Our Town

Ken Collins: PUD Commissioner

(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.

Dick Schneider: Orchid Master

(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.

Rae Kala Stier, Occupational Therapist

(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.

#135 Daniel Evans, R2AK Race Boss

(First 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.

#134 Pete Sexton, Owner of Broken Spoke

(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.

#132 Lance Bailey, Development Services Director

(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.

#131 Caroline Culbertson, On Stage and Off

(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.

#130 Gary Lane, American Legion Service Officer

(First airdate: February 26, 2019) GARY LANE: READY TO HELP VETS IN NEED. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Gary Lane, the Service Officer for American Legion Post #26. Vietnam vet Gary was exposed to Agent Orange during the war. It took him quite a while to realize and accept the fact that he needed help getting the benefits due to him. He ultimately decided to put his expertise to good use. As Service Officer he has helped hundreds of veterans from all branches and all wars get the benefits and pensions due to them. Over the past seven years he’s learned how to maneuver through the endless paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. If you have a friend or family member that’s a vet, this show should give you some valuable insight into how to help your vet.

#129 James Kennedy, Jeffco’s New Prosecutor

(First airdate: February 12, 2019) Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis, interviews James Kennedy, Jefferson County’s new Prosecuting Attorney. He’s a decorated military veteran and a father of three. He brings to the office boundless enthusiasm and a determination to get the job done. Kennedy wants to revitalize the prosecutor’s office. He has openly questioned the turnover in the office under previous leadership.

#128 Bill Kraut, Hadlock Building Supply

(First airdate: January 29, 2019) HARDWARE HEAVEN IN HADLOCK. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Bill Kraut, the owner of Hadlock Building Supply. As a young sailor on a submarine, Bill had no clue that he’d one day be running a thriving hardware business on the Olympic Peninsula. But love showed him the way. This Indiana boy met his now wife Elena Lovato online. The rest, as they say, is history. The couple now have two teenage sons and are quite active in all sorts of charity events around the peninsula.

#127 Brenda Wildcat

(First airdate: January 15, 2019) BRENDA WILDCAT: A MOTHER’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Brenda Wildcat, the mother of a transgender child. Brenda survived a childhood in foster care, with multiple moves and schools. By the age of 21 she was a single mother with two kids to support. The brutal custody fights over her son culminated in her getting custody when he was 12 year old. He grew up,  married and had a child of his own before coming out. A reality television show on TLC has documented his transition from male to female, including multiple surgeries. Brenda has struggled with questions. But, in the end, a mother’s love led to her acceptance if her child and the difficult decisions made.

#126 Daniel Knudson, Feasting on Seven Fishes

(First airdate: December 18, 2018) DANIEL KNUDSON – FEASTING ON SEVEN FISHES. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Daniel Knudson, chef and resident cooking guru at Key City Fish. Daniel recounts his adventures through various Port Townsend restaurants – including the “paranormal” (or ghost) sightings that are common at venues such as the Manresa Castle. For this holiday season, Daniel explores the Southern Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. We live in a seaport, so even if we are not all Italian we can try to cook like one (with Daniel’s recipes, of course)!

#125 Mauricio Cisneros, San Juan Tacqueria

(First airdate: December 4, 2018) LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Mauricio Cisneros, the owner of the San Juan Taqueria. Mauricio first came to the USA from Mexico as a teenage migrant worker. He started his culinary career as a bus boy in Sequim’s first Mexican restaurant. He slowly worked his way up the ladder and along the way became an American citizen. Many people know Mauricio as the owner of El Serape and Nifty Fifties in downtown Port Townsend. But he’s now the owner of the San Juan Taqueria near Kala Point. Despite the constant scramble for good staff, Mauricio loves the restaurant biz – he’s a people person who loves catering to his customers.

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#124 Mike Howell, Howell’s Sandwiches

(First airdate: November 20, 2018) BUILDING SANDWICHES & DREAMS. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Mike Howell, the enthusiastic owner of Howell’s Sandwich shop. He’s a Chicago boy who followed his girlfriend (now wife) to Port Townsend. She had a job, he didn’t. After checking things out, he decided the vacant space Jordini’s once occupied was perfect for a Chicago-style sandwich shop. The walls are covered in old family pictures. One shows a very young Mike in a toy plane in front of a hanger at Howell’s Airport, once owned by his grandfather. Mike has big plans for Howell’s.

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#123 Kelly Barlow, Massage Therapist

(First airdate: November 6, 2018) KELLY BARLOW: SOOTHING SPIRITS AS WELL AS SORE BACKS. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Kelly Barlow, one of Port Townsend’s talented massage therapists. She’s a local girl – once upon a time she was even a cheerleader for the football team at Port Townsend High School. Over the years she built a thriving practice while raising her sons as a single mom. Like all great massage therapists, she listens to her clients. Stories get told behind the closed door of her tranquil salon. It’s as confidential as a confessional. She often ends up soothing spirits as well as tense muscles.

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#122 Jim Walkowski, Fire Chief

(First airdate: October 23, 2018) JIM WALKOWSKI: FIGHTING FIRES & SAVING LIVES. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Jim Walkowski, the Chief of East Jefferson Fire & Rescue. Those blaring sirens and flashing lights mean that our brave men & women are off to help citizens in need. But few realize that about 80% of the calls in Jefferson County are medical calls. Our aging demographics present unique challenges to the fire department. The department’s thinly staffed and badly in need of both more funds and more volunteers. Perhaps you should consider helping out!

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#121 Carlyn Stark, Sailor

(First airdate: October 9, 2018) CARLYN STARK: A SAILOR WITH A PASSION FOR SCHOONERS. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Carlyn Kaiser Stark, Emerita on the Board of the Maritime Center & the Wooden Boat Foundation. Carlyn was instrumental in bringing the 100-year-old schooner “The Martha” to Puget Sound from San Francisco. Her father, industrialist Edgar Kaiser, purchased the ship for his daughter and she brought it to the Four Winds Camp on Orcas Island. Carlyn was a camper there as a girl, then ran the place for years. As a token of appreciation the Camp (which is now a foundation) later named its huge sailing ship “The Carlyn” after her. Today school kids from Seattle to Orcas Island learn about the sea aboard “The Carlyn”.

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#120 Anita Schmucker, First Security Bank

(First airdate: September 25, 2018) ANITA SCHMUCKER: 100 KIDS & A BANKING CAREER. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Anita Schmucker, manager of the Port Hadlock Branch of First Security Bank. Anita switched from waitressing to banking and is excelling – she’s worked her way up the ladder to be branch manager. Along the way, Anita and her retired firefighter husband Andy have fostered around 100 kids. She’s passionate about children’s causes and works constantly to try to see that no kid slips between the cracks. She brings that same passion and enthusiasm to her bank. According to Anita, excellent customer service is the key to her career success.

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#119 Mike Garling, Metro Bagels

(First airdate: September 11, 2018) CREATING A NICHE BY BOILING BAGELS. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Mike Garling, the owner of Metro Bagels. After visiting 22 states in their Honda, Mike and his wife discovered their dream home on the Olympic Peninsula. But jobs like the one he had back at the Chicago Board of Trade are scarce out here. So he created a business plan for a bagel business. The local investment group, LION, was duly impressed. He’s now paid back their loan and Metro Bagels has locations in both Port Hadlock and Port Townsend. Not everyone sits and grumbles about their dead-end job. Determination and hard work can pay off.

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#118 Kim Rafferty, Jeffco Public Health Nurse

(First airdate: August 28, 2018) KIM RAFFERTY: FROM HIPPIE TO PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE. Our Town host Maryanne McNellis interviews Kim Rafferty, a nurse with Jefferson County Public Health. Once upon a time Kim lived in the proverbial hippie commune in California. But reason prevailed. She ended up becoming a nurse. She’s run group homes for mentally challenged seniors and run clinics on Orcas Island. Today she’s the public health nurse who provides foot care to seniors and disabled all around the county.

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#117 Ariel Speser, Northwest Justice Project

(First airdate: August 14, 2018) ARIEL SPESER: TRYING TO SOLVE THE UNSOLVABLE. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Ariel Speser of the Northwest Justice Project. The non-profit law firm handles cases ranging from eviction or foreclosure, to domestic disputes or sexual assault. The common thread is that their clients cannot afford to pay the going rate for a lawyer. Ariel always knew she wanted to help those in need – particularly children. She wins more often than she loses. But each case is a unique challenge for her. She brings endless enthusiasm to her 90 hour work week and still finds time to be on the Port Townsend City Council.

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#116 Richard Davies, Public Defender

(First airdate: July 31, 2018) RICHARD DAVIES: FIGHTING FOR THE UNDERDOG. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Richard Davies, head public defender for Jefferson County. Charged with murder? Caught robbing a bank? If you can’t afford to pay for a lawyer, the judge is likely to appoint Richard and his team at Jefferson Associates Council to defend you in a criminal case. After more than two decades fighting for the underdog, Richard’s still an idealist at heart. He’s a passionate believer in the American justice system.

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#115 Scott Rogers, owner of Dogs-a-Foot

(First airdate: July 17, 2018) SCOTT ROGERS: BOSS MAN AT ALDRICH’S & DOGS-A-FOOT. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Scott Rogers, who owns two local icons – Aldrich’s and Dogs-A-Foot. Scott jumped around a few career paths, laying carpets, selling security systems and running restaurants. But when the bottom fell out of his life in the Great Recession, Scott somehow found both the love of his life (his now wife Robin) and a home in Port Townsend. Buying Dogs-A-Foot four years ago seemed like a natural fit for his entrepreneurial nature. Then Aldrich’s became available a little over a year ago. Scott is trying to take the venerable Port Townsend fixture back to its roots as a true community general store and gathering place.

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#114 Polly Rogers, Mom’s Laundromat

(First airdate: July 3, 2018) POLLY ROGERS: THE GREAT GRANDMOM AT MOM’S LAUNDROMAT. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Polly Rogers, a mainstay at Mom’s Laundromat for the past several decades. What better place to delve into the town’s dirty laundry than a laundromat? Panties in the wrong bag can lead to inescapable clues. Polly was just 19 when she married a mill worker here. She ended up living in the same house in the Four Corners area for the past 63 years. Mom’s features a wall of framed “lost socks” and Polly was once humorously awarded a gold-plated sock. She’s never quite found gold in a laundry bag, but there was a laptop, a 10-inch clock, and lots of other strange items. Still, Polly loves her job and comes in early and stays late just to share in the stories of the ever changing cast of characters from townies to tourists.

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#113 Gary Keister, Old Alcohol Plant

(First airdate: June 19, 2018) GARY KEISTER: BRINGING LIFE TO THE OLD ALCOHOL PLANT. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Gary Keister, the new owner of the Old Alcohol Plant. Gary has a unique vision. Half of the property is now a charming Inn & Restaurant, with spectacular views of the Port Hadlock Marina and the coast beyond. It features galleries that celebrate local artists and hosts classes and lectures. The reincarnated Old Alcohol Plant is fast becoming a popular venue for weddings, parties and conferences. Then there’s the “other side.” Gary has a unique vision. Half of the property is the Bayside Tower, which houses community members in need of transitional housing. The ‘for profit’ side (the Inn & Restaurant) helps support the ‘non-profit’ side. It’s an innovative and compassionate way to help with our housing crisis.

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#112 Bob Snow, From Spook to Computer Guru

(First airdate: June 5, 2018) BOB SNOW: FROM SPOOK TO COMPUTER GURU. Our Town Host Maryanne McNellis interviews Bob Snow, former counter-intelligence agent. Bob was stationed in multiple countries around the world where he learned to “read” people and discover their weaknesses. He was a behind-the-scenes operative in places as different as the Amazon rain forest to the mountains of Germany. But here in Port Townsend, he has morphed into a Mac computer guru.

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