No Time to Waste

“I love entropy.” This is how my conversation started with Nikyta Palmisani, the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District (LSWDD, aka The Dump). I scheduled coffee with Nikyta expecting to learn a few data points about Lopez Island’s garbage habits. I left that conversation with that and an entirely new perspective on human…

Lopez Island’s Living Room

It was a sunny morning on Lopez Island, Aug 23, 2001. Jeff Nichols and the staff of The Galley Restaurant and Lounge were scurrying around making sure everything was set for The Galley’s reopening under new management. Jeff was nervous. Not entirely confident that The Galley was ready for business – especially at the height of tourist…

Lopez, what’s your story?

Several years ago, the Chief Marketing Officer for a large software company in Redmond, WA called me in a panic. Her company’s reputation was in a tailspin. Her marketing materials were full of technical jargon. And, if customers told stories about her company over social media, they’d talk about the last time their computer crashed.…

Share the Wealth

Most people, after a long, successful career, choose to turn things down a notch. Even though retirement doesn’t look like it used to, if people keep working, they’ll choose not to work as much; or they’ll focus on more leisure activities like golf or traveling.  Doug Benoliel and Tamara Buchanan are not like most people.…

It takes a [Lopez] Village

Over the years, Lopez Island Family Resource Center Executive Director, Celia Marquis, has been asked, “What does the LIFRC do?” A better question to ask might be, “What doesn’t the LIFRC do?” This week I met Celia, Patsy Haber, Susie Teague, Heather Gladstone and Alaya Battalia at the LIFRC in Lopez Village to find out. To put it simply,…

Get them on the road

If it was the beautiful country roads and Tour de Lopez that helped establish Lopez as “the biker’s island,” it will be entrepreneurs like Heidi Hernandez and Michael Cherveny who will help the island keep that reputation. Heidi and Michael opened Village Cycles four years ago and have been steadily putting more Lopezians and island visitors on…

SouthEnders

Someone recently told me that it takes about eighteen months to determine whether a newcomer to Lopez is going to stay. As a relative newcomer to the island, I can understand that. With a population of only 2200, this tight-knit community isn’t necessarily hard to break into; but it does have a unique vibe that…

They Bet the Farm on Lopez

It was the spring of 2013. Life was pretty good for the Rovente family. Anthony and Crystal Rovente owned a small farm outside of Binghamton, NY, where they were raising four boys and thirty sheep. They liked their community, and Anthony loved his teaching job at the local school, where he’d been teaching for ten years.…

An Island in Transition

As I’ve biked around Lopez over the past six months, meeting so many people and hearing their stories, the biggest impression left on me is that Lopez is a community in transition. New businesses are popping up, established businesses are expanding, farms are growing, and new families are settling. It seems Lopez has a renewed purpose. That impression…