Illahee 7/14/17 Preserve Fire Danger, Illahee Store, PLIA Grant, Contamination Testing, Deer Reports, Pigeon Guillemot, Illahee Day 2017

Preserve Fire Danger.  The Preserve is very dry so please watch out for fires.  There were some scary moments last year that we don’t want repeated, as local fire fighters are not equipped to fight a forest fire.
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Illahee Store.  Lots of action this past Wednesday and Thursday at the former Illahee Store site.  

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PLIA Grant.  The Port was successful in obtaining a Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) grant to conduct a second round of tests to better understand the extent of pollution on the property before it goes up for a sheriff’s sale, at a date yet to be determined.  
 
Contamination Testing.  The testing this week involved extending and expanding on the previous testing with more probing sites and four ground water wells installed. Contamination was again verified near the existing underground storage tanks, and also where the old tanks (since removed) were located at the previous store. 
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Deer Reports.  With so many deer around, it is hard to know what to report.  Earlier this week a large pregnant doe was hit on Illahee Road and had to be put down by a Deputy (we have not shared the photo based on previous comments about showing injured or dead animals).  The four bucks in the photos were all in one person’s yard at the same time and were getting along, which won’t be the case in the fall during the rut.  We had a report deer like geranium and petunia flowers that were not safe even on patios.  One popular spot for deer was around a detention pond, that is until it was mowed.  The fawn is the only one we have been able to get a photo of this year.
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Pigeon Guillemot.  On July 1st a Pigeon Guillemot was observed at the Illahee Dock, which is a rare occurrence because of the presence of bald eagles at the dock, seen nearly every morning on the light posts.
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Illahee Day 2017.  The Port has set August 12 as the date for Illahee Day.  This will be Port Commissioners’ George Schaefer and Cassie Magill’s last Illahee Day and they requested to be in charge of refreshments in honor of their many years of service to the community. George has been a commissioner for 16 years and Cassie for 4 years.  Plan on joining them and the festivities to be held on the Illahee Store property on Saturday, Aug 12th.  Below is last year’s sign.  
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/27/16 Deer, Illahee Day, Port Public Hearing Aug 10, Illahee Store, Illahee Day, New Sign, Cleanup Week/Day, Preserve Couch, Illahee Community Facebook Page

Deer.   Looking for photos of fawns.  This is a yearling buck.

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Port Public Hearing Aug 10.  This appeared in today’s Kitsap Sun.  Looks like an important hearing for those interested in the business of the Port and the Illahee Store.  The current Comprehensive Plan is available on the Port’s website:  portofillahee.com.
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Illahee Store.  Lots of work going on around the former Illahee Store, thanks to Mark Moshay.  The Krick’s, owners of record, have given permission to clean up the area.

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Illahee Day.  The Port has designated August 13th as Illahee Day and as the day to officially celebrate Illahee’s 100th Anniversary.  The Port will provide food for the event.  Others are wondering about the possibility of setting up tables in the area by the store for locals to promote their products.  This will be a discussion item when the Illahee Community Club board meets on August 1st.  
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New Sign.  We were impressed with the new sign that appeared recently at the Illahee Store.  It was provided by the Bremerton Bottling Company and they also contributed drinks for the celebration.   
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Clean-up Week/Day.  At the last Port meeting there was a request to spend some significant dollars on cleaning up the parking area, the planters, and the area in general for Illahee Day.  It was followed by a suggestion that volunteers could do the clean up and save tax payer’s dollars.  The morning of Saturday, August 6th, is the day the clean up is scheduled for, but we understand the dumpster is going to be delivered on August 1 and picked up on August 8, so the cleanup can begin anytime before and then finish up on Saturday.  Feel free to come down and help!
 
Preserve Couch.  Speaking of cleanup.  This couch along Thompson Lane, which goes through the Illahee Preserve, has been there for a long time.  If there is still room in the dumpster after the cleanup it would be nice to see moved there.

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Illahee Community Facebook Page.  We recently re-discovered the Illahee Community Facebook page and find it to be a very active and involved group.  It is a closed group which means you need to email Steve Pejka, the person who set up the group, to become a member, which is very easy if you are on Facebook. 
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/10/16 State Park Dock, Rabbit, Illahee Facebook Page, Sunset Homeless Check, Opossum Article, Preserve Response, Similar Response, Illahee Store, Port Meeting on Wednesday

State Park Dock.  We saw the boat hauling a long dock passing through Illahee and wondered where it was going.  Seems it was going the Illahee State Park, thanks to Dennis who sent us the following photos:

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Rabbit.  This is the first rabbit we’ve seen in Illahee.  Thanks to George for passing the photo on.  When we lived in Seaford, Virginia we needed a 2 foot high fence around the garden to keep the rabbits out.  
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Illahee Facebook Page.  We forgot there was an Illahee Community Facebook page until we received the following: 

One of our members on the Illahee Community Facebook page reported that there were some vehicle break-ins in the vicinity of Rest Pl and Wise St.  There also have been reports of what appears to homeless in the area seen coming from and going into the woods (Preserve) off both Sunset and Rest.  Not sure if they are camping out there or not. 
Sunset Homeless Check.  Whenever a homeless report is received it is responded to quickly and all that was discovered were some trails with some read painted markings and some great scenery.  Homeless are not allowed in the Preserve for a number of reason with fire being the main one as local fire departments are not equipped to fight a forest fire.
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Opossum Article.  Most people who receive the Kitsap Sun remember the front page photo of the opossums on June 30th.  What they don’t know is that they first wanted to release them in the Illahee Preserve.
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Preserve Response.  The response from the Illahee Preserve was opossums should not be released in a nature preserve.  Opossums are not native to the area and according to wildlife biologists out compete other mammals for food and are also impacting ground nesting birds.  Just like non-native plants, non-native species are not wanted in the Preserve, which is a designated wildlife habitat conservation area.
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Similar Response.  The Preserve opossum responders were happy to see the following letter to the editor that appeared in the Kitsap Sun on Friday (7/8/16):
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Illahee Store.  Thanks to those who responded to be part of a group advocating for the purchase of the Illahee Store.  We heard a local grant trust was contacted last week about the possibility of submitting a grant to help purchase and renovate the store to a community center, but found it wasn’t a good fit and nothing happened.  The group is looking for someone to help look for other grants.  Below are some excepts from the grant request letter.

The Illahee Community is looking to obtain a building, that may soon be available, for a Community Center.  

 

Illahee is a long time recognized community in Kitsap County and is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year.

 
We just found out the former quick stop food store, located in the center of the community, that has been vacant for years, may be going up for auction at a sheriff’s sale at a date yet to be determined.
 
The location is ideal for a community center as is the size of the building.  Because of this we are looking into what it would take to purchase it.  
 
Since the building has been vacant it will need some work, but not that much since it was built in the 1970’s and is primarily concrete block construction.  The biggest issue currently is a hole in the roof where someone removed an air conditioner unit, likely for salvage of the metal.  
 
Port Meeting on Wednesday.  A reminder that the Port of Illahee meets at 5 pm on Wednesday (7/13/16).  Port information is available at their website:  portofillahee.com
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/28/16 Photos, Illahee Store, Store Interest Group Forming, Illahee Preserve Trails, Piling Worms?

Photos.  It is good to be back after being gone most of June and realize again what a beautiful area we live in.  We were alerted today about what looked like a house moving down the bay, which was actually a boat house being moved by the boat inside.

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Illahee Store.  Thanks to Mark Moshay for pressure washing at the Illahee Store!  We heard the former owners are out of the picture regarding the store, which likely means lien holders will be trying to recoup their money through an eventual sale of the store.  If this is true then the community should be prepared to act if they would like to see it become a Community Center.  
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Store Interest Group Forming.  Some of us are interested in the store becoming a future Community Center and want to meet soon to discuss what our options might be.  If you would like to join this group just respond to this email.
 
Illahee Preserve Trails.  During the hot weather it is especially nice to have the Illahee Preserve to walk, jog, and to bike in, and were  amazed today at how well kept the trails are.
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Piling Worms?  While watching the squid fishermen at the Illahee Dock we noticed what looked like a snake swimming near the surface of the water.  It is a little hard to see in the photo with the seaweed and reflection from the lights.  We were informed that the snake like creature is actually a piling worm which we hope someone can verify.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 5/20/16 Photos, Options Agreement Ends, Grant Application, The Critique, Park Needed, Theme Ideas, Timeline, Illahee’s 100th Anniversay, Illahee Store, Community Meeting Sunday 7 pm

Photos.  Some photos around the community.

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Options Agreement Ends.  The Options Agreement to purchase the remaining 10.7 acres of the Timbers Edge project ended on May 15, 2016.  This was reported earlier as it was known in March that appropriation funding was not successful (the escrow process needed to begin in April to meet the May closing date).

Another Opportunity.  The good news is that there is another opportunity to secure most of the necessary funding, through a Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant, which the county is submitting.  The property owner, Mr. Jim Tallman, has agreed to give the community and the county more time to see if they can secure a grant.

Grant Application.  The grant application has been submitted and a technical review of the project occurred this past week, on Tuesday 5/17/16.  We found the Power Point presentation on the RCO website:  https://secure.rco.wa.gov/prism/search/ProjectSnapshotAttachmentData.aspx?id=263923&sid=4D060924-49B5-47DE-8C79-E7DDD25D410A.  Below is a copy of their first slide.  It turns out the presentation is just a preliminary one that is critiqued before a final one is presented in August that will be ranked with all the other projects in the state.

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The Critique.  The technical review was important because the briefing, though good, did not cover what the evaluators were wanting to see for a local park category grant, i.e., a more concentrated focus on the features to be in the park than on what has already been accomplished with previous Preserve acquisitions.

Park Needed.  While the property provides the necessary public access, it is also ideal for a local park with features not provided anywhere else in the Preserve which is why the local park grant category was chosen.

Theme Ideas.  One of the things being looked at is coming up with a theme for the 10.7 acre park.  Only two theme suggestions so far: “Lost Continent Park” and “Homestead Park”.  Natural features such as rocks and logs are what was envisioned for the play area so if anyone has theme ideas, let us know.

Timeline.  The grant timeline now is to perfect the application and make changes to the presentation with the goal to have the project score high enough that funding will be essentially assured.  Even with a high score the property will need to be purchased before funding is distributed (June 2017) possibly needing a bridge loan.  We will try to keep track of the progress and keep everyone informed.

Illahee’s 100th Anniversary.  The Illahee Community was established in 1916 so this is the 100th anniversary.  The Port of Illahee has selected August 13th for Illahee Day, and Port Commissioner Cassie Magill is looking to the Illahee Community Club  to help with ideas of how the celebrate the anniversary.

Illahee Store.  Would the former Illahee Store building make a good Illahee Community Center?  It is roughly 50′ by 32′ or 1600 square feet.  Can the building be saved?  What does the local community want?

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Community Meeting Sunday 7 pm.  The Illahee Community Club (ICC) would like to meet on the store property to look at it to see what would need to be done to make it a Community Center and they set a date and time to do so:  Sunday (5/22/16) at 7 pm.  Anyone interested in the idea is encouraged to come.  If it is raining they will hold their discussion in the Port meeting room, lower level, across the street.

Jim Aho

Illahee 3/7/16 Photos, Raven, Wigeon Answers, Water Quality Check, Downed Trees, Preserve Dumping, Brush Pickers Caught, Meeting Minutes, Illahee Store, Amazon Donations, Wed Port Meeting

Photos.  Evergreen clematis and flowers.

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Raven.  With a number of ravens around Illahee and the Preserve, getting a good photo should be easy, but it isn’t.  This is the best we have been able to do after years of efforts.
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Wigeon Answers.   We are fortunate to have readers who can answer our questions regarding birds, such as the following amazing response we received regarding our wigeon questions.
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That is a nice side-by-side photo of the Eurasian and American wigeon in breeding plumage.  The average life span of wigeon is low because of high mortality among ducklings, only about 1.5 years.  However, the specimens you reference are mature birds.  The primary source of mortality among mature wigeon is hunting.  Banding records indicate maximum lifespans of wild American wigeon at about 21 years.  There have been very few Eurasian wigeon banded in North America due to relative scarcity.  USFW records indicate the oldest banded Eurasian wigeon when shot was eight years after banding, but their maximum lifespan is probably quite similar to the American wigeon, 20-25 years in the wild.  There is a recorded age at death of 35 years for a male Eurasian wigeon in Europe where they are far more common.  That one was probably a captive.

Most of the wigeon that winter in the Puget Sound area nest in northern Alaska.  Consequently, they suffer relative light hunting mortality.  They are not hunted heavily during the fall migration due to low human populations along their migration route.  Once they reach the Illahee area, they are relatively safe.  Interestingly, there were no wigeon at all in western Washington as of 1900.  Untold thousands winter here now.  They are the beneficiaries of human conversion of primeval forest to grassland.  Wigeon are truly “cattle with wings.”

 
Water Quality Check.  The Navy continues to monitor water quality in the area with another two week sampling in progress at the Illahee community dock.
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As part of an R&D project to improve the ability to assess the impact of  stormwater runoff, it looks like we have an opportunity to deploy some passive samplers this spring and one of the stations that we would like to deploy them at is at the Illahee Port dock. These are small devices that we can hang below the floating dock where they would be out of the way (and out of sight) of any activities on the dock. We would like to deploy them on or about March 7th or 8th and recover them after about 2-4 weeks depending on the weather.
 
Downed Trees.  Recent winds caused trees to come down with some interrupting power.  The photo below is toward the top of Ocean View and the photo below is from the Illahee Preserve.  We were hoping to get another photo that was to be sent in, but instead got the following message: 
 
I am sad to say there is no photo.  A new camera arrived the day of the storm, we came home after driving by the tree, which had just blown down on our way home. We grabbed the camera, ran to the tree, took, what we thought were several pictures.  There was no memory card in the camera-darn it!
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Preserve Dumping.  Someone dumped some English Ivy cuttings at the Thompson Lane parking lot.  Thankfully this is one problem we don’t have in the greater forested area, but do have it in some of the riparian areas the Preserve hopes to purchase some day.
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Brush Pickers Caught.  The Preserve Stewards thought brush picking season was over until today when two individuals were caught picking salal in the Preserve.  They were cited by a Kitsap County deputy and shouldn’t be seen harvesting in the Preserve again.
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Meeting Minutes.  Below are the minutes from the Illahee Community meeting held a week ago (2/29) at the Sylvan Way library. 
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Illahee Store.  After the community meeting noted above, we heard a rumor that there is an effort by a few individuals to contact the store owner and the store lien holders to see if there is a way to acquire the store as part of an Illahee 100th Anniversary project.  Let us know if you hear anything about what might be going on.
 
Amazon Donations.  For those who shop on Amazon the company will donate 0.5% of your purchases to charitable groups like the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group that supports the Preserve.  Information is available on their website at:  http://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about.  We copied the first item on the FAQ website.

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.
Wed Port Meeting.  The monthly Port of Illahee Commissioner meeting is Wednesday (3/9/16) at 5 pm at the lower level of 5500 Illahee Road.  Residents and visitors are always welcome at this public meeting.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 1/4/16 Wildlife Photos, Illahee Preserve, Illahee Dock, Illahee Store, Parked Cars, Lost Dog, Lost Mail

Wildlife Photos.  The first photo shows part of a flock of wigeon, three Canada geese, and a hen and drake mallard enjoying the sun on a cold day.  The second photo is of some common goldeneye ducks.  

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Illahee Preserve.  A new garbage can has been added at the Thompson Lane entrance to help with pet waste bags.
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Illahee Dock.  In addition to squid fisherman in the evening, the dock gets some use during the day.  This family was finding crabbing somewhat successful.
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Illahee Store.  Concerns about the condition of the Illahee Store remain, especially with the glass broken out of one of the doors and the fact that blue paint was splashed around inside the store and was used to also paint the inside of the windows.
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Parked Cars.  Some longterm parked cars by the store and dock.  The first photo shows an attempt to fix one of them.  The second photo shows the other one taking a dock parking spot and has been there for a number of weeks.
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Lost Dog.  We are a little late posting this notice and hope the dog has been found by now.
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Lost Christmas Mail.  We are also late in posting this photo of what looks like stolen Christmas mail that was open and tossed.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/12/14 Illahee Day, Port Meeting, Illahee Store, Timbers Edge, Squirrels, Gardens

Illahee Day.  We noticed the sign just went up advertising Illahee Day for this Saturday, 8/16/14, and all are invited.  

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Purpose.  It was described at the last Port meeting as a time for residents to gather socially at the dock and waterfront area in front of the Port office facilities at 5500 Illahee Road. 
 
Food.  The Port is providing food and drinks.  In the past they have provided Subway sandwiches and we understand this year it will be catered by McClouds restaurant, primarily potato salad and hot dogs.
 
Other.  Copies of the film “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound, One Watershed at a Time” will be available for purchase, with the proceeds going the the Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3 non-profit group.

 
Port Meeting.  The monthly Port of Illahee meeting is the second Wednesday of each month at 5:00 pm at the lower level of 5500 Illahee Road, i.e., this Wednesday, 8/13/14.  It is a public meeting and the public is invited.  
 
Illahee Store.  There has been some cleaning activity around the Illahee Store and residents are curious if something is going to happen.  We heard that someone cleaned the blackberries off the roof of the store and would like to know more about who is cleaning up the area.  
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Timbers Edge.  We also heard there has been activity at the east end of the Timbers Edge property, at the site of the Avery homestead, where the area was cleared of blackberries. We heard the neighbors reported squatters and Mr Tallmon himself came out to look the situation over, and told nearby residents the area would be logged and developed next year.  The question is whether the site will be developed supporting community interests, or at the higher density, ignoring community concerns.  More when we know what is being planned.
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Squirrels. This squirrel was the only wildlife we saw on a recent walk.  The problem with the non-native grays is they out compete the smaller native brown Douglas squirrels and soon the natives will all but disappear.  It is a difficult dilemma for those who love all creatures.
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Gardens.  We have heard there are some beautiful gardens in Illahee.  Please send us some photos.
 
Jim Aho

Illahee 12/16/12 Brush Pickers Back, Film Sales, Culvert Report, Port of Illahee Meeting, Illahee Store, Flag Pole, Port Meeting Sign, Trash Report

Brush Pickers Back.  Just when we thought there were no brush pickers in the Illahee Preserve this winter, we received the following report:

On Friday I was walking my dog and I heard and saw 3-4 pickers harvesting  in Illahee Preserve @ about 1:30pm.

Walking north from Compass Circle it was on the ridge to the left and across from the first East path intersection.

I called 911 and a unit was dispatched. I received a call from the officer who said he was in the Almira parking lot. @that time I was at the Riddell lot and explained if he walked in to the 2nd main N/S path and travel S he would find them and I would approach from the other side. I ended up running into two of them on my way. Of course there were no police. So I was detaining them hoping the police would soon arrive. So after having a discussion that it was illegal to be harvesting in the Preserve, I left.  I called dispatch who had the officer call me again to find out that he was still sitting in the lot waiting for back up. I met them in the lot and escorted them to the area but by this time they were nowhere to be found. You can see the paths and the reduction in vegetation.


In addition to calling 911, you can also call 479-1049 and we can often get some others there to help find them.

Christmas Film Sales.  We have had a number of residents purchasing Illahee DVDs for Christmas presents.  One of the comments we received from those who saw the film at the Admiral Theater is the colors on the DVDs are much more vivid and bright than it was on the theater’s screen.  The film was done in high definition (HD) which provides the great colors and is why there are also Blu-ray copies available.   Simply call 479-1049 to have them delivered, or for more information about the film.

Culvert Report.  The Illahee Creek culvert continues to be concern for many residents who remember the inconvenience caused by the washout of the Gilberton Creek culvert a few years ago.  We took some photos on Saturday (12/15/12) to show what the area upstream of the culvert looks like, with the last two photos showing the left and right sides.

Port of Illahee Meeting.  We have been attending the Port of Illahee meetings for years and mentioned to someone that it was an exciting meeting last Wednesday when four residents attended and commented on some current issues.  We were then asked if we could put something out in an update so here is our report, which is unofficial as the Port minutes are posted on their website, though usually a month after the meeting.  Normally there are only one or two residents who attend the meeting and not much interaction, but this time there was some controversy.

Illahee Store.  The Illahee Store has been on the Port’s agenda for many years with not much happening, which is why at the community meeting in November the following was passed unanimously.  

After lengthy discussion, a motion was made and seconded that the Port of Illahee actively pursue with due diligence the purchase of the Illahee store. 
The concerns expressed at the Port meeting were that something needs to be done to move things forward as it was reported that the owners wanted to sell.  The vacant store is an eyesore and in the past residents have had to clean up the area.  Some would like to see it become a community center, and others a coffee shop, and other would like to see it be both.  One of the big issues is the status of the old gasoline tanks, which need an environmental assessment.  The Port has been investigating but evidently some of the residents want to see some action taken.
Flag Pole.  This was the really big issue of the evening with some wanting the flag pole moved because it restricts movement past parked cars, and others stating it has been there for years, was put in by the community, and is a community landmark.  There were some emotional statements and the Port Commissioners asked the person who wanted it moved to bring them some estimates.  Someone suggested the community be queried to determine its position; either FOR or AGAINST or DON’T CARE, so if you want to get in on the decision, we will pass on your sentiments, or do so to one of the commissioners via their website portofillahee.com. 
Port Meeting Sign.  Another suggestion was for the Port to put up a sign by the flag pole a few days before their monthly meeting as a reminder for residents who would like to attend.  A sandwich board was offered up by one of the attendees and Port Commissioner Cassie Magill said she would make up the sign.

Trash Report.  There are two trash dumping incidents to report.  One at the Almira parking lot, and the other a mattress along Thompson Lane.  
Past Updates Saved.  Some have commented they save these updates.  They are already saved and can be accessed on the community website illaheecommunity.com.  In addition they can also be searched by subject matter, which is why we put headings on each paragraph.

Jim Aho