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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.
Passersby stare as a lovely - and shivering - model clad in spring attire poses for a photo crew in front of the historic Episcopal Parish hall. A cold wind whips in off East Sound waters as sea-reflected sunlight highlights her auburn hair.
Orcas High School teachers, staff and students rocked the gym on Friday for the school's 2011 homecoming assembly. In black suits and ties, the staff kicked off the show, chair-dancing as they requested just a little Respect. They got it: thundering applause and a standing ovation.
An election forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 5 gave candidates and interested parties a chance to air campaign intentions and assess pros and cons of various measures on the November ballot. Port of Orcas Commissioner 2 Gary Abood and Dwight Guss are both running for the position of Port of Orcas Commissioner 2. “I'd like to see a little more 'putt-putt aviation' and a little less expansion,” Abood said. He said he favors “more traditional management” of the port, opposing any involvement with trash or the county dock. Abood said with the port's current savings account of $500,000, he doesn't see any reason to continue taxation at current rates.
The Vikings narrowly defeated the Cedar Park Christian Lions on Oct. 4 at Buck Park in an overtime penalty shootout. Story to come soon.
Groovy beats, sultry jazz: Orcas Horns, Lorraine Feather and Stephanie Trick to present a dynamic musical evening
Afro-Cuban, jazz, blues, and “good old American rock and roll” with the Orcas Horns make up just part of an upcoming Orcas Center concert. The other half? Cheeky lyricist and Grammy nominee Lorraine Feather, accompanied by sensational stride pianist Stephanie Trick, will put their own unique spin on tunes by Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Dick Hyman under the group name Nouveau Stride.
A Nov. 8 ballot measure will determine whether San Juan County property owners will pay a parcel fee to fund solid waste for the next 15 years.
When it comes to throwing a shindig, the farmers of San Juan County know how to pull out all the stops: an upcoming festival thrown by the county’s Agricultural Resources Committee will run the entire month of October. Talk about a fete.
State senator and Orcas Islander Kevin Ranker says it’s possible that Moran State Park is in jeopardy, despite the newly implemented parking passes aimed at bringing in more revenue.
Industry magazine "The American Surveyor" recently featured San Juan County Public Works Department in an article entitled "Driving the Islands." Industry magazine "The American Surveyor" recently featured San Juan County Public Works Department in an article entitled "Driving the Islands."
The latest public works’ project on Orcas Island has excavators uprooting trees, tearing out stands of shrubbery and creating a huge swath of broken soil behind the Village Green bandshell to build a constructed wetland for stormwater treatment. Some wonder if this really an improvement, noting an existing wetland indicated on county maps.
The Orcas Island Vikings faced off against St. Margaret's in San Juan Capistrano, California the evening of Sept. 16. They were looking for valuable experience playing a top-quality football team, and they found it.
San Juan County will be well represented at the upcoming 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference to be held in Vancouver, B.C. this October.
The Orcas School District has been awarded $68,584 to upgrade or replace its fire alarm systems through an Urgent Repair Grant program created by the state legislature.
Their goal is to establish radio contact with all 39 Washington counties. “It’s a way for amateurs to try and keep their operating skills up,” said Mike Mikuchonis of Lake Tapps, Wash., whose wife Gail is from Olga’s Willis family. Mikuchonis and a handful of other amateur radio operators will meet at the Willis family’s Woodside Farm on Sept. 17 and 18 to take part in the Washington Salmon Run or QSO party.
The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction recently released “report cards” for Washington state public schools. Encompassing both OASIS and Orcas High Schools, the Orcas School District was calculated to have less-than-glowing graduation rates of 65 percent, and 78.9 percent for fifth-year grads. Washington state averages are 72.7 and 80.7 percent, respectively. Orcas Schools Superintendent Barbara Kline says the report card emphasizes rigid timeliness at the expense of perhaps plodding but persistent successes.
County planner Shireene Hale laid out the initial version of the county’s new wetland regulations at a Sept. 8 town hall meeting. Hale and Orcas county council members Patty Miller and Richard Fralick fielded a barrage of questions from concerned citizens. “The reality is, you are responsible to determine whether or not there is a wetland on your property,” said Miller.
The grass will indubitably appear greener at the Orcas Island Golf Club this Saturday, Sept. 10, as community members gather to celebrate and support Orcas Center’s cultural contribution to the island. “You don’t have to be a serious golfer to enjoy the evening,” said Orcas Center’s executive/artistic director Kara O’Toole, saying the day is designed to supply fun for all ages.
Last year an Orcas child almost fainted during an after-school sports activity. She told concerned adults that because it was a half-day for school – meaning no cafeteria lunch – she had had nothing to eat since her school breakfast.
Orcas veterinarian Jill Bates’ first novel will make its debut at Darvill’s Bookstore on Thursday, Sept. 15. “My cheeks are so big I can’t fit through the door, I’m smiling so much,” said Bates. “[Writing the book] wasn’t hard work; you had to drag me away from it.”
For her work in Cambodia, the University of Washington has awarded its 2011 faculty award for outstanding public service to Orcas resident Tracy Harachi, associate professor at the UW School of Social Work. “It's been very awkward for me to receive this award,” Harachi told the Sounder. “If I hadn't met all these wonderful people along the way this project wouldn't have happened.”
A young male northern elephant seal was discovered washed ashore on the sand beneath the West Beach Resort pier early last Thursday morning. He looked exhausted, with strands of bull kelp wrapped around his head. “His respiration rate was a little fast for that large of an animal,” said Ashley Briese, a third-year veterinary student from Oregon State University on an 8-week internship with the SeaDoc Society.
The county Critical Areas Ordinance update now in process is intended to protect critical habitat from degradation by humans. Some folks call the new version heavy-handed, immensely expensive, or bound to drive out the county’s middle and lower class – while others wonder if the measures may be too little, too late for threatened species. “Every new layer of cost and regulation imposed by the county translates to less work for local families who depend on the construction trades to make a living,” said former county commissioner John Evans.
If your lawn is sprouting dandelions and clover, your bok choy is going to flower and himalayan blackberries are sprawling over your fences, pat yourself on the back. You’re creating crucial habitat and fodder for the Western honeybee, apis malifora.
Come September, Suzanne and John Olson, Suzanne’s daughter Lola Pederson and her boyfriend Brandon Banducci will saddle up for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s two-day, 150-mile bike trek.
Island-wide, startled kids are asking: “Is it that time already?” Yes, it’s time to start thinking about trading in swimsuits for dress code attire, frisbees for textbooks, and roadside salmonberries for cafeteria food.
Last Saturday inventors, tinkerers, energy specialists, green builders and even an Orcas Island-based national magazine gathered to swap clean energy tips, tricks and shop talk at the first ever Island EcoFest and Solar Science Fair.
Fifteen-year-old Matthew Bowen recently dusted the competition at Emerald Downs racetrack, sweeping his age division. The event? An art competition hosted by the Washington Thoroughbred Foundation, Washington Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association and Emerald Downs.
Island mama Mandy Troxel might be best described as nimble. She manages two jobs while raising a quartet of Rhode Island Red chickens, a duo of sweet, sandy-haired daughters and one extremely furry, bewhiskered dog – yet it’s rare to see Mandy without a smile and a cheerful word.
A significant policy shift written into the proposed “Code Enforcement” ordinance for San Juan County would give Community Development and Planning the right to levy civil financial penalties for code violations. Citizens of the Common Sense Alliance are concerned that as presently worded, the ordinance could also significantly expand the CDPD director’s powers beyond the limits of enforcing county code.
Twenty minutes out of the Greek port, the U.S. ship “The Audacity of Hope” was apprehended by Greek naval authorities and led back to port, and its captain imprisoned for four days.
Islands’ Sounder editor Colleen Armstrong has been promoted to the position of associate publisher. She will keep her editorial duties, but take on the responsibilities of managing the Orcas Island office.
Roughly 50 Douglas fir trees around Moran State Park’s Environmental Learning Center are currently being logged because they are infected with laminated root rot, a native species of fungus that rots the tree roots. Some of the forest giants now being felled are over 100 years old.
Orcas Island sailing is taking it up a notch, and they're doing it with gusto – six local junior sailors ages nine to 12 took to the road and traveled to their first Northwest Youth Racing Circuit Regatta June 25 and 26 on Vancouver Lake.
The Orcas Island Food Bank invites the entire island community to a dessert-and-hot-drinks open house on Sunday, July 10 to celebrate the opening of its new building.
Orcas Island resident Victor Boede, 53, was killed in a single-car rollover accident the night of Tuesday, June 28. Emergency responders found Boede deceased beside the Olga Road, just south of the Lambiel Museum the next morning, after a county road crew happened on the scene and called for help.