Illahee 10/10/17 Photos, Audubon Speaker Thursday, Preserve Work Party Saturday, Illahee Runners at GC, Illahee Salmon Pens Battle, Illahee Wetlands Battle

Photos. Some recent photos.

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Audubon Speaker Thursday.  Great speaker on a most interesting topic, meets 10/12/17 from 7-9 pm at Poulsbo Library.
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Preserve Work Party Saturday.  We need help on Saturday to spread the rest of the wood chips on trails and some other less strenuous tasks.  The work party is at the Almira parking lot from 8-12 noon or whatever time inbetween that works best for you.  We have the wheelbarrows and the tools.
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Illahee Runners at GC.  We have only featured two runners over the years in our Updates and recently found out they were part of a local running group of ladies who ran the Rim to Rim trail at the Grand Canyon this weekend, which is 47 miles — in one day.  
 
Illahee Salmon Pens Battle.  With all the salmon pen news in the media few know that commercial salmon pens were proposed in Illahee in 1985 when aquaculture interest was at its highest and was being promoted at all levels of government, including the governor.
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Project Initially Approved.  Kitsap County officials approved permit #452 in December 1985 to put a fish rearing pen business in front of a private residence about a quarter mile north of the Illahee community dock.
 
Community Expressed Concerns.  Needless to say many of the neighboring residents and others were opposed to the commercial fish pens in their community for a number of reasons, navigation, lights, fish processing, and others.
 
ICBC Non-profit Corporation Established.  Concerned residents decided they needed to organize and the Illahee Community Betterment Committee (ICBC) was formed in 1986.
 
County Rescinds Permit.  “At the 2nd hearing in May ’86, after considerable review of both permits, the Kitsap County commissioner’s reversed themselves and denied Mr. Lassiter’s permit …”
 
Applicant Appeals to Shorelines Hearing Board (SHB).  At that point the applicant appealed to the State Shorelines Hearings Board (SHB).
 
ICBC Hires John Merkel.  With the great interest in aquaculture at the time many felt that the county would not prevail at the hearing (like other counties who had their denials overturned by the SHB) so the ICBC, after discussions found they needed to retain council, and hired John Merkel, a noted Seattle attorney.
 
Expert Witnesses.  Mr. Merkel helped with finding and retaining expert witnesses from the University of Washington, who said among other things that the Illahee area does not have the necessary tidal currents to flush away fish droppings.
 
Right Lawyer Prevails.  It was felt that Mr. Merkel’s reputation, knowledge and skills were what caused the SHB to have the permits remanded back to Kitsap County, where they were then denied.
 
Lessons Learned.  Some of us learned some important lessons from this battle.  
 
Lesson #1.  Make sure you have the science right.
 
Lesson #2.  It will cost you significant time and money, so be ready to sacrifice both as not everyone will/can help.
 
Lesson #3.  You need the best attorney you can find, which isn’t always easy and it can be costly.
 
Lesson #4.  You may need to help the county in the process, both with the science and the legal issues.
 
Illahee Wetlands Battle.  We are currently going through a similar battle with wetlands in the Preserve and it is interesting to see how these lessons are still applicable some 31 years later.  More on that in another Update.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/12/17 Preserve Fires, Saturday Fire, Monday Fire, Photos, Port Public Hearing, Comp Plan Goals

Preserve Fires.  Fires in the Illahee Preserve are the biggest concern, especially with such an extended dry season.  The fire danger is high as signs around the Preserve indicate.

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Saturday Fire.  This fire was a small one in the middle of the Golf Course Loop trail. 
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Monday Fire.  We don’t know who reported the Monday fire but the smoke was visible for miles and King 5 had a photos with the Olympic Mountains in the background.  Thankfully it was off the Power Line which made it more accessible and special thanks to CKFD for their quick response!  The Preserve and Illahee dodged a big one!
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Encampment.  Reports noted an encampment close by.  We found signs of mail scattered along the trail that wasn’t there two weeks earlier when a Washington Youth Academy crew was clearing the power line trail.  The encampment was in the Wildlife Preserve area that isn’t open to the public.
 
Photos.  We just missed getting a photo of Canada geese with the deer shown under the apple tree.
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Port Public Hearing.  The Port of Illahee held a public hearing on Monday where they presented their Comprehensive Plan.  Comments are encouraged over the next four weeks after which the Port will finalize the Plan.
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Comp Plan Goals.  The Comp Plan covers the Port’s plans for the next 6 years with the “Goals” section being a good summary.  The entire plan can be viewed on the Port’s website: portofillahee.com.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 9/7/17 Photos, White Deer, Gas Line Installation, Illahee Creek Benthic Testing, Salmonids Sighted, Summer Base Flow, Port Public Hearing, Port Comprehensive Plan, Preserve Shelter Dedication

Photos.  Thanks to Ginny for the deer photo.

 
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White Deer.  Several months ago a white deer was seen near the mouth of Illahee Creek and we are curious if it is a piebald or an albino.  A piebald deer is one with a genetic anomaly affecting its color.  Pie means mixed and bald is for white spots.  There have been quite a number of piebald deer seen in the area over the years with small patches of white, but so far none mostly white so we are hoping someone will get a photo of this one.
 
Gas Line Installation.  Traffic was down to one lane on Wednesday at the bottom of Illahee hill while a gas line was being pushed through under Illahee Road.
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Illahee Creek Benthic Testing.  Also on Wednesday Kitsap County was conducting benthic testing in Illahee Creek with the help of a couple of Stream Stewards.  The samples will be sent in and the results will tell the stream’s health.
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Salmonids Sighted.  The good news is salmonids were sighted swimming between pools.  A small dead one was found that appears to be a coho.
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Summer Base Flow.  With no rain for most of the summer many wonder what happens to small streams.  Illahee Creek has a base flow rate that doesn’t seem to change, even in the driest of season.  Hydrologist Joel Massmann many years ago estimated the summer base flow to be around half a CFS (0.5 cubic feet per second) and that is what the digital equipment showed it to be on Wednesday.
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Port Public Hearing,  Whenever port districts modify or update their Comprehensive Plan they are required to hold a public meeting so residents can have an opportunity to know what the plans are and to be able to comment on them.  The public hearing on the Port of Illahee’s Comp Plan will be held on Monday, 9/11/17 at 5 pm at the Sylvan Way library.  The public is encouraged to attend and comment.
 
Port Comprehensive Plan Draft.  A draft of the Comprehensive Plan is posted on the Port’s website: http://www.portofillahee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Draft-Comprehensive-Plan-2018-REV-C.pdf
 
Preserve Picnic Dedication.  We received notice the East Bremerton Rotary will be dedicating the new picnic shelter they recently built at the Almira entrance to the Illahee Preserve on 9/28/17 at 5:30 pm.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/24/17 Photos, Blackberry Connoisseurs, Illahee Day Report, Friday Work Party, Fair Poster, DFW Installation, Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17, A Complaint

Photos. These photos go back awhile.

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Blackberry Connoisseurs.  In addition to humans picking blackberries we recently came across these guys enjoying roadside blackberries.
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Illahee Day Report.  Evidently not one of the 49 people attending Illahee Day had a camera so this is all we have.  It was a great time to meet new and old neighbors and the Port had planned well as it anticipated 50 people attending.  
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Friday Work Party.  Camera coverage is anticipated of Friday’s work party at the Preserve with the Washington Youth Academy as the mini storage container with wheelbarrows and tools was delivered Thursday afternoon.  After visiting other forested parks we think the Preserve has some of the best trails around.
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Fair Poster.  The Kitsap County Fair had a poster that caught our attention as Illahee has its share of butterfly bushes.  Not a good plant for butterflies.
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P1030023DFW Installation.  Monofiliment line around docks can be a real pain both above and below the water, which is why the Department of Fish and Wildlife is installing these receptacles throughout the Sound.  These are the same guys who do the forage fish surveys.
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Port Public Meeting on 9/11/17.  The Port of Illahee at their last meeting voted to begin the process of updating their Comprehensive Plan by holding a public meeting at the Sylvan Way Library on 9/11/17 at 5 pm.  This meeting will also be their September monthly meeting and will give residents an opportunity to see and comment on the Port’s 6 year plan for the future.
 
A Complaint.  We have been asked to post the following complaint.
 
Here’s an item for your neighborhood blog – I am sick and tired of my house filling up with the smoke from a trash fire.  Burning any kind of trash is illegal!  Not only does it smell bad, it causes me to cough.  I can see the smoke coming from the house just south of the dock.  I have discussed this issue with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and they tell me I need to call 911 when this occurs.  I hesitate to call 911 but I will not tolerate the smoke any longer.  Short of calling in the Fire Marshall, I’m not sure what can be done except to remind the local residents that burning trash is illegal.  Perhaps if you mentioned it in your newsletter someone might take the hint.  Thanks.
Jim Aho

Illahee 7/17/17 Preserve Art, Preserve Berries, Preserve in the News, Preserve Dumping, Stewardship Meeting Tuesday, Turtle, Photos

Preserve Art.  Walking the Preserve is always a pleasure in hot weather and recently stone art has appeared.

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Preserve Berries.  Salal berries are beginning to turn color.  We finally found a branch with all the colors.  The last photo is of developing Evergreen Huckleberries.
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Preserve in the News. This article appeared in the Kitsap Sun on July 11th and mentions the Illahee Preserve as a place to see vanilla leaf.
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Vanilla leaf
Preserve Dumping.  This is what we don’t want to see in the Preserve.  It was dumped sometime Friday evening.
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Preserve Stewardship Meeting Tuesday.  Preserve users and those interested in helping shaping the Preserve are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Stewardship group.  They meet at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm.  As the Preserve grows additional input and support is needed and newcomers are welcome.  If you have questions about the meeting call us at 360.479.1049.
 
Turtle. Only the second turtle report in 10 years.  “Was walking away from wetland area. Think it was a western pond turtle. Either that or a painted turtle, but it was more like the farmer’s size. Not something you see crossing the road every day!
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Photos.  We welcome photos and especially those of wildlife.  The last photo is from the last full moon.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 6/11/17 Photos, Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19, Illahee Store report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2, Wednesday Port Meeting, Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6

Photos. 

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Illahee Dock’s outer float as a fishing platform.
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Photo showing the reflection from the morning sun on the new and shiny Port of Waterman dock (upper left).  Note the bald eagle to the right on the Port of Illahee light post, which is seen there many mornings.
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Preserve stacked rocks.
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The dog that was killed at the top of Ocean View has been memorialized.

Community Stormwater Meeting 6/19.  The Illahee Community Group and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit groups are hosting Kitsap County’s stormwater personnel on Monday 6/19/17 from 6-7:45 pm at the Sylvan Way Library.  The county is beginning an “Illahee Regional Stormwater Retrofit Project” affecting Illahee and the Illahee Preserve that we will hear more about, among other things.  This should help with the stormwater surges plaguing Illahee Creek and threatening to take out the Illahee Creek culvert at the bottom of Illahee hill.  We have attached an old photo showing the nearly filled culvert (you used to be able to walk through it).
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Illahee Store Report on CK Reporter Front Page 6/2.  The Port’s hope to purchase the Illahee Store was reported on in the CK Reporter.  http://www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/port-of-illahee-hopes-to-acquire-abandoned-property/  There will hopefully be more information shared at Wednesday’s Port meeting.
 
Wednesday Port Meeting.  This is a reminder the monthly Port of Illahee meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The port heard from four community members who attended last month’s meeting that the steep slope to the Port meeting room was getting to be too difficult to traverse, so it was suggested the June meeting be held outside of the store and one of them offered to put up a canopy.  We just heard that the request was granted and the meeting will be outside of the abandoned Illahee Store.  The slope down to the base of the dock is 18% which is beyond ADA requirements.
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Preserve Shelter on Kitsap Sun Front Page 6/6.  Another Illahee front page story, click on the link A000100001L (46).  Two in one week for a small but amazing community.  More photos coming as gutters are scheduled to be installed on Tuesday along with gravel and grading this coming week.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 5/22/17 Photos, Facebook Reports, Bear Sightings, Port of Illahee Meeting Report, Sheriff’s Sale, Contaminated Site, Thimbleberry

Photos.  Some photos from the past two weeks.

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New ferry ‘Chimacum’ going through trials in Illahee last week.
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First Canada geese goslings.  Between the eagles and seagulls many goslings don’t make it.  Also, most of the geese and ducks in our area had their eggs eaten, likely by raccoons, before they even hatched.
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Another domestic rabbit sighted out in the wild.
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Chipmunk next to the Preserve
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Common Loon that is late if it is just passing through.
 
Facebook Reports.  Day to day reporting from suspicious activities to lost pets appears on the Illahee Community Facebook page, and more recently of more bear sightings.
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The loss of a dog was reported recently followed by the following sign by where the dog was hit. 
Facebook bear report
The above report was most likely in the area closer to Gilberton.  Later on FB there was a report and video of bears in East Bremerton that can be seen at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/kitsaplnfpetsearch/permalink/1706073776077147/
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Port of Illahee Meeting Report.  The Port of Illahee’s attorney Ken Bagwell gave a brief at the Port’s May meeting of the status of the attempt by the Port to purchase the abandoned Illahee Store.
 
Sheriff’s Sale.  A sheriff’s sale is planned in the near future, as soon as 6 weeks, at which time the Port can bid on the store.
 
Contaminated Site.  The store property is a registered contaminated site with the Department of Ecology from past leaking underground petroleum tanks.  The Port noted that funds are normally available to Ports for cleanup efforts, which is why they are moving ahead with a possible purchase.
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Thimbleberry.  Thimbleberry is a native plant is found throughout Illahee and in the Illahee Preserve.  It has exceptionally soft leaves, which during Preserve tours is pointed out as nature’s toilet paper to help people identify it.  More information about thimbleberry can be found on the internet.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 5/6/17 Photo, Class Visit to Preserve, Comcast Work Party, Rotary Shelter Progress, Port Meeting on Wednesday, New Forage Fish Maps

Photo.  Thanks to Chris for this great photo. 

Towhee as shot
From yesterday’s walk, here is a Spotted Towhee in some huckleberry right next to the trail around the Compass Circle area. The Robins, Song Sparrows, Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere right now. I even caught a glimpse of an adult Bald Eagle flying low through the trees this morning near the Almira parking lot! 

 
Class Visit to Preserve.  Several weeks ago a class of 2nd and 3rd graders visited the Illahee Preserve.  
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An unexpected surprise was two Barred Owls who greated the children.  The students each sent a thankyou note with hand colored covers like the one shown below.  
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In addition to the owls another favorite was the ~500 year old Douglas Fir.
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Comcast Work Party.  On Earth Day Comcast employees gathered for an all day work party at the Illahee Preserve.  We are waiting for their official photos as they accomplished many great projects. 
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Rotary Shelter Progress.  The Comcast Care work party coincided well with the work being done on the Rotary Shelter being installed at the Almira parking lot.  With the footings in the work can begin above ground.
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Port Meeting on Wednesday.  Just a reminder that the Port of Illahee will be meeting on Wednesday at 5 pm.  The Port’s lawyer is scheduled to give an update on the Illahee Store, which the Port is attempting to purchase.
 
New Forage Fish Maps.  Who knew we had such a diversity of forage fish spawning sites in the area?  The newly released maps show documented spawing locations of Pacific Sand Lance, Surf Smelt, and Pacific Herring, and there are likely more as these are just the documented sites.  http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/research/projects/marine_beach_spawning/
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Jim Aho

Illahee 4/28/17 Photos, Orca Photos, Great Give May 2, Funding Needed, 2017 Preserve Projects, Elwha Films Showing Friday

Photos.  Preserve trillium, garden grazers, flowering plants.

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Orca Photos.  Thanks to Jay for these orca photos taken one week ago (4/21/17) and we are sorry we are late in posting them, which is an opportunity to note we are still looking for other ‘community reporters’ to put out updates when we are out of town or unavailable.
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Kitsap Great Give May 2.  Kitsap’s Great Give is on Tuesday, May 2nd, and the Illahee Forest Preserve (IFP) is on the list for receiving funding.  Contributions provide funding for everything from maintenance to acquisitions to legal costs.  Below is what was given in 2016.  Much more is needed this year as noted next.
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Funding Need.  The next big funding drive will be to supplement a hoped for acquisition funding from the legislature for Phase 2 of the Lost Continent project. Below is the one page summary which notes that even with an appropriation, contributions of $130,000 will need to be raised.  That is the amount raised for Phase 1 so it is anticipated it can be done again.  And, if the appropriation doesn’t come through, there are other projects and acquisitions, see the list of 2017 projects
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2017 Preserve Projects.  The map below shows the future plans for 2017 and beyond.
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Elwha Films Showing Friday.  Thanks to all those who traveled to Gig Harbor to see the Illahee film two weeks ago and meet Shelly Solomon.  She will be at the showing on Friday evening of her two Elwha films.
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 4/6/17 Photos, Winter Waterfowl, Surf Scoters, Golden Eyes, Orca Visit, Car Removed, Land Slides, Gig Harbor Museum Films, Ebb & Flow Film, Sawdust & Illahee Film

Photos.

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Winter Waterfowl.  Soon our wintering waterfowl will be leaving.
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Surf Scoters.  Our favorites are the Surf Scoters.  
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Golden Eyes.  Two species of these colorful winter migrants, the first being Barrow’s Goldeneye, the second Common Goldeneye.  Both nest in cavities in trees.
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Orca Visit Monday.  We missed seeing or photographing these Monday visitors.  Illahee’s Facebook noted the visit with the following post.
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Car Removed.  Thanks to the Park’s Department for arranging for the removal of this car from the Preserve.  If no one claims cars like these they go up for auction at Chico Towing the first Saturday of each month.
 
Rick from Chico Towing was great. He figured he couldn’t get his tow truck into the car, so he decided to try to start the car and back it out. Because the thieve had punched out the ignition, Rick didn’t need a key. However, the battery was missing. But, Rick had a portable battery charger that he hooked up to the battery terminals and , voilà the vehicle started! He expertly backed the vehicle out of the trail, hooked it up to his truck, and towed it away.
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Land Slides.  There have been numerous land slides along the steep banks of Illahee Creek this year.  Because of the steep slopes it isn’t easy to get photos. Thanks to John for these photos.
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Gig Harbor Museum Films.  The Harbor History Museum has a Heritage Film Series showing several films by Leaping Frog Film’s Shelly Solomon.  Shelly produced the Illahee film that showed locally and regionally a few years ago.
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Ebb & Flow Film.  The Ebb & Flow film will show Saturday evening (4/8/17), and tickets are going fast.  http://harborhistorymuseum.org/buy-tickets/
There are only a few seats left.  We just had this  film show in Olympia to a massive crowd and at the reception it was hard to move around.
The Harbor Museum is tiny and only a few tickets left…. tell people if interested buy tickets on line ASAP and don’t risk buying at the door.
 
When this film premiered in Seattle in October, 350 people showed up and we only had room for 300 people :).   This film is going to show at the MOHI and Wing Luke museums and its booked to show in Alaska, Canada and California… 
 
Sawdust & Illahee Film.  Next Friday (4/14/17) will be a double feature “Buried in Sawdust” and “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time”.  Illahee was just added so we will send out its writeup later.  If you haven’t seen either of these films this is a good opportunity.
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Jim Aho