News around town: Change is hard, change is good

Patrick J. Sullivan
Posted 3/14/17

When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, and so this is your next-to-last regular edition of Port Townsend Observation Deck News Around Town.


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News around town: Change is hard, change is good


When it’s time to go, it’s time to go, and so this is your next-to-last regular edition of Port Townsend Observation Deck News Around Town.

T-SHIRT SAYING OF THE WEEK: “This is Port Townsend. No one can stay focused on a real problem.”

BREAKING NEWS OF THE WEEK: March 21 is my last day as an editor with the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader. I’ve resigned from the business, where I’ve worked since March 20, 1989, to start a new gig. Change is hard, change is good. I wrote my first "Observation Deck" column in 1989 and began this "News Around Town" feature in 2009. Journalists typically only receive public feedback when people are upset about something, real or imagined. "News Around Town" has been personally satisfying because of the positive feedback, especially from people who think what's being written is about them, or people they know. Well, you're correct. It has been all about you. The good part about the column's end? Now you can tell me embarrassing things about your family or friends, and know that it won't show up in print.

SCHOOL NEWS: The Port Townsend School District Board of Directors on Monday discussed graduation rates, and the state’s push for the Class of 2019 to earn 24 credits instead of the current 20 credits. PT High School is considering a shift from six periods to seven periods on two days a week (not on block-period days), in order to offer more electives. PT’s graduation rates are on par with the state average. One reason they’re not higher is the district’s effort to allow special needs students to stay in school past their senior year because adult services for them don’t kick in until age 21. “It’s a balance between what looks good on paper and doing what’s best for the kids,” says a principal, which is the rub for public educators everywhere. I vote for kids, not paperwork.

SENSE OF PLACE NEWS: Where we live sometimes is by choice, sometimes by chance. To live in East Hampton, Rhode Island, is to be a “Bonacker.” A “fudgie” is from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In North Carolina, you may live “up state” or “down state.” If you leave the highlands of South Carolina, you go “off the hill.” If you are from Kentucky, well, you are either from Kentucky, or you are a “brought in.” In Aspen, Colorado, most people live “down valley” because they cannot afford Aspen itself. In the Atlanta suburbs, it’s “living in the bubble.” Outside the Beltway at Washington, D.C., you may live in “NOVA” (Northern Virginia). In southwest Virginia, any direction is “out yonder.” And, of course, in Port Townsend, we are here because we’re not all there – some of us are in Irondale.

COACHING ADVICE OF THE WEEK: “You don’t let a bunch of high school girls run the show.”

SCANNER CALL OF THE WEEK: Multiple callers last Saturday afternoon reported an adult male who collapsed on the walking path along Sims Way at Kah Tai Nature Lagoon Park. According to a passerby who stopped to offer assistance, the man had been huffing “computer dust” – compressed air commonly used to clean computer keyboards.

OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES NEWS: “Papa makes the rules, remember that,” I tell my 7-year-old grandson in a disciplinary moment. He responds: “I thought who pays the bills makes the rules.” I could offer no adequate response.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: There have been plenty of wooden boat stories from my days along the waterfront. Large projects or small, boats or regular business, nothing rings truer than this comment from the man who’s investing $3 million of his money into restoration of the Western Flyer: “You underestimate the complexity of things when you don't know what you are doing.”

(Paddy O’Sullivan of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader has one more edition of News Around Town, so if you’ve got something good, now is the time to share by emailing


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