Jerry Libstaff has released his second and third fiction novels, “Farther to Fall” and “Point of No Return,” with a book-signing held at Morso Wine Bar in December.
He describes his book concepts this way: “What would you do if you were nearly killed during a political assassination and awoke sequestered in a military hospital to find the nation and the world believed you to be the Second Coming?
“‘In Farther to Fall’, a man thrust into a position he wants no part of, has to face those who praise him as well as those who would destroy him. All the while, the government acts in the background to exploit his status and quietly direct his philosophies,” Libstaff said.
He said “Point of No Return” is an epic, moving tale of a young man’s life, loves and loss in the latter half of the 1800’s.
“While crossing the country in a wagon train, the boy’s family rescues an Indian child from a massacre, leading to their own destruction. Follow the boy, the child and three women as they move east to fall into new lives within a powerful dynasty. The story explores behaviors fashioned of wealth and politics, affected by the impact of the Civil War and the continuing devastation of an entire race of people,” he said.
Libstaff has written for newspapers, magazines and business journals up and down the West Coast. He is owner of Key Literary Concepts, a literary production company and he leads Watermark Writers workshops, a nonprofit group dedicated to support of literary arts.
Libstaff and his wife, Pamela, produce an annual house concert series called Words and Music from their home in Vaughn. Libstaff also presents an annual Young Writers’Program to encourage youth to write poetry, fiction, nonfiction and music.
His fourth novel, “Any Means Will Justify The Corporate End,” will be available in January.
For information, call (253) 530-3463.
The students and teachers at Key Peninsula Middle School have taken a big technological step with the acquisition of 30 new computers in the school library and two sets of Google Chrome computers on a cart that can be wheeled from classroom to classroom.
And, according to Principal Jeri Goebel, the school will soon get “a huge new TV screen for the library, so if a teacher needs to have the whole class look at a YouTube video or some other teaching aid, they can put it on in the library and everyone can see it.”
The new library computers are also available for students to use during their lunch hour or other break times.
“They can search the internet for things that are interesting to them or use them for research or for their homework,”Goebel said.
Many KPMS teachers have set up Google documents for their classes, so students can log on to their personal school accounts and work on their lessons, she added.
“Even though the bonds didn’t pass, the school district is still moving forward and updating our technology,”Goebel said. “And here at KPMS, we really appreciate that.”
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For the past five years, The Mustard Seed Project’s “Random Acts of Caroling” has been bringing in holiday cheer and much joy to Key Peninsula residents.
As the season of long nights begins, the group’s staff identify those who might benefit from a visit by a group of enthusiastic singers –– often elders who may have an extra burden of health issues or other challenges.
A group (numbers have varied from the early days with just four singers to more recently about a dozen) meets at the Key Center office. They carefully map a route that spans the entire length of the peninsula, and pack thermoses of coffee and cider to keep themselves fueled.
It’s a full day, starting before noon, said Edie Morgan, executive director of The Mustard Seed Project.
By dusk, about 15 homes have been visited.
“The biggest challenge is making sure people are home while retaining the element of surprise. Part of the fun is arriving when we were not expected,” Morgan said.
The singers are staff members, volunteers who work with The Mustard Seed Project, along with others who are in choirs or who just want to sing. Morgan said they have been accompanied by different instruments over the years too, but this year they hope to reprise last year’s performance with a ukulele.
“The experience brings tears to many eyes. I am next to certain it is tears of joy,” Morgan said with a smile.
Those interested in joining the caroling this year call The Mustard Seed at 884-9814.
The planned date is Saturday, Dec. 13. The van leaves at 11 a.m. and music sheets are provided.
Sometime during the weekend of Nov. 15 and 16, at least 25 Peninsula School District buses were marked with offensive graffiti.
According to Julie Richards, community outreach assistant, the dirty work was first noticed when transportation employees arrived to work early Monday morning. She said cleanup was only possible on some buses before they needed to be on the road to pick up students.
“Please know our transportation department is working diligently to remove the offensive language. This is an unfortunate incident and the district will conduct an investigation,” Richards said in a written statement.
Key Pen Parks has set its second of three public meetings in December the development of a master plan for Gateway Park.
According to Scott Gallacher, the executive director, the purpose of the master plan is to gather the community’s input for improvements at Gateway Park.
He said that he’s looking for input from everyone, youth included.
“We want to know what you want at your park. Do you want water features for the children, playgrounds or open space?” Gallacher said. “Come on out to these meeting and let your voice be heard.”
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Minter Creek Elementary School, located at 12617 118th Avenue NW.
This year, for the first time on the Key Peninsula, you can bring home a slew of unique, homemade, locally crafted gifts without driving any further than the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Even better, you can do it without opening your wallet.
KP Barter will host its Holiday Barter Fair Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in the center’s Whitmore Room. Area residents can bring their homemade or home-grown items to trade with those of their neighbors. The event is free.
Formed in April of this year, KP Barter is a new and growing group. They’ve held two barter fairs, the first in June and the second in September, each drawing locals ready to trade plant starts for goat cheese, jewelry for homemade fudge, salsa for home-brewed beer, and much more.
From the beginning, KP Barter has also encouraged interested folks to stroll through and check out the barter fair, even if they haven’t brought anything to trade.
“What we do is something a lot of people have never done before, at least not as part of an organized group,” said Alice Kinerk, one of the group’s founders. “It’s understandable they are reluctant to jump into something new. We are happy to have newcomers stop by just to browse.”
Browsers beware: Nothing will be sold for cash at the event. However, you can make arrangements to purchase an item off-site.
Barter vouchers are available at the check-in table for items that would be difficult to transport to the barter fair, such as firewood or laying hens. They can also be used to trade services such as tutoring or a haircut.
“Many people say they like the idea of the barter fair, but can’t participate because they aren’t ‘crafty’ and don’t have anything to trade. Almost always when they stop and think about it, they come up with something that would make a great trade,” Kinerk said.
The idea for the group came about after a couple of Key Peninsula residents attended similar barter fairs in Tacoma and wanted to create a group closer to home. Barter groups throughout Western Washington have grown quickly in recent years. However, the rural location of KP Barter makes it unique. “It’s great to have the event out here where we live because we are already a pretty close-knit community. It feels better to barter with our neighbors than to trek out to the big city,” Kinerk said.
Key Peninsula resident Meghan Conant has taken part in both of the previous barter fairs and plans to attend the upcoming event as well. She enjoys the variety of items people bring to trade and likes the fact that there is always something new.
“Although you see some of the same faces, people bring different things each time. It’s fun to see how people are talented. You might see someone you recognize but you never know what they’re going to bring to trade,” Conant said.
Although the barter fair is free, KP Barter does encourage those in attendance to purchase raffle tickets for $1 each. A variety of items donated by barterers are raffled off during the event. Money raised helps to defray printing costs as well as facility rental fees.
For information, to see what people are planning to bring, or to ask questions about the event, visit the Key Peninsula Barter Facebook page. You can also check out the group’s blog at or contact Alice Kinerk at 884-2723.
For the period of:
Sept. 15th to Oct. 15th
Total Calls: 175
Key Peninsula Firefighters responded to a burn complaint. The reporting party thought it was a campfire with people burning garbage. On arrival it was found to be a contractor burn and after contacting the contractor it was found he had no permit. The fire was put out and the contractor was to contact the fire department in the morning for a permit.
Key Peninsula Firefighters responded to the reports of a woman calling for help off the roadway near SR-302 in Rocky Bay. Neighbors heard the woman screaming and called 911 when they were unable to locate her. The woman was found outside of her house in the rain agitated. The woman appeared to be off of necessary medication and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Key Peninsula Firefighters responded to an elderly Gig Harbor woman. The woman has had a recent history of emergency department visits for shortness of breath and believed she had pneumonia. The woman received a breathing treatment and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Key Peninsula Firefighters responded to an accident where a light pick up truck crossed the center line in the Wauna curves and hit a school bus. The driver of the truck was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and was placed in police custody for suspicion of drug use. Two children on the bus were transported to a Tacoma area hospital with minor injuries. The road was closed for more than an hour for the investigation.
Key Peninsula Firefighters responded to reports of an unconscious woman. The elderly Gig Harbor woman had been dizzy for the past hour before calling 911. The woman was treated and transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Key Peninsula firefighters responded to an elderly Wauna man who had a history of gallbladder problems and had abdominal pains throughout the night. The man was transported to a local area hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Eight years after its inception, The Mustard Seed Project is getting closer to one of its initiatives –– building affordable senior housing on the Key Peninsula.
Working with a council of elders and surveying the needs of the community, the nonprofit identified senior housing as one of four focus areas, which also included transportation, information and referral, and health and wellness.
“We hope to build in Key Center, a good, central location for our community. Our vision is to have a campus with a café and meeting spaces, 10 independent living cottages that are one or two bedrooms with laundry, housekeeping and one meal a day provided, and then assisted living for 30 residents, including dementia care,” said board president Sara Thompson in a press release. “We want this to be a place that draws the entire community in, rather than a setting that sets elders aside in an isolated environment.”
The Mustard Seed Project Executive Director Edie Morgan said she has spent many years considering the models available for caring for elders in a way that honors their wisdom and encourages as much independence as possible.
She attended a workshop presented by The Green House Project. Terri Sult, a consultant on the project, said, “I have been in contact with Edie since 2007 when she first had the vision of what you would all like to accomplish so that people don't have to leave the Key Peninsula as they age and have home care needs.”
Morgan knows there are significant barriers to people remaining in their homes as they age. Although challenges to aging in place are ongoing, staff and volunteers have made real inroads in serving hundreds of Key Peninsula residents every year.
More than a year ago, a longtime supporter of the organization made a major gift to undertake a long-desired study to understand both the needs of the community and the financial feasibility for senior housing. As a result, The Mustard Seed Project had a meeting in November at the Key Peninsula Civic Center to explain the results of the study and to plan for the next steps.
In the model Morgan favors, 10 residents per household would have their own private bedrooms, which surround a central living, dining and kitchen area. Residents would spend most of their time in the central area, where they could help with meals, engage in activities and visit with family members.
A nurse would provide medical supervision but the care would be provided by staff trained to care for elders in a comprehensive way.
“We’ll be applying for a predevelopment loan to do all the necessary preliminary planning —to hire a project manager, to secure a site, hire an architect to draw up preliminary plans, and then to hire a contractor,” Morgan said. “We’re aware of affordable loans for the assisted living portion of the project, and can get standard financing for the other buildings. But there will be a funding gap, and we expect to need to raise nearly $3 million to make this happen. I believe we can do it.”
An advisory committee will work with Morgan and the board to hire a project manager. According to retired architect Bart Wolfe, “It’s critical to have a good professional team in place to help with due diligence on every step from site selection on throughout the project.”
The entire project, once the project manager is identified, is expected to take about two years.
For information about The Mustard Seed Project, visit themustardseedproject.org or call 884-1205.