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On the morning of June 18, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Local 1849 (San Juan County employee's union) gathered to meet the San Juan County Council candidates for District 1 and 2. The candidates addressed the local and responded directly to questions from the members.
I have read several letters, pro and con, regarding The Sounder's reporting of criminal activities including the distribution and use of illegal drugs in San Juan County. Isn't that the primary function of any newspaper? To inform community members of controversial issues that ultimately affect all of us in one form or another, so that we might work together to resolve them, rather than candy coating them or sweeping them under the carpet all together, kind of like our politicians and government officials do. This era of political correctness has run its course, and has caused a lot of mistrust not only between people, but also between nations. Unfortunately, we live in an very dangerous and unpredictable world. So, if it's fairy tales you want, go to the children's section of the library, and maybe we can all live happily ever after.
When Ron Krebs was elected San Juan County Sheriff in 2014, the department had been experiencing a relatively quiet period.
Last week I weighed in with input on the dismantling of the community garden on Fern Street. It has come to my attention that some of the content of that letter was not entirely factual. This was not my intention, as information was gathered hastily and the letter put together even more so because of the machine work that was continuing at a rapid pace that had once been the garden space.
Last week it was announced that Island Hospital would no longer be providing management services for the Orcas Medical Center practice and Orcas Medical Foundation. It was also reported that OMF is having discussions with the UW Neighborhood Clinics to take over management of the Orcas practice. I propose an easy and local alternative for OMF. Orcas Family Health Center is a fully operational family medicine practice with providers, an excellent staff, scheduling and billing services. I have spoken with Dr. David Shinstrom, medical director of OFHC, who is very willing to move the practice to the medical center building. I urge you to contact the OMF Board who are listed at http://www.orcasmedicalcenter.com/omf-board and encourage them to pursue this extremely easy local solution.
by the Music Advocacy Group
by David Turnoy
I want to express my satisfaction and admiration at your courageous decision to provide complete and factual coverage on the recent murder-suicide incident here on my home island of Lopez.
Now that the County Council has completed the Shoreline Plan, they are turning to other pressing issues, including how to regulate short-term rentals (STR), which are marketed online through companies like AirBnB and VRBO.
The current Orcas Island Public Library was built 25 years ago, at a time when computers were still a novelty, smart phones were science fiction, and no one had ever read an e-book. Today, these new technologies are ubiquitous, and they are not going away.
Whenever I ask someone about joining one of the nonprofit boards I serve on, this is the reaction I receive: a panicked look, a quick shake of the head and "No, I am already on a board and I volunteer a lot. There is no way I can possibly take anything else on."
by Alex MacLeod
I enjoyed so much how the children poured their hearts and souls into their artistic expressions on stage. It was fun! The audience seemed to enjoy the confidence and courage of the children ranging from preschool through high school, including family acts, whether it be a four year old doing spontaneous moves above the stage with silks, dancing with grace and creativity, playing their musical instrument with earnestness and joy, singing with voices that express the poignancy of the songs they chose to sing. I am so thankful that Orcas Center produces Whale of a Show to give so many children the opportunity to either cope with fear and strong feelings or learn to skip the fear and express themselves with sincerity. I love everything about working/playing with children and adults involved in creating a Whale of a Show. Thanks again to each and every person who performed or helped with the show. I have so much appreciation and happiness.
Thank you for being a "news"paper. Serious news should be printed in the proper place, including the front page. The paper should be primarily for adults, not children. There is a real problem in this country over "trigger" words being used in our schools. We seem to forget the purpose of schools is to prepare people for the realities of life not coddle them. This applies to our media as well.
Editor's note: According to County Council Member Rick Hughes, the community garden was inactive for a period of time and grass had overgrown the space. Public works cut the grass down, planted new seed, took the deer fence down and reverted the area back to public access. Hughes said the area cannot be a parking lot, but he hopes a decision on the property's future will be decided in the next six months. The area can be a bypass, a walking pass, a road or a park and ride because the land was purchased by the public works department with road funding.
I wanted you to know that I appreciate these stories about what's going on in our community and I think it's important for people to know that just like anywhere else, we have crime here. Our islands are not the idyllic utopia that new people often believe it is.
I want to let our community know how thankful we are to the United Way of San Juan County, which helps Children's House keep tuition costs affordable and early education accessible for families that might not otherwise be able to afford it.
I wanted to tell you all how upset our family was at finding such disturbing news on the front cover of our paper.
We would like to thank Ezra Richardson of Orcas Workshop and his crew Vincent Amann, Jacob Heinen and Colin Blevins for their contribution of time and materials for our Art Camp this summer.
A small package directed to Shinola jewelry has been lost when the key to the locker where it was placed was put in someone else's box. Whoever picked up the mail apparently did not notice that the package was not addressed to them. Please check. If you have it, bring it back to the post office. No questions asked. These are repairs for pieces of sentimental significance to our customers, and in that sense these items are irreplaceable.
Winter is fast approaching. It's a time when the pace slows down, the rain falls and we start making holiday plans.
If you have borrowed a wheelchair or other mobility equipment from the Lions Club program at the Senior Center, please take the time to return items that are no longer needed in a timely fashion. We have noticed that some equipment has not been returned. Thank you.
I, too, was shocked to see the headline "Reality of Heroin Addiction – Is heroin becoming more common in the San Juan Islands?" on the covers of our local papers on Aug. 17. I applaud the writers of this well-written article as well as the editors for printing it as it behooves us all to be well-informed in matters that significantly affect our communities.
My campaign began at the San Juan County Fair. I visited with attendees, exhibitors, and vendors. My campaign website is Durland4Council.com, email Michael@Durland4Council.com, phone is 971-307-3377. I invite your comments on issues facing all of us in this county.
I've been attending the San Juan County Fair since I was a kid, and every year I am as enthralled as ever.
I was struck by Chelsea Irene Harrington's letter "Where have the birds gone"? Two years ago I posted on Facebook a similar question: "What has happened to all the song birds?" I found myself waking up at dawn, not to the beautiful symphony of bird calls heralding the new day, but to silence – or the occasional cawing of a few crows. The truth is the planet is warming at a dangerously rapid pace, and the decrease in bird life is just one sad result. It's admirable that groups are working to save wildlife and habitat, but if we don't reduce the amount of carbon in the air and the oceans, none of that is going to matter. As Chelsea says, we need to have honest discussions with each other, that in turn will motivate us to act. I have chosen to volunteer for I-732, a revenue neutral carbon tax (which the Audubon Society endorses) that will be on the ballot in November, but there are other things people can do. The first step is take our heads out of the sand and acknowledge what is happening. It may sound like science fiction, but believe me it's not.
"Where have all the birds gone?" asked Chelsea Irene Harrington in the Aug. 17 edition of the Islands' Sounder. I have been missing the bird visitors at my home as well.
I am disappointed with the recent series of articles featuring drugs, sexual abuse and other criminal activities on the front page of the Sounder. I could not help feeling embarrassed when I saw last week's headline about heroin abuse as I rode the inter-island ferry full of tourists and families traveling to the San Juan County Fair. Is this really necessary during the height of the vacation season?
Heroin, and drug use in general, is right up there with domestic violence, as issues we all know exists on our islands, but prefer not to talk about.
by Analisa Lee
Submitted by Paul Sheridan, Four Winds * Westward Ho
How can private contractors occupy four valuable parking spaces 24/7 on Prune Alley throughout the peak season? Where is their sense of responsibility to the island community? Do we have to post time limit signs (which no one wants to see happen) in order for people to be considerate?
On Sunday, July 24, my grandson was married at Odd Fellows Hall. He and his now wife are from Salt Lake City as were most of the family and friends. It was a beautiful wedding.
Friday Harbor's traditional Independence Day Parade has historically set a high standard, and it is our responsibility to deliver a fitting tribute and celebration to our community each year.
I've considered your offer to write a piece about my thoughts/objections to the article you wrote about the case against Sarah Coffelt. I've decided that the Coffelts have had more than enough unpleasant and unnecessary exposure, and do not want to call any more attention to them.
Over a month ago I graduated from high school here on the island. This is a time in my life that is filled with excitement and optimism. And while I am very excited for what the future holds, like many of my peers I have taken the opportunity to reflect. I have reflected on the people who have done so much for myself growing up. The organizations that have influenced me. And the community groups that have helped show me who I am. So now that I am moving on into the next phase of my life I can say that without a doubt, the Orcas Center has gotten me here.
There are three basic protection services on which we all rely and take for granted; fire, police and emergence medical service. San Juan Island is on the brink of losing our EMS. Funding entitlement expires Dec. 31, 2016 if Proposition 1 fails to garner at least 60 percent of the vote in our fast approaching election!
In my opinion our elected representatives in government, like Congressman Rick Larsen, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Governor Jay Inslee add proof as Super Delegates, they're not caring about what their constituents say! And since they obviously no longer represent our voice in our elected corporate government, it's our obligation as citizens to at least know we have other choices much more trustworthy and worthy.
Lauren Platman's article in last week's paper on conservation inspired me to share more ways to reduce our usage.
I'm voting for Bill Watson to make sure 2017 is the year San Juan County begins to seriously work on several important issues. Bill began his life in San Juan County working with the Economic Development Council, and he is committed to helping create a sustainable local economy. The revision of the agricultural ordinances is a beginning step. He believes after that there is much more to do to help agriculture remain part of the landscape and our culture.