(Airdate: July 14, 2020) GARDENING THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Jose Borrayo, owner of the Port Townsend Garden Center. Jose has never been afraid of getting his hands dirty. He literally worked his way up from the bottom: maintenance man, cashier, manager and ultimately owner of the garden center. This determined young entrepreneur decided to create a bright and secure future for his family – wife Jillian and three small children. Along the way he’s mastered the names and properties of thousands of plants, fertilizers and insect sprays. If you have a gardening question, Jose’s your man. Gardening has become even more of a passion during the COVID lockdown. Novice gardeners are joining the ranks of our passionate gardeners. Jose and his team are helping with this green revolution.
(Airdate: June 30, 2020) NO HANDS ON IN THE TIME OF COVID. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews massage therapist, Kelly Barlow, owner of one of the many local businesses that was forced to shut down during the COVID-19 crisis. Kelly had zero income for almost three months. She spent down her savings and tried (mostly without success) to find her way through the thicket of regulations to get federal or state aid. She’s now back with a very limited and thoroughly sanitized operation. By definition, massage is a hands-on profession. So Kelly’s also begun studying to expand her skill set. She was once in the catering business. Now she’s taking courses in nutrition, planning perhaps for a career expansion into nutritional consulting.
(First airdate: March 24, 2020) JEFFERSON HEALTHCARE’S FUTURE. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Mike Glenn, CEO of Jefferson Healthcare, Port Townsend’s dynamic health hub. We may be a small rural community, but healthcare standards in Jefferson County are quite high. Over the past decade Jefferson Healthcare has added (or expanded) departments in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics surgery, dermatology and several other specialties. A dental clinic opened last June, filling a huge need in the area. By closely monitoring shifting demographics Glenn & his team read the pulse of community needs. One success story is the rapidly expanding “Wellness Center” which offers innovative programs such as “Dancing with Parkinson’s.”
(First airdate: March 10, 2020) MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Wes Eng, long-time Port Townsend entrepreneur and free spirit. Wes dropped out of college to join VISTA (Volunteers to Service in America) and ended up in a primitive, remote village in Alaska. When he returned a year later, his campus in Pullman was a full-throttle hippie outpost. He decided that he could and would live outside the system – no white picket fence, no climbing the corporate ladder. He’s stayed true to that vision for about 50 years. He works for as brief a period as possible, then uses those funds to travel or just live life on his own terms. Over the years he’s had a staggering assortment of jobs – school janitor, landscaper, bookstore clerk, waiter, potter, even driving wheat trucks in Eastern Washington.
(First airdate: February 25, 2020) THE MERC’S SECRET WEAPON. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Holly Mayshark, general manager of Quimper Mercantile. Most people who shop at Quimper Mercantile don’t realize that it’s a rather unique institution – a community-owned store. The “Merc,” as it’s affectionately called, has about 900 shareholders. Shares were sold at $100 a piece before opening in 2012. If the store makes a profit, it goes to employee profit sharing or store upgrades. Holly personally does most of the buying. The merchandise reflects her unique sense of beauty and style, including a lot of items from local artists & artisans. The Merc is a true reflection of Port Townsend’s eclectic spirit.
(First airdate: February 11, 2020) THE AMERICAN LEGION’S ROLE IN P.T. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Bob Saring, general manager of the American Legion Post in downtown Port Townsend. The Legion is a veterans’ club with a bar, pool table and a lot of games. But it’s much more than that. The Legion also provides a home for a winter homeless shelter which it runs together with several church groups. It awards scholarships and provides an honor guard – complete with a bugler playing taps – when a local vet dies. Our post is one of the oldest in the state and just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Bob talks about recent upgrades to the hall itself, which houses local events ranging from the Kinetic Sculpture Race to R2AK (Race to Alaska). He outlines ambitious plans for the next 100 years.
(First airdate: January 28, 2020) LISTENING TO THE BEAT AT RAINSHADOW. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Everett Moran, founder of Rainshadow Recordings. Everett is from Texas and his family is in the oil business. One of his grandfather’s wells is still producing after 83 years. But music is in Everett’s blood. As a young man he toured the country with acts such as Kenny Loggins. The “kid” loved being on the bus with the band, setting up and tearing down sets. and waking up in a different city. But he ended up back in Oklahoma, in management at the family’s oil company for many years. Although he always played in a band outside of his work in the oil business, it was a divorce and a new love that convinced him to return to the world of sound. He leases space at Fort Worden for Rainshadow Recordings. Although the studio is relatively new, he hopes to make it a ‘destination studio’ for groups outside of the area.
(First airdate: January 14, 2020) MOST TEENAGERS ARE NOT DEADBEATS. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Carrie Ehrhardt, the long-time principal of Port Townsend High School. Carrie is a passionate advocate for teenagers. According to her, the high school attempts to address all of a student’s needs. There are high school students today who are homeless or face substance abuse (both individually or with family members). She makes weekly runs to the Food Bank to help feed hungry students. Carrie and her team care about the mental and physical needs of the students – as well as providing an academically challenging program. High school is perhaps quite a lot different from when you were a student!
(First airdate: December 31, 2019) MONICA MICKHAGER: READY TO TAKE ON PORT TOWNSEND. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Monica Mickhager, a new member of the Port Townsend City Council. Her election was something of an upset. She defeated a long-time council member and the town mayor. But that doesn’t mean she will be the new mayor. In our system the seven-member city council actually elects the mayor from among its ranks. Monica is a long time community activist, having served both on the Planning Commission and the Park & Recreation Commission. Part of her platform was city maintenance, which has been long deferred. Still, the upcoming budget has already been set. It remains to be seen how many of her ideas can become reality. She promises to return to the show in a few months to update us.
(First airdate: December 3, 2019) HERDING CATS ON MULTIPLE STAGES. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Kelly Doran, Centrum’s Technical Director. Kelly’s work is largely behind the scenes. But she’s the one who carefully knits together all the elements of a show – lighting, sound, staging, and a million other details. It’s a constant blur: she orchestrates jazz, classical, blues, fiddle tunes and all of the other events that make Centrum a key cultural magnet on the Olympic Peninsula. Centrum’s season is mainly in the summer. So this winter Kelly took on the challenge of directing Port Townsend High School’s rendition of the classic play Our Town. Sound familiar? Both the play and this show are called Our Town and both feature small American towns. The similarities end there but strong characters dominate both.
(First airdate: November 19, 2019) CHEF TALKS TASTY TURKEY. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Daniel Knudson, well known regional chef & Retail Manager for Key City Fish. Daniel came to Port Townsend in the 1970s and somehow never left. Over the years he transitioned from being a card shark to a restaurateur and chef. Today he talks turkey – outlining the way to make your Thanksgiving a succulent feast. Put that bird in brine in a five gallon bucket and stuff butter between the skin and meat. Oh, don’t forget about spatchcocking the bird (splitting it open). Then there’s guidelines for three kinds of stuffing and the perfect gravy. Daniel even spills on how to create fluffy crust for your pies.
MARGE ROSEN: NEW LEADER OF THE ICONIC PT BAND. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Marge Rosen, the new conductor of the Port Townsend Summer Band. Her parents wouldn’t let her play drums as a kid, so the trumpet became her favorite. She also plays a variety of other instruments. As a former Navy band member, Marge loves marches and patriotic music. That’s convenient for her new position because the PT band is all about marches and patriotic music. Marge also hopes to add some music that might attract a younger generation. The band’s next performance is on Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day – down at the American Legion on Water Street.
(First airdate: October 22, 2019) ROBBIE ROBERTS: THAILAND TEMPTS PT TEENS. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Jim “Robbie” Roberts, head of the Expedition Club, which has sent over 300 local teens to Thailand for the past 16 years. Roberts was a fixture at Port Townsend high school for decades. He taught and, as Coach Roberts, supervised the athletic department though decades of wins and losses.. His crowning inspiration was to take teens to Thailand – to open their eyes to another culture and way of living. For most, it changes their lives profoundly.
(First airdate: October 8, 2019) IAN JABLONSKI: GUARDIAN OF THE WATER WORKS. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Ian Jablonski, Water Resources Manager of the City of Port Townsend. Climate change is making us all think more about the earth’s resources. Even though we live in the so-called “Emerald State” we are not immune to water shortages. The summer of 2015 brought us every close to real problems. Ian and his team are responsible for making sure that the water that’s piped to us from the Big & Little Quilcine Rivers is pure and safe for drinking. Water-borne pathogens have killed in other parts of the country. He explains the elaborate system for making our water safe.
(First airdate: September 24, 2019) TERRY SNIDER: NOT A BLOODY VAMPIRE. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Terry Snider, lab tech at Jefferson Healthcare. Terry is part of the bustling lab where two technicians run tests on over 100 individuals every day. She’s on the front line for screening for all sorts of diseases. Over the years she’s developed strategies to coping with everything from squalling toddlers to overly macho teenage boys. Yes, there is the occasional faint at the sight of blood, but it’s rare. Her childhood struggles with asthma sparked her interest in the medical field.
(First airdate: September 10, 2019) PIPER DUNLOP: NOT SO SCARY NEEDLES. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Piper Dunlap, acupuncturist. Piper once thought he’d become a doctor but ended up spending years as a captain of tall ships, research vessels and almost every other kind of sea-worthy ship. But the sailing life left him with crippling lower back pain. An almost chance encounter with an acupuncturist showed him a side of medicine he had never considered. So he went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine. Piper believes the divides between Western medicine and other genres, such as Chinese medicine, are blurring. More Western doctors are beginning to recognize the benefits of practices such as acupuncture. He explains why.
(First airdate: August 27, 2019) Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Cameron Roberts, a local boy who came back from the big city to take over the local institution, Dogs A Foot. Cameron and his Thailand-born wife have ambitious plans for the culinary scene here. They want to keep Dogs A Foot pretty much the way it was when Cameron was growing up. But they want to add a few family-friendly ventures to the prime corner on Water Street. Shaved ice? Ping pong? They are also freshening up Manresa Castle, serving Asian fusion food and elaborate cocktails in the classic bar and restaurant there. The Castle is once again a happening place with comedy shows, burlesque and even (upcoming) paranormal events.
(First airdate: August 13, 2019) WAYNE CHIMENTI: CREATING SAILORS & SUCCESS STORIES. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Wayne Chimenti, director of the Community Boat Project and former skipper of the Adventuress. For years Wayne has been instrumental in helping to rescue troubled teens through maritime training. He calls that course “beautiful chaos”. But now he’s onto a new program called “Shelter From the Storm”. It’s designed to teach practical construction skills to young adults (18 to 25) who haven’t found their footing. Among other projects, they are building tiny homes. Most of them are what Wayne gently calls “housing insecure”, so being able to essentially build shelter is a huge step towards a productive and financially secure future.
(First airdate: July 30, 2019) Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Steve Heigel, the owner of PT Paddlesports. Steve rents everything from kayaks to standup paddle boards from his location near the Marine Science Center at Fort Worden. The thrills of being out on the water include regular sightings of eagles, otters and sometimes even dolphins. He’s a stickler for safety and all of his clients must wear safety gear. Steve watches the weather and tides like a hawk and makes sure everyone’s enjoying the full maritime experience. When he’s not running tours and supervising trips, Steve’s racing kayaks. Steve and his wife, Amy, successfully completed the recent Race to Alaska…well, they completed the 70/48. That race is from Tacoma to Port Townsend. Participants must row or paddle 70 miles in under 48 hours.
(First airdate: July 16, 2019) Our Town host Maryanne McNellis, interviews Ken Collins, PUD Commissioner & founder of Marrowstone Vineyards. Ken had wanted to relocate to the Olympic Peninsula for decades, but couldn’t financially swing it until he retired from his first career as a counselor and social worker. After moving to Marrowstone, he says it was probably “misplaced ambition” that got him into the wine business. He worked hard to turn his stunning five acres on Marrowstone Island into a working vineyard. But he’s since sold the vineyard and turned his attention to our Public Utility District (PUD). In addition to his role as Commissioner on the Jefferson County PUD he’s also on the board of the state-wide industry group. He’s pitching hard to get funds to improve internet access in rural Jefferson County.
(First airdate: June 18, 2019) Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Dick Schneider, who runs the Orchid Recovery Program out at Raincoast Farms. A lifetime ago Dick was a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. He relocated to the Olympic Peninsula to retire. But life in the slow lane didn’t sit well with a guy used to excitement. His interest in the food chain led to starting Raincoast Farms. It’s an experimental farm designed to help farmers increase their yield and quality. Farmers all through the region came to rely on him to guide them to raise fabulous fruit. The farm expanded beyond tomatoes, of course. Somehow someone asked him to save an orchid that was clearly on its last legs. He then became entranced with the tropical flower. One thing led to another and now, with two greenhouses full of orchids, he donates orchids to a wide range of charities such as hospice, the Dove House, and even individuals recovering from surgery or disease.
(First airdate: June 4, 2019) Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Rae Kala Stier, who’s now an Occupational Therapist for Jefferson Healthcare. Her passion for dance once led her to West Africa. She incorporated some of those African movements into an innovative hospital program called “Dance With Parkinsons.” It’s a rare exercise therapy session accompanied by live music. Rae’s story includes years of living in Baja, Mexico on a school bus or sailboat with husband and two small children. But, interestingly, as the kids got bigger the boat got smaller. The kids began to crave a “regular” life with things like school and soccer practice. That’s when the small “hippie tribe” moved to Port Townsend.
(Reprise airdate: May 7, 2019) DANIEL EVANS: RACE BOSS OF R2AK. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Daniel Evans, Race Boss for the upcoming R2AK (Race to Alaska). This eclectic event is now in its 5th year. It has expanded and evolved. Now there’s a race from Tacoma to Port Townsend called the 70/48 – that’s 70 miles in 48 hours. Not all that difficult? Well, the boats must be people powered – no motors, no sails – just muscles and grit. The main event is the 750-mile R2AK. Sails are allowed, but there are no motors of any sort. And don’t get eaten by a bear (that’s on Daniel’s business card too!). There are amazing feats of guts and glory. One guy made it all the way to Alaska on a standup paddleboard.
(First airdate: April 23, 2019) PETE SEXTON: PEDAL POWER FOR PORT TOWNSEND. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Pete Sexton, the owner of bike shop The Broken Spoke. Pete says Port Townsend is an ideal biking town – it’s small, compact and has many hills. Even the aging demographic works for a bike shop – the popularity of “e-bikes” (electric bikes) is soaring. Today’s e-bikes are half the weight of their predecessors and the battery lasts significantly longer. The Water Street shop sells, rents and even repairs bikes. And, by the way, the mechanics there can also repair walkers, wheelchairs and even golf carts. Pete notes that the shop definitely caters to the youth market. It sells Trek bikes – aerodynamic road bikes, from carbon race machines to refined aluminum models. You’ll see them flying like the wind around Jefferson County.
(First airdate: March 26, 2019) LANCE BAILEY: BUILDING A BIGGER & BETTER PORT TOWNSEND.Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Lance Bailey, Port Townsend’s Development Services Director. Whether you want to build a new apartment complex or remodel your home, all permits and approvals run through Lance and his team. Construction is at a historic high with over 900 permits issued in both 2017 and 2018. This year is on track to be even even higher. Growth or no growth? It’s a touchy issue. Lance is under a lot of pressure as demand grows for big subdivisions, apartments, affordable housing, tiny homes, ADUs and even single-family homes on in-fill lots.
(First airdate: March 12, 2019) CAROLINE CULBERTSON: A LIFE ON STAGE AND OFF. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis, interviews Caroline Culbertson, who is now known for her wildlife art. But for much of her career, Caroline was an actress. She traveled around the country, appearing in stage productions both large and small. She has fond recollections of days performing in the Catskills in New York State (affectionately called the ‘Borscht Belt’) and not-so-fond memories of being mugged at knife point in New York City. She now makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula where nature’s beauty turned her artistic nature to painting.