Meredith Griffith

Meredith posted 376 stories to Islands' Sounder.
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Without a hospital district, Orcas will lose UW Medicine

This winter the Orcas Island community donated or pledged a staggering $1…

  • May 22nd, 2017 9:58am

National monument status in danger?

Is the San Juan Islands National Monument in danger of losing its…

  • May 16th, 2017 10:46am

Republican Lincoln Day luncheon

“We are living in an age of miracles,” he said. “We’ve put…

  • Apr 3rd, 2017 1:30am

School board re-evaluates bond: Community forum

After the tortuously slim, three-vote failure of February’s $8 million school bond…

  • Apr 3rd, 2017 1:54pm

Senator Kevin Ranker urges, ‘take our country back’

Senator Kevin Ranker urged the packed-out crowd of islanders to “take our…

  • Feb 23rd, 2017 1:30am

County approves six-year Transportation Improvement Plan

The San Juan County Council has approved a Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program…

  • Nov 14th, 2016 2:07pm

San Juan County releases preliminary 2017 budget | Economy is ‘booming’

San Juan County says it is at “the beginning of a new…

  • Nov 7th, 2016 1:30am

Council members discuss future of San Juan County during town hall meeting

The San Juan County budget needs a major overhaul to prevent continued annual emergency reductions, County Councilmember Richard Fralick told Orcas Islanders recently.

  • Jun 5th, 2012 5:36pm

Marissa Veldman takes home Orcas Has Talent 2012 | Slideshow

Enthusiastic attendees voted singer Marissa Veldman to stardom tonight at the 2012 Orcas Has Talent competition.

  • Feb 5th, 2012 9:24pm

Orcas Has Talent finalists to compete TOMORROW

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.

  • Feb 3rd, 2012 6:01pm

Orcas elementary student hit by vehicle while biking home from school; no injuries

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.

  • Jan 10th, 2012 8:51pm

Photo: behind the scenes at the Orcas Food Bank

Volunteers prepared to serve food bank patrons during the holidays.

  • Dec 30th, 2011 5:54pm

Mystery knitters enfold Eastound tree trunks

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.”

  • Dec 27th, 2011 10:09pm

Friends forever: Orcas Island mentors forge relationships with kids

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.

  • Dec 27th, 2011 9:38pm

2011 sales tax, real estate sales down from 2010

San Juan County sales tax revenue and real estate sales in 2011 are down slightly from 2010 totals. Sales tax numbers

  • Dec 27th, 2011 5:08pm

Boys basketball: Orcas falls to Shoreline

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.

  • Dec 19th, 2011 9:09pm

Libliks to open a foster home on Orcas Island

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.”

  • Dec 19th, 2011 7:45pm

Community foundation tackles local health care

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.

  • Dec 15th, 2011 11:41pm

Photos: lighted boat parade at Brandt’s Landing Marina

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.

  • Dec 12th, 2011 7:25pm

Sugar cookie joy: decorating at Wildflour Bakery

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.

  • Dec 11th, 2011 4:53pm

Kids bake cookies for Orcas Island seniors

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.

  • Dec 9th, 2011 5:57pm

A new bank for Orcas Island: the Time Bank

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,

  • Dec 9th, 2011 10:10pm

‘Walk for the Wounded Heart’ raises funds for Healing Hearts program

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.

  • Dec 7th, 2011 9:48pm

Orcas basketball: Viking boys taking care of business

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.

  • Dec 7th, 2011 10:00pm

Salish Sea pH is dropping as carbon dioxide levels rise

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.

  • Dec 7th, 2011 7:00pm

Holiday fairs this weekend: Odd Fellows Artisan Faire and American Legion Holiday Bazaar

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.

  • Nov 29th, 2011 6:30pm

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.

  • Nov 28th, 2011 6:13pm

How liquor initiative 1183 will affect Orcas and Lopez

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.

  • Dec 7th, 2011 3:06am

‘The Big One’: potential local impacts of a earthquake or tsunami in the San Juans

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.

  • Nov 28th, 2011 5:20pm

Adults question Orcas school’s handling of student athletes’ suspension

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.”

  • Nov 21st, 2011 5:28pm

Port of Orcas update: 2012 budget; new board members face hangar association challenges

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.

  • Nov 21st, 2011 5:02pm

Orcas fire announces new chief search and 2012 budget

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.

  • Nov 17th, 2011 1:00am

Jack Frost visits Eastsound

Old Jack Frost took a whirl through Eastsound last night, glazing the earth with a sparkle of hoarfrost.

  • Nov 15th, 2011 6:05pm

Island Skillet cafe opens in Eastsound

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.

  • Nov 12th, 2011 4:07pm

Orcas Island Community Foundation: helping all ships to rise

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.

  • Nov 9th, 2011 10:24pm

Number of ‘species of concern’ dependent on Salish Sea nearly doubles

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.

  • Nov 2nd, 2011 9:53pm

Trick-or-treat kids, critters and creeps around town: Halloween slideshow

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?

  • Nov 2nd, 2011 5:48pm

Solid waste parcel fee: possible rates and risks explored in Patty Miller town hall presentation

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.

  • Oct 27th, 2011 9:29pm

‘Eyes of Islanders’ documentary film will highlight the splendor of the San Juans

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.

  • Oct 20th, 2011 9:14pm

Laura Tidwell’s students help plant at Eastsound constructed wetland

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.

  • Oct 21st, 2011 6:25pm