By Grace McRae
Inspired Island first airs on the Voice of Vashon, KVSH 101.9FM.
Inspired IslandNov 21, 2023
Odin Lonning on his Tlingit art, respect for nature & leaning into teaching
In this episode, we sit down with Odin Lonning! Odin is a prolific and award-winning Tlingit artist based here on Vashon Island. Born and raised in Alaska, Odin has a deep knowledge of and relationship with the natural world that is reflected and celebrated in his art. With his wife Ann Stateler, who many of us know as Orca Annie, Odin is a tireless advocate for the rights and health of the iconic Southern Resident Killer Whales. Join us to learn how Odindiscovered and nurtured his interest in Tlingit art, including dance, song, and visual arts, and hear stories about some of his iconic projects. Odin shares with us why he is so inspired to teach and share his deep knowledge of art and his respect for nature during this chapter of his life.
Odin's website: http://www.odinlonning.com/
Don & Charlotte Stuart on "No Farms, No Food", murder mysteries & walks for inspiration
Meet Don and Charlotte Stuart! Don is a respected advocate for the economic, environmental, and political sustainability of farms and fisheries, and he recently published No Farms, No Food: Uniting Farmers and Environmentalists to Transform American Agriculture. Don also directed the American Farmland Trust’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office for over a decade and is a retired attorney. After a long career in academia and organization development, Charlotte is now an award-winning author who has published several murder mysteries - including one based on Vashon Island! Join us to hear about Don and Charlotte's career journeys, and how "retirement" has provided opportunities to work and write together. You'll hear how the pair caught the writing bug during a year-long sailing adventure and how their daily walks inspire creativity and collaboration.
Don's website: https://donstuart.net/
Charlotte's website: https://charlottestuart.com/
Manny Chao from Georgetown Brewing Company on persistence, relationships & Manny's Pale Ale
In this new episode, we get to know Manny Chao of Georgetown Brewing Company! Yes, our fellow islander Manny is the man behind Manny's Pale Ale, the iconic Seattle beer. Join us to learn about Manny's childhood in Spain and beyond, how he fell in love with beer while trying to impress a date during college, and the persistence it took to land his first big job in the industry. Manny shares how an economic recession created unique opportunities to start Georgetown Brewing Company and the story behind creating their flagship brew, Manny's Pale Ale. You'll hear why Manny loves running his company (currently the largest independent brewery in Washington!) and how Camp Burton played a role in him moving to Vashon.
Emily Wigley on six years of Orca Eats food truck, running a socially-minded business, and retirement
In this episode, we get to know Emily Wigley! Emily is the woman behind the beloved Orca Eats food truck. As Emily enters retirement, she sits down to reflect on what it was like to run this popular business for the last six years. Join us to hear how Emily’s teenage job taught her how food service can also be community service, and how she has put this into practice through her work with the Vashon Food Bank. Emily shares some favorite memories from the Orca Eats food truck, including what her most popular dishes have been, and how she managed to keep her business as eco-friendly as possible. We also get a sneak peak into some of her plans for retirement — including enjoying her horses!
Follow Emily on Instagram @orca_eats
Ann McLaughlin on her book "World Change-Maker", making positive impacts, and stories from around the world
In this episode, we chat with Ann McLaughlin! Ann recently published the book "World Change-Maker: Build Skills in International Development and Social Work", which is designed as a guidebook to help people looking to volunteer or work internationally. But, as we discuss in the interview, the book offers value for anyone hoping to make a positive impact on the world. Ann is a psychotherapist and social worker by training, Ann provides coaching and services to prospective and current social and humanitarian workers around the world through her organization NGOabroad. Join us to hear stories from Ann's work with communities around the world, including a pivotal moment that taught her the importance of doing assessments and asking thoughtful questions before launching projects. We discuss how working at a summer camp helped inspire Ann's commitment to service, why she chose Vashon as her home base, her love for the outdoors, and much more!
Tara Morgan on becoming a traveling barber during the pandemic, being a solopreneur & supporting inclusion in rowing
In this week's episode, we chat with Tara Morgan of C'Mon Barber! During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a simple request from a neighbor led Tara to her new passion and business venture. After finishing barber school, Tara launched a mobile barbershop in June 2021, biking or driving to islanders to cut, groom, and style their hair in the comfort and safety of their own surroundings. Tara has since expanded offerings to include pop-up events and a new barbershop, located in a renovated van parked at the Country Store & Farm. Join us to hear why Tara believes a haircut can be powerful and how her dad's memory inspires many aspects of C'Mon Barber. We also discuss Tara's love for rowing and the nonprofit she founded - Seize the Oar Foundation - to champion greater inclusion in the sport, and how Tara finds community with other "solopreneurs" on Vashon Island.
If you're a longtime Voice of Vashon radio listener, you may recognize Tara from “New Kids on the Rock”, which she co-hosted with Adam Day, or from the popular "Dear Vashon" special episodes of the Morning Scramble!
Follow Tara and C'Mon Barber on Instagram: @cmon_barber
Dr. Jim Bristow on Vashon's remarkable response to COVID, and his journey to medicine & genomics
Join us to get to know Dr. Jim Bristow! Many of us on Vashon Island know Dr. Bristow from his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic; he is part of a core team of volunteer medical professionals who have worked tirelessly to keep Vashon safe and informed. But what you might not know is that Dr. Bristow is a semi-retired physician-scientist who practiced as a pediatric cardiologist in San Francisco, but also worked as Deputy Director of the Department of Energy's genomics facility in Berkeley, California. Join us to hear how a kid who disliked school ended up at Harvard Medical School, why Dr. Bristow gravitated toward pediatric cardiology, and how family and biking inspired him to move from San Francisco to Vashon Island. And we also learn behind-the-scenes stories from Vashon's COVID-19 response!
Amy Carey on how orcas led her to advocacy & living out her Doctor Dolittle dreams
In this episode, we get to know Amy Carey! As the Executive Director of Sound Action, Amy helps to protect vital nearshore habitat and species -- including wild salmon and orca -- across the Puget Sound region. Amy is well known for her local expertise in animals and wildlife, and she is also behind the Pod Blast, a subscription alert system providing text notifications when whales are visiting Vashon and Maury Islands. But you might not know that Amy was born and raised in Iowa and did not see the ocean until she was 18 years old! In this episode, you'll hear how Amy came to the Pacific Northwest and fell in love with the local orcas, who ultimately inspired her to advocate for the habitats and ecosystems they depend on. You'll also hear about Amy's latest passion project: a hydrophone and underwater camera at Point Robinson!
Sound Action: https://soundaction.org
Pod Blast: https://soundaction.org/podblast
Livestream from the Nearshore Underwater Camera: https://soundaction.org/orcacam
Captain Marsha Morse on life as a ferry captain & her front row seat to Puget Sound
In this episode, Grace sits down with Captain Marsha Morse, one of the most experienced ferry captains in Washington State. Captain Morse was one of the very first women to be hired by Washington State Ferries, working her way up from an entry-level position in the 70s. Join us to hear how it was Captain Morse’s horse that led her both to Vashon Island and into this unique career, and how working on the ferries gives her a front row view of Puget Sound nature and wildlife. Marsha shares interesting tales from the water, what a typical day as a ferry captain looks like, and what’s on the horizon for her as she approaches retirement (hint: she’ll stay busy!).
Kate Dowling on what it's like to run a radio station (& her international love story!)
Inspired Island is back after a long hiatus!! In this episode, we sit down with Kate Dowling. As Executive Director of Voice of Vashon, Kate manages the day-to-day operations of our beloved community radio station. Kate’s story takes us across the world, from her childhood in Canada, to adventures in Europe as an au pair, to San Antonio, to traveling around Asia for her job at Starbucks. Join us to hear the serendipitous way she met her American husband on a German street, the history behind her Vashon house, and why Kate loves the VoV community!
Captain Joe Wubbold on his Coast Guard career, Vashon's lighthouse & pursuing passions in retirement
After a winter hiatus, we're back with an exciting new interview! Captain Joe Wubbold is well-known on Vashon for being a guardian, historian, and educator for our historic Point Robinson lighthouse. Captain Joe had a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Coast Guard, where he commanded six different ships and served as Chief of Operations for the 13th Coast Guard District (including the Pacific Northwest). But Captain Joe hasn't slowed down in retirement! Join us to hear why Captain Joe spent years at Cambridge University after he retired from the Coast Guard, how a single cat was central to his decision to buy a home on Vashon, and why he recently started his own VoV show, "From the Captain's Chair"!
Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma on travel, finding beauty in words & yurt living
In this episode, we meet Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma! Tom is married to last week's guest, David Mielke, and together they are preparing to premiere their show, "Gaybaret: An Offering of Story and Song" on November 22 at Vashon Center for the Arts. Tom is an author, poet, translator, teacher, magician, and musician. His first book of poems, The Safety of Edges, was published earlier this year. Tom tells us how spending time in India inspired him to study the Tamil language, and sparked a deep passion for words and poetry. Join us to hear how Tom spent years studying poetry before writing his own, why he loves living in a yurt, and what people can expect from "Gaybaret"!
Tom's website: https://thomaspruiksma.com
David Mielke on professional acting, "Gaybaret", & the teacher who changed his life
In this episode, we meet David Mielke! David and his husband Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma are performing their original show "Gaybaret" at Vashon Center for the Arts from November 22 to 24, 2019. David is a professional actor, having appeared in both film and television and creating and performing one-person shows. Join us to hear how one amazing teacher changed David's life and helped him overcome a traumatic childhood, and what it was like for David being a gay actor in Los Angeles during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. David tells us about his journey to become his authentic self, how he met Tom, and what it's like to create and perform together.
Gaybaret website: https://vashoncenterforthearts.org/event/gaybaret/2019-11-22/
Cozy Grammar website: https://www.cozygrammar.com
Israel & Sue Shotridge on sharing native Tlingit culture through art
In this episode, we meet Israel and Sue Shotridge! You may know Sue and Israel as owners of the Raven's Nest gallery here on Vashon Island. Israel is a celebrated Tlingit artist and master carver, and Sue manages their businesses. Join us to hear how Sue and Israel fell in love, and how Israel's mother's passion for preserving the Tlingit language is a source of inspiration for them both. Sue and Israel share the stories behind Israel's famous totem poles, why they love sharing cultural knowledge through art, and even perform some special songs for VoV listeners!
Shotridge Studios: https://shotridgenativeamericanart.com
Bruce Haulman on studying Vashon's past and present
In this episode, we meet Bruce Haulman! As a historian and educator, Bruce has spent years digging into Vashon's history - from prehistoric time to today. Bruce has authored many publications, including the popular book "A Brief History of Vashon Island." But Bruce doesn't only study Vashon's past; he's very involved in our community here and now. Join us to hear how growing up in D.C. helped foster Bruce's appreciation of history, and learn about his unique academic pursuits (spoiler: movies are involved!). Bruce shares some of the highlights of Vashon's history and his personal passions for connecting people and being on the water!
Bruce's Vashon history website: http://www.vashonhistory.com
Vashon Heritage Museum: https://vashonheritagemuseum.org
Joseph Bogaard on saving wild salmon in the PNW & his journey to advocacy
In this episode, we meet Joseph Bogaard! As the Executive Director of the Save Our Wild Salmon coalition, Joseph advocates to restore a healthy wild salmon population in the Pacific Northwest. Doing so is not only important for economic and cultural reasons, but we also need more salmon to feed the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. Joseph tells us how his love for the natural world earned him a special childhood nickname, and why advocacy drew him to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. Join us to learn all about wild salmon and what we can do to save them!
Save our Wild Salmon's website: https://www.wildsalmon.org
Maridee Bonadea on following passions, the life of an advocate & being LGBTQ on Vashon Island
In this episode, we meet Maridee Bonadea! Maridee is a mover and shaker behind the scenes at the Vashon Heritage Museum’s exhibit “IN AND OUT: Being LGBTQ on Vashon Island” (through March 2020) and the "Queer Film Festival" she's been putting together. Maridee grew up in a military family, but found herself drawn to the world of social activism at an early age. Join us to hear about some of Maridee's many adventures, including her time as a young activist in NYC, a cross-country bike trip to Seattle, and spending time in Mali with the Peace Corps! Maridee shares why she decided to attend college later in life, how she got involved with the Vashon Heritage Museum, and chats about her latest project: a memoir!
Maridee's blog: https://marginsofthe.blogspot.com
Gib Dammann on growing up behind a frat house, solar power & reducing waste
In this episode, we meet Gib Dammann of Zero Waste Vashon! Gib is a professional architect with a passion for reducing waste on Vashon. Gib is a co-founder and current president of Zero Waste Vashon, a group working to make the island a model green community. Gib shares stories from his childhood growing up behind a UVA fraternity house and how he took an interest in both architecture and clean energy at an early age. Join us to hear what Zero Waste Vashon is up to, and why Gib thinks Vashon is a good "petri dish" for experimentation!
Gib's architectural design company: https://dammanndesign.com
Zero Waste Vashon: http://zerowastevashon.org
Robin Pollard on becoming a coffee roaster & wine maker, and launching Pollard Coffee
Robin Pollard is the woman behind Vashon's newest cafè, Pollard Coffee. Robin spent many years promoting Washington's tourism and wine industries, serving as the state's tourism director and then executive director of the Washington State Wine Commission. But having grown up on a farm in Iowa, Robin found herself yearning to grow something of her own. Today, Robin is a celebrated coffee roaster, vineyard owner, and wine maker. Join us to hear how Robin's parents inspired her to become an entrepreneur and start her brand "Pollard Per Se", how she taught herself to roast coffee beans and start a vineyard, and the story behind Pollard Coffee!
Pollard Per Se's website: www.pollardperse.com
Pollard Per Se's Instagram: www.instagram.com/pollardperse/
Jeff Hoyt on finding a career using his voice & his love for radio
This week, we get to know Jeff Hoyt! Voice of Vashon listeners know Jeff as co-host of the Morning Scramble on Thursdays and also from the popular Hoytus Interruptus. But what you might not know is that Jeff is a top-tier voice actor who is heard by people around the world! Jeff's voice can be heard in radio and television ads, web videos, films, online learning courses, and audiobooks. Join us to hear how Jeff's passion for radio started at a young age, and how he eventually found a career using his voice. Jeff also shares his favorite memories from Vashon Island, including running the popular "Church of Great Rain" live comedy variety show and helping to raise the radio tower for KVSH's emergency alert system.
Jeff's website: http://worldofhoyt.com
Michael Meade on how storytelling saved his life & using myths to understand our world
In this episode, we meet Vashon’s resident philosopher and mythologist Michael Meade! Michael is a renowned storyteller and author, tapping into ancient myths and ancestral sources of wisdom to help us see the world today.
Michael is the founder of Mosaic Voices, a nonprofit that is dedicated to community healing by supporting and educating at-risk youth, refugees, combat veterans, and communities in need.
Join us to hear how Michael got involved in street gangs while growing up in New York City, and how a gift Michael received on his thirteenth birthday changed the course of his life. Michael explains why he believes facts alone never tell the full truth, how facing and healing one’s wounds can often uncover one’s purpose in life, and why he loves those bumper stickers calling to “Keep Vashon Weird.”
Stacey Hinden on the Vashon Wilderness Program & how we all benefit from connecting with nature
In this episode, we meet Stacey Hinden! As director of the Vashon Wilderness Program, Stacey is passionate about connecting people to the natural world and to themselves. A native New Yorker, Stacey describes what it was like to move from the Big Apple to Vashon Island. When she arrived here, Stacey was inspired by a program once run by the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS). But when WAS could no longer serve Vashon, Stacey and others stepped up to create what is now the Vashon Wilderness Program. Stacey discusses the theory behind “coyote mentoring,” the many benefits of connecting with nature, and why she loves Vashon.
Chris Ballew on rising to fame with Presidents (the band) & finding his true path
You may remember Chris Ballew as lead singer and songwriter of the popular band Presidents of the United States of America, whose hits "Lump," "Peaches," and "Kitty" climbed to the top of national music charts. But these days, Chris is making and performing music for kids and their parents under the pseudonym "Caspar Babypants." Host Grace McRae chats with Chris about how his musical style developed in childhood, his rapid rise to fame with Presidents, and how he realized that being a conventional "rock star" wasn't his passion. Chris explains how his wife Kate Endle's artwork influences his whimsical music, the story behind the name Caspar Babypants, and how Vashon Island brings him peace.
Chris' website: https://chrisballew.org/home
Chef Lia Lira on the NYC culinary scene, being on "Top Chef" & story behind Bramble House
In this episode, we meet Chef Lia Lira of Bramble House! Lia spent much of her childhood on Vashon Island, before launching an impressive culinary career that has taken her around the world. Join us to hear how Chef Lia advanced quickly in the New York City culinary scene, what she thought about being a contestant on the television show “Top Chef”, and the full story behind Bramble House!
Bramble House: http://bramblevashon.com
Lia's Instagram: @chef_lia
Matt Lawrence on turning his passion project into Camp Colvos Brewing
In this episode, we meet Matt Lawrence of Camp Colvos Brewing! After years of experimenting brewing beer at home, Matt recently opened Camp Colvos with the help of some talented friends. While Matt already had a day job, his love for beer gave him the drive to pursue this all-consuming passion project. And since opening the Campsite taproom this past January, Camp Colvos has created quite a “buzz” on the island. Join us to hear about why Matt moved from Chicago to Vashon, his love for the Thriftway beer aisle, and how he is turning a hobby into a growing island business!
Camp Colvos website: https://campcolvos.com
Matt's Instagram: @mj_lawrence
Tina Shattuck on celebrating & connecting women on Vashon Island and beyond
On this episode, we meet Tina Shattuck! Tina is passionate about celebrating and connecting women and girls here on Vashon Island and beyond. Her new venture, Women Hold the Key, provides a way for women to recognize other women in their local and global community. Join host Grace McRae to hear how motherhood inspired Tina to redirect her career path, learn all the different ways Tina has supported women and girls on the island over the years, and the story and symbolism behind the beautiful “key” pendants associated with Women Hold the Key!
Chris Austin on breaking up with dentistry & his love for cycling and making you laugh
In this episode, we get to know Chris Austin! You may know Chris from Voice of Vashon’s The Mostly True Radio Show, where he and cohost Anneli Fogt share hilarious news stories and jokes every Sunday afternoon. But what you may not know is that Chris started his career as a dentist! When he realized that dentistry no longer inspired him, Chris kicked off a fascinating career journey that has included being a technology entrepreneur, defense contractor, and even working at The Beachcomber, Vashon's local newspaper! Join us to hear about Chris’ lifelong love for learning, cycling, and making people laugh.
Susan McCabe on storytelling, radio & why Vashon Island is a haven for creative people
This episode, Grace sits down with Susan McCabe! For many listeners of KVSH, Susan needs no introduction. For the past five years, Susan was Voice of Vashon’s Station Manager – and she’s been involved with VoV since its early days. Join us to learn how Susan’s passion for storytelling started early — and involved worms — how she first got involved in radio, and why Susan thinks Vashon is a special haven for creative people.
Geoff Fletcher on his love for tech and education & being president of Vashon Island Pet Protectors
In this episode, we get to know the dynamic Geoff Fletcher! Geoff is an educator whose career has included classroom teaching, shaping technology and curriculum for Texas’ public schools, and being editor of two technology publications.
These days, Geoff donates his time and expertise to the Vashon community in many ways, including serving as President of Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP)and hosting VoV’s Boogie Back to Texas. Join us to hear how an unfortunate ferry crash caused Geoff and his wife Terri to consider moving to Vashon, how a funny t-shirt got Geoff involved with VIPP, and more!
Truman O'Brien on flying -- from his father's ranch to Alaska Airlines!
In this episode, we meet pilot Truman O’Brien! When an employee on his father’s ranch in Montana offered to teach Truman to fly a small plane, he didn’t know it would lead to a lifelong passion for the skies. After college, Truman worked as an educator (including on Vashon in the 70s!) but made the surprising decision to become a commercial pilot at age 33. After over two decades flying for Alaska Airlines, Truman retired but has yet to slow down. These days, Truman can be found at Vashon Airport and co-hosting VSH's Morning Scramble every Tuesday morning!
Jason Staczek on making music & composing film scores
In this episode, we meet the multi-talented musician Jason Staczek. Jason tells us how a seventh-grade music teacher in Miami sparked his interest in music, and how he finally decided to pursue a career in music after studying physics at the University of Michigan. Tune in to hear about Jason‘s journey from touring with a band in his twenties to his current career composing film scores, producing music, and more!
Ray Pfortner on how working at the EPA ultimately led him to professional photography
In this episode, Grace sits down with legendary photographer Ray Pfortner. Ray has worked in the world of professional photography for over 20 years and knows the industry inside and out. Ray describes how he first got into photography, his unconventional career path, and the stories behind some of his most iconic photographs. They also chat about Ray’s passion for coaching new talent – including here on Vashon Island!
Ray's website: http://www.raypfortner.com/
Wendy Dahl on helping people build stronger relationships with their pets
In this episode, Wendy Dahl joins us to talk about her passion for helping people better understand their furry family members! At Dahl Animal Behavior and Massage, Wendy works with people and their pets all around Vashon Island and beyond. Wendy will discuss how her love for animals started in childhood, and how she follows her passion in both her career and volunteer work. You’ll also hear how Wendy helped your host, Grace McRae, build a stronger relationship with her own puppy “Rio.”
Wendy's website: https://dahlbehavior.com
Chef Dave Hatfield on moving to Vashon to run Pink Tractor Farm & taking "farm-to-table" to the next level
In this episode, we get to know Dave Hatfield of the Pink Tractor Farm! Dave has worked as a professional chef for over 20 years, but he often struggled to find fresh, high-quality ingredients. When the recession hit, Dave started growing vegetables in his front yard for the restaurant he was running in Bend, Oregon. He soon realized that these vegetables were fresher than anything he could buy. Five years ago, Dave and his wife moved to Vashon and began farming and hosting elaborate farm-to-table dinners. Tune in to hear more about Dave’s passion for all things food-related!
Pink Tractor Farm's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pinktractorfarm
Laura Cherry of Dragon's Head Cider on growing apples, making cider & launching a business from Vashon Island
In this episode, we sit down with Laura Cherry of Dragon’s Head Cider to hear how she turned a passion for cider into a successful business! In 2010, Laura and her husband Wes moved to the island with the dream of starting a cidery. Laura did not have any prior experience in the beverage industry, but she dove headfirst into planting an orchard and experimenting with cider making. Today, Dragon’s Head Cider is home to over 3,000 fruit trees and their award-winning ciders are sold across the state and beyond.
Alex Sinner on woodworking, music, and growing up on Vashon Island
In the inaugural episode of Inspired Island, we sit down with Vashon native Alex Sinner! We chat about what growing up on Vashon is like, how nature inspires Alex’s work at Vashon Woodworks, and his passion for music and trucks.
Follow Alex on Instagram! www.instagram.com/oneboot206
Vashon Woodworks website: https://vashonwoodworks.com
Introducing: Inspired Island!
Welcome! In this super-short first episode, you'll meet your host and learn the backstory of "Inspired Island."