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This winter the Orcas Island community donated or pledged a staggering $1…
Is the San Juan Islands National Monument in danger of losing its…
“We are living in an age of miracles,” he said. “We’ve put…
After the tortuously slim, three-vote failure of February’s $8 million school bond…
Senator Kevin Ranker urged the packed-out crowd of islanders to “take our…
The San Juan County Council has approved a Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program…
San Juan County says it is at “the beginning of a new…
The San Juan County budget needs a major overhaul to prevent continued annual emergency reductions, County Councilmember Richard Fralick told Orcas Islanders recently.
Enthusiastic attendees voted singer Marissa Veldman to stardom tonight at the 2012 Orcas Has Talent competition.
The finalists are: high school band AllMost Canadian, Al Bentley on saxophone, Carl Burger on guitar, children’s acoustic string group Ceolinas led by Pamela Wirght and singers KT Laslo, Marissa Veldman, Maura Pelleteri and Rhiannon Lawson.
Dozens of children’s faces peered curiously from schoolbus windows as a 5th grader on his bike pedaled across the intersection of North Beach Road and School Road. He didn’t see the car coming, but some of them did. They stared in horror as the 11-year-old was knocked over and dragged beneath the vehicle, a gray/blue compact model. He was not wearing a helmet.
Volunteers prepared to serve food bank patrons during the holidays.
Eastsound trees have lately sprouted a smattering of colorful, trunk-warming sweaters. It’s a mystery who’s behind the cheerful smockery, but the pranks may be an offshoot of an international “yarn bombing” movement by the knit graffiti group Knitta Please, founded by Texas textile artist Magda Sayeg. June 11 has been designated as “International Yarn Bombing Day.”
John Olson spends time every week with a little boy who loves to go crabbing, chop wood – and eat sweets. "He is well disciplined, except when it comes to asking for candy," laughs Olson, who has been part of the Funhouse's mentor program for three months. He is following in the footsteps of his wife Suzanne, who has been mentoring a young girl for the past five years.
San Juan County sales tax revenue and real estate sales in 2011 are down slightly from 2010 totals. Sales tax numbers
The Vikings were defeated by the Shoreline Christian Crusaders on Friday, Dec. 16. The score was 21-32 at halftime, but the Crusaders widened their lead to 65-38 by game's end.
Two small children were taken from their Bellingham home by authorities last year because their mom was addicted to meth. They were placed in Amber and Justin Paulsen’s foster home, and became part of the island community for nine months. When unfounded allegations of child abuse by the kids' birth mother – who was mentally ill and had no contact with her children – spurred an investigation of the Paulsens, they decided to stop taking kids for a while. “We could have lost everything,” said Amber, the director of Kaleidoscope child care center with four children of her own. “We were incredibly traumatized.”
A preliminary analysis tipped them off: some islanders are having difficulty getting access to needed medical, dental and mental health care. The Orcas Island Community Foundation wants to know more. “What is the real status of mental, dental and medical care on the island?” asked board member Helen Bee at a recent gathering of health care professionals, philanthropists and other concerned citizens. Over the next year, foundation board members plan to gather as much information as possible on the subject, and they want to hear from community members.
Over 150 people visited the docks at Eastsound's Brandt's Landing Marina the evening of Saturday, Dec. 10 to oooh and aaaah over boats strung with colorful lights and candy canes. A new commodore presided over the Orcas Island Yacht Club-hosted event, fittingly attired as Old Saint Nick, passing out tiny candy canes and welcoming families aboard a boat laden with holiday cookies, hot cider and cocoa.
A steady stream of children thronged through the assembly line outside Wildflour Bakery yesterday to decorate a sugar cookie with colorful frosting and sprinkles. Kids slathered icing to their hearts' delight onto snowmen, stars, and glass ornament-shaped cookies, which were quickly devoured.
Over 1,000 cookies were baked yesterday by Orcas Christian School kids, teachers and volunteers for delivery to senior citizens around Orcas Island today. Each classroom trouped through the kitchen in turns to lend a hand cracking eggs, scooping sugar, melting chocolate and sifting flour, turning out batches of red and white candy canes, chocolate crinkles, pretzel-M&M bites, shortbread, coconut magic bars, cranberry cookies and more.
Clock in, lend a neighborly hand, clock out - and watch your credit grow at the bank. The next time you need help, you can cash in on that credit. That's the philosophy of "Time Banking," an innovative reincarnation of a very old concept that has recently mobilized a group of Orcas Islanders. "Time Banking is a way for communities to come together to help each other, without using dollars, or local currency, just time," said Time Bank volunteer Diane Emerson,
A group of island women gathered this morning to raise funds for Healing Hearts, an organization that offers confidential online counseling and studies for people with pain in their pasts. While they walk, they say they will pray for healing for those involved in Healing Hearts.
The new boys’ coach is an old hand at coaxing Orcas athletes into shape. Dan Drake has worked as an Orcas Elementary School PE teacher since he and his son Chase, now a junior, moved to the island from Bellingham 13 years ago. “It's just pure excitement, the anticipation of the coming season,” Dan said.
1,340-year-old mussels tell the story, says SeaDoc-funded study California mussels from the Salish Sea have undergone a serious transformation over the past millenium, indicates a recent scientific study funded by The SeaDoc Society. Their shells have become 30 percent thinner and are increasingly made of fossil fuel-sourced carbon. “Corrosive water has recently been documented in the northeast Pacific, along with a rapid decline in seawater pH over the past decade,” wrote University of Chicago researcher Cathy Pfister and colleagues in the study abstract.
Odd Fellows Artisans’ Faire Odds Hall will bustle with 40 talented island artisans, gift baskets for raffle, and the tantalizing aromas of hot food for sale wafting up the stairs. “We’ve got several new artists joining us, plus many of our old standards,” said organizer Carol Anderson. New this year are Suzanne Olson’s kids’ toys and furniture; Carla Stanley’s new children’s book; and wool products Jennifer Pietsch has made from her own alpacas. Cari Darner will sell upcycled tin can candle lanterns she has flame-burnished with designs.
Local superintendents ask legislature to shorten school year, stop unfunded mandates and continue redistributing taxes
The state legislature will begin a special session tomorrow in order to determine the scope and details of further cuts needed to balance the state's budget. The legislature recently received a letter signed by 35 Western Washington school superintendents, including Orcas Island School District superintendent Barbara Kline, Lopez Island Superintendent Jerry Jenkins, San Juan Island School District Superintendent Rick Thompson and Shaw Island School District Superintendent Rob Pattermann. The superintendents had three requests: stop issuing unfunded mandates; reduce the number of school days instead of cutting programs; and retain the Local Effort Assistance Program.
Recently passed liquor initiative 1183 will put the state out of the liquor business. Will it also put islanders out of business? Or keep substance-abuse counselors busier? It all depends on a myriad of factors.
The tsunami devastated the coast of Japan, washing away homes and killing 1,000 people on a winter's night. It was the year 1700. Japanese history calls it “The Orphan Tsunami” because it seemed to birth itself; they felt no warning earthquake. The Pacific Coast has no such written history, and for a long time quake experts believed that the closest fault, the Cascadia subduction zone, was safely aseismic.
A handful of adults approached the school board about the district’s handling of a recent adult-hosted high school drinking party, for which 10 student athletes were suspended from their teams. During the Nov. 15 meeting, Suzanne Morrisey read a statement in which she called the event a “coed drinking sleepover for minors” and said the school “used poor judgment,” disciplining “based on hearsay” and “a draconian system.” She called the school’s disciplinary process “a witch hunt,” saying it was “abusive” and “psychologically scarring to the children in your charge.”
The Port of Orcas has officially introduced its three new commissioners who will take office in January: Dwight Guss will replace Dave Noneman; Sheldon Gregory will replace Alan Edwards; and Brian Ehrmantraut will replace chairman Bret Thurman. They will join current commissioners Audrey Wells and William Hopkins on the board.
Orcas Fire will soon be searching for a new fire chief to replace Mike Harris, who is moving on. Board member Barbara Bedell will chair the search and selection committee, hand-picked by the Orcas fire board during executive session.
Old Jack Frost took a whirl through Eastsound last night, glazing the earth with a sparkle of hoarfrost.
It's a quiet weekday morning at the Island Skillet. A smattering of diners leisurely indulge in the eatery's “all-American” fare: shrimp and avocado omelets, eggs benedict, breakfast burritos. Recognizing the Sounder, an islander calls over: “The huevos rancheros are to die for.” Word of mouth is quickly spreading about the new restaurant that opened its doors last week in the Eastsound space behind Teezer's a spot last occupied by the Italian Luna's.
This coming week is National Community Foundation week, and Nov. 17 is National Philanthropy Day. The Sounder is recognizing these events with a feature of Orcas Island’s community foundation. Orcas Island supports at least 110 nonprofits with a population of roughly 5,700. The national average is around four nonprofits per 1,000 people, Orcas Island Community Foundation director Hilary Canty tells the Sounder.
Is it too late for the dainty red phalarope, the tufted puffin or the cackling goose? The birds are just three of 23 new species of Salish Sea wildlife that were added to federal, state and provincial “species of concern” lists over the past two years, according to a study just released by the SeaDoc Society. “Even if we just consider the 23 newly listed species, this is the greatest jump seen since we began tracking this in 2002,” said SeaDoc Society director and study co-author Joe Gaydos, PhD. The total number of “species of concern” considered by the study has nearly doubled, from 64 in 2008 to 113 by January of this year.
Community members thronged to Eastsound on Monday, Oct. 31 to trick-or-treat at local businesses and show off funky, creative, scary or sweet costumes. Our favorites?
Council member Patty Miller created a powerpoint presentation to help clarify details and ramifications of the solid waste parcel fee measure at an Oct. 20 town hall meeting at Orcas Island's Eastsound fire hall. Included are slides like "What does the ballot measure do?", overviews for Plan A (if the parcel fee measure passes) and for Plan B (if the measure fails), Miller's assessment of risks under each option, and more.
It will take you soaring over the blue-green San Juan Islands, plunging beneath the sea’s surface to peruse underwater creatures, into local hangout spots and face-to-face with more than a dozen individual islanders. All from your couch.
Orcas middle school teacher Laura Tidwell brought her leadership class to play in the mud at Eastsound's new constructed wetland today, designed to provide ecologically friendly stormwater treatment to 40 percent of Eastsound's winter runoff. The students spent two hours planting sedges in the bare earth. There will be hundreds of shrubs, bulbs and trees installed in the ground this fall. The plants will be given the winter to sink down their roots before stormwater runoff is shunted into the area next fall for treatment.