideas?  What we need now, in one last ditch effort, is to identify any individual or group that has sufficient funds to purchase the remaining 10.7 acres.  Let us know if you have any suggestions!!!!
 
Donation Opportunities.  This is a reminder that the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) is a non-profit 501.c.3 group incorporated to support the Illahee Preserve and donations and contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.  
 
Also, for those 70 1/2  who need to take out their IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) this year, those funds won’t show up as income if they are directed by the financial institution to the IFP.  Talk to your financial advisor about this option or let us connect you with someone who might be able to help.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 11/21/16 Photos, Wildlife in the Road, Owl, Wigeon Return, Preserve Garbage, Tree Cleanup, Philanthropic Gift Sign, Store Progress, Thanksgiving Thought

Photos.  Carrier and submarine movement, along with the recent special moon.

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Road Wildlife.  Reports of wildlife in the road this past week included two coyotes, a flock of Canada geese crossing the road, and a rooster pheasant.

 
Owl.  We sometimes hear owls late at night and long to see and photo graph them so we are especially thankful for John sharing this photo with us.

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Wigeon Return.  It is assumed the same flocks of ducks return to the same place each year, and this is verified when the same Eurasian wigeon is in the flock.  The flock numbered 157 wigeon the other day.
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Preserve Garbage.  A call came in that a bunch of trash was dumped at the Illahee Preserve’s Thompson Lane parking lot and dogs were spreading the trash around.  Before we could get up there another call came in from a volunteer park steward that he had cleaned it up and had 8 bags of trash to get rid of.  Thanks goes to John who was also the one who put out the fire earlier before it could spread.  It is volunteers like John that keep our park clean and open. 
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Tree Cleanup.  Earlier an update had photos of tree damage to two cars and a car port.  The area was in the process of being cleaned up and nearby trees taken down.
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Philanthropic Gift Sign.  Many don’t realize that there is a non-profit support group that raises money for Preserve acquisitions, projects, and legal battles, and that gifts such as the one shown in the photo are needed and appreciated.  Thanks for those who remember the Illahee Forest Preserve, a 501.c.3 non-profit corporation, and as such, gifts are generally tax deductible.
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Store Clean Up.  The work party on November 12th not only cleaned up the mess created when vandals trashed the former store, but they also temporarily covered the hole in the roof to prevent further water damage.  Thanks to the 9 people who showed up to help including one younger person, who was especially helpful.
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Thanksgiving Thought.  In the most densely populated area in the county the Illahee Community stands out with three miles of waterfront, a state park, a community dock, a salmon stream (Illahee Creek), and the Illahee Preserve, a 572 acre treasure of forest, trails, and Rolling Hills Golf Course, not to mention all the wildlife that live here.  Have a great Thanksgiving!
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 11/10/16 Photos, Trophy Deer, Veteran’s Day Run Cancelled, Port Offer to Purchase Illahee Store Accepted, 90 Day Inspection Period, Vandalism Cleanup Work Parties Begin Saturday, Dumpster Ordered, Pump Removal Friday, Work Plan, Community Saturday Help?

Photos.  

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Trophy Deer.  Illahee has some big deer with bucks whose antlers are large enough to score in Boone and Crockett’s ranking system.  We know this because the antlers from a found dead buck were sent in for scoring.  We will try to find out more on the score.

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Veteran’s Day Run Cancelled.  This event that was to occur on the 10th was cancelled for unclear reasons, which someone speculated it could be because of the lack of restrooms at the Preserve, and the cost of portable toilets for events.
 
Port Offer to Purchase Illahee Store Accepted.  At the monthly meeting of the Port of Illahee it was reported the Port’s offer to purchase the store was accepted on (11/9/16), with the final details being worked out with the title company.  This is good news to many in the community who are anxious to see the abandoned store cleaned up and used.  
 
90 Day Inspection Period.  Lots of inspections need to happen with the major one being the underground gas storage tanks, the septic system, the building and the many building systems.  
 
Vandalism Cleanup.  In support of the needed inspections, the vandalism that occurred within the last year or so needs to be cleaned up.  
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Dumpster Ordered.  A dumpster has been ordered and should be delivered on Friday (11/11/16) and ready for a Saturday work party.  
 
Pumps Removal Friday.  Just inside the doors are the two gasoline pumps that are scheduled to be removed on Friday.
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Work Plan.  Basically the work involved will be clean up the vandalism and the results, which is the water and water damage resulting from the theft of the roof air conditioner and the hole that was left, and possible other roof leaks.  Light bulbs were also smashed to there is glass on the floor.  Several gallons of paint were also spread around the building.  The goal is to clean in up enough to make sure we have good inspections.
 
Community Saturday Help?  Community members have asked if they can help and this is a good first opportunity for those who don’t mind cleaning up a big mess.  An initial work party is scheduled for Saturday (11/12/16) from 9 am to 12 pm.  
Next will be to temporarily tarp or patch the holes in the roof and any suggestions would be appreciated.  
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/30/16 Photos, Deer Report, The Loser, The Winner, Vandalism & Theft Reports, Barker Creek Beaver Dam, Veteran’s Day Run

Photos.  Another winter waterfowl species has arrived, buffleheads, along with Halloween.  

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Deer Report.  A report of a blood trail from some fighting bucks was a good reason to change a jogging route and found a WDFW representative already there, along with the couple who came across it, checking on the deer.
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The Loser.  The deer was alert and resting behind a house.  We have no other information and presume it recovered.  
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The Winner.  Nearby was the assumed winner with his doe.  During the rut season these deer seem to lose all fear of humans as they barely moved as we walked by on the road.
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Vandalism & Theft Reports.  We saw reports of vandalism and mail thefts on the Illahee Community Facebook page.  Be vigilant.
Barker Creek Beaver Dam.  A 2007 Illahee Creek Watershed report recommended beavers be introduced so when we saw this beaver dam on Barker Creek we thought we would take its picture.
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Veteran’s Day Run.  We were asked what kind of ship the USS Maine is, the sponsor of the event, after seeing the information about the Veteran’s Day Run.  
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It is a submarine (SSBN-741).  For history buffs the first ship with the USS Maine name has quite a history that extends to relatively recent documentaries.  Wikipedia has an extensive report on the first Maine which included the following paragraph:
 
Maine is best known for her loss in Havana Harbor on the evening of 15 February 1898. Sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, she exploded suddenly, without warning, and sank quickly, killing nearly three quarters of her crew. The cause and responsibility for her sinking remained unclear after a board of inquiry investigated. Nevertheless, popular opinion in the U.S., fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the “Yellow Press” by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, blamed Spain. The phrase, “remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain”, became a rallying cry for action, which came with the Spanish–American War later that year. While the sinking of Maine was not a direct cause for action, it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/26/16 Video of Illahee Bucks Fighting, Buck Shrub Damage, Coyote Notice, Preserve Camp Cleaned, Illahee Store, Port Draft Budget, Public Hearing, Two Port Positions Open, USS Maine Veteran Day Run

Facebook Video of Illahee Bucks Fighting.  An amazing video of two Illahee buck deer fighting was on the Illahee Community Facebook page. The Carlson’s were kind enough to share it and we put it on a YouTube link https://youtu.be/udB2F1khHfc.  Below is a snap shot still from the video.  People can also request to be added to the Illahee Community Facebook page where the video resides along with other interesting information, like the coyote notice later in the Update.

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Buck Shrub Damage.  For some reason area bucks have been using blueberry bushes to take the velvet off their antlers, which essentially destroys the blueberry plants.  They destroyed two plants earlier this fall and another large one a couple of years ago, that is still recovering.

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Coyote Notice.  Another item from the Illahee Community Facebook page.  “There’s been a report of a large coyote in the area of Sunset Ave near the golf course.  Neighbors saw it trying to get through a fence to get to their dogs at approx 4 am.  Yelling and rock throwing didn’t phase it.  Just a heads up to keep an eye on the pets.”
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Preserve Camp Cleaned.  This camp was next to the location of the fire that was put out on Sept 12th.  It is believed to be the same person and note there is newly burnt wood which is evidence of another fire was being used and a violation of Preserve policy.  Thanks to the Preserve Stewards, and to John P. in particular, who helped fight the earlier fire and cleaned up this camp.
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Illahee Store.  Permission was obtained from the lawyers to replace the locks at the Illahee Store after the keys were lost.  It gave an opportunity to see the vandal damage inside the store and the hole in the roof where they gained entrance, not to mention the water damage from the hole in the roof.  We understand the proposed purchase and sale agreement has NOT yet been signed so there will likely be no further progress until an agreement is reached.
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Port Draft Budget.  The Port has posted its 2017 draft budget at the Port’s community kiosk and on its website:  portofillahee.com.
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Public Hearing.  A public hearing on the budget will be held at the Port’s regular monthly meeting on November 9, 2016 at 5 pm.
 
Two Port Positions Open.  There will be two open Port commissioner positions (a 6 year term and a 4 year term) voted on in 2017 and those positions need to filed for in just 7 months (May 25-19, 2017).  The budget meeting is a good one to attend for those who are interested in learning more about the port and what it does, in addition to the Port’s website.
 
USS Maine Veteran Day Run (Military Only).  On November 10th (the day before Veteran’s Day) there will be a Veteran’s Day Run through the Illahee Preserve scheduled to start at 1:45 pm.  The Preserve is a mostly unknown treasure in the broader community so it is good when others find it and use it like this.  
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Jim Aho