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Our Town

#242 Sheriff Joe Nole: JC’s Top Cop

(Airdate: May 14, 2024) Maryanne interviews Jefferson County Sheriff Joe Nole, the top law enforcement officer in Jefferson County. As a young man, his dream was to become a wildlife biologist. He was working for the Forest Service near Quilcene when he realized that a big part of that job was law enforcement — such as enforcing regulations that kept motorcycles out of the National Parks. Next stop was the Police Academy and he soon began a career with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. He rose through the ranks and decided to run for Sheriff in 2018. Sheriff Nole is a big fan of newer programs that offer counseling and treatment in lieu of jail time. He would like to see more mental health professionals partnering with the police force.

#241 Tracy Lemoine, Art and Autism

(Airdate: April 30, 2024) Maryanne interviews Tracy Lemoine, who juggles careers as a massage therapist and an artist while raising an autistic child. As a single mother, it took her years to get the proper diagnosis for her child. Not all counselors or therapists are trained to recognize the symptoms in a young child. And, as Tracy points out, an early diagnosis can make quite a difference in terms of getting proper schooling and other help. Tracy moved here shortly before the big pandemic lockdown. That timing also contributed to slow connections both for her business and for her child. But now her massage business, Shining Star Massage, is up and running. She’s also showing her art dubbed “Heart N Soul Art” at Art Walk and a number of galleries.

#240 Kris Nelson, Restaurant Mogul

(Airdate: April 16, 2024) Maryanne interviews restaurant owner Kris Nelson. Kris started working at a local burger joint when she was a 14-year-old at PT High School. After graduating  from UW with an economics degree she couldn’t find a passion that lured her to graduate school. But travel fascinated her. The Peace Corp seemed the only route until she figured out she could work part of the year and travel the rest. That worked for a while. But she wanted more. Sirens was a failing pub until she finessed enough loans to buy the joint. Over the years she has owned Sirens, Alchemy, the Fountain Cafe, the In-Between, the Old Whiskey Mill, and several restaurants. She also found time to be deputy mayor on city council, head of the Main Street Program, and many other civic bodies. Like almost everyone else, her business faltered during the pandemic. Kris spent every cent she had keeping it alive. But the pandemic wasn’t all bad for her – she got married on a romantic beach, zooming in friends & family.

#239 Superior Court Judge Mack: Change Agent

(Airdate: April 2, 2024) Maryanne interviews Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Brandon Mack. Mack was appointed to the bench by the Governor after Judge Keith Harper retired early. He had been serving as Court Commissioner. Prior to that he spent almost a decade in various District Attorney offices around the state. Mack sees himself as a “change agent.” He talks with pride about helping to start an Indian Family Court, complete with tribal flags in the lobby. His passion is family law with a particular focus on the foster care system. He says that cases involving Native American families have a disproportionately high rate of children ending up in foster care. Judge Mack plans on running for a full four-year term in the next election.

#238 Bob Wheeler Talks Sewers

(Airdate: February 20, 2024) Maryanne talks with Bob Wheeler, a leader in the team behind the new Hadlock Sewer System. Right now the entire Hadlock region exists totally on primitive septic tank systems. The new sewer system will be a game changer for the entire Olympic peninsula. Example: Habitat for Humanity owns 17 acres there. Current zoning restricts it to building three houses on that property. With new zoning thanks to a modern sewer system, those same 17 acres could handle up to 200 dwellings. This has major ramifications for housing supply on the peninsula. It should usher in more affordable housing featuring apartments, town homes and other multi-family units. Construction is now well underway and Wheeler estimates completion of PHASE #1of the sewer system by mid 2025.

#237 Mayor David Faber’s Ambitious Goals

(Airdate: February 6, 2024) Maryanne interviews David Faber, Port Townsend’s Mayor. David has just been re-elected to his second term as Mayor. He grew up in PT and earned a law degree. Back in 2014 he and a close friend opened a law office here. A year later he successfully ran for City Council. David is passionate about bringing certain changes to the town. The top three action items on his list sound insurmountable. Solving the affordable housing crisis tops the list. He vows to improve transportation — with an emphasis on fixing our failing roads. Then there’s restoring public confidence in the city government. As he notes, it will take decades of work to successfully correct decades of neglect. Government sometimes moves at a rather glacial pace!

#236 James Schultz, Quimper Sound’s Maestro

(Airdate: January 23, 2024) Maryanne McNellis interviews James Schultz, owner of Quimper Sound, PT’s record & guitar store. James was into music from a young age and moved to Seattle at the peak of the grunge music scene. He played and toured with a variety of bands. But none of them achieved star status. He was working at a guitar shop between road trips and almost by accident ended up with full time employment when he began to crave some stability. That snowballed into owning a guitar shop in Seattle. Next came ownership of Quimper Sound, one of the country’s most venerable independent record stores. It’s celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024. Online sales of both records and guitars are leading the shop into the future. Custom work such as inlays by Native American artists are now giving Quimper Sound’s guitars a competitive edge.

#235 Rita Beebe, Home Town Hero

(Airdate: January 9, 2024) Maryanne interviews Rita Beebe, a 7th generation Port Townsend native. As one of nine kids, Rita realized she’d have to figure out how to pay for college largely by herself. So she joined the military with an eye on the GI bill. The University of Washington came next.  Both Rita and her husband ended up at the Dept. of Defense. Their first foreign posting was Korea and they arrived with three toddlers in tow and one on the way. Interestingly, child care was  excellent — allowing Rita to run all of the base’s youth programs. Later their posting took them to Germany and they soon they added two more kids to their brood. Once again, Rita was in charge of a complex web of youth programs and sports teams. Childcare in Germany exceeded all childcare options back home! Rotation back to the USA came as the kids were nearing high school age. They opted to move back home to PT but money was tight. So the hometown girl got a hometown job — at the mill. She was soon one of the exceedingly rare women — a 5’3” woman working alongside the guys on the floor of the mill. No office job for Rita!

#234 1st Presbyterian Church 150th Anniversary, part 2

(Airdate: December 26, 2023) Maryanne interviews Steve Shively, an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church. This is Part #2— covering the 150-year history of the Church and simultaneously examining the history of Port Townsend itself. The venerable church became an elegant 600-seat gathering place just before the vaporization of the dream of PT becoming the NYC of the West. Each decade it echoed the ups and downs of the local economy. According to Steve, it has been ahead of the curve on some social trends —including ordaining women in the 1950s. “We want to be an incubator for social change,” he says. ECHHO, the group that loans or gives medical equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers is actually housed in “the manse,” which was built as housing for the pastor of First Presbyterian. In addition, it is currently partnering with groups on issues as diverse as immigration rights, affordable housing, LGBTQIA rights and more. On a very practical local note, there’s a free charging station for electric vehicles in its parking lot.

#233 1st Presbyterian Church 150th Anniversary, part 1

(Airdate: December 12, 2023) Maryanne interviews Steve Shively, an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary. Steve’s well-known in the community as former GM of Fort Worden and for his marketing company, working closely with civic and private groups largely in the tourism industry. First Presbyterian was founded by a group of seven determined Victorian women. This was long before women had the right to vote. In 1873 females couldn’t even be members of a church, much less have bank accounts or buy property. Yes, their spouses were the frontmen. But everyone knew what was happening behind the scenes. The church’s history mirrors the ups and downs of PT over the past 150 years. The elegant edifice uptown was built anticipating the boom that never happened towards the end of the 1800’s. This is Part #1 of a special 2-part Our Town, tracking the history of both church and town.