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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.
I am running for County Council Position 1. I am best known for my integrity, charitable activities, and for starting Community Treasures. I do not support polluting our county rural roads with political signs, so I invite you to visit my website to review my platform and leadership experiences over the last 40 years. www.penwell4council.com
So many people came together in support of this year's mayoral election. The gratitude I feel is almost impossible to express, and I'm still reeling from the incredible finish – which raised more than $16,000 in support of the Children's House Preschool program.
The Art Auction at the Orcas Senior Center was a success! It was a terrific evening of honoring art, food, friends, and community. We would like to thank all the generous artists and donors who contributed the many beautiful art pieces that will now adorn many homes on Orcas Island and beyond! Thank you to everyone who attended and for your generosity towards the senior center. We couldn't have done this without the terrific support of volunteers who contributed many hours before and during the event. Thank you, Christina Orchid; the food was spectacular, and gratitude to the many people who contributed a myriad of delicious desserts.
This coming weekend Pelindaba Lavender Farm will be hosting the San Juan Island Lavender Festival. All are invited to come see, smell, hear, touch and taste The Complete Lavender Experience™ – July 16 & 17, 2016. Festival activities are scheduled 10am - 5pm both days. The event is free and open to the public. Ample parking is available.
EMS – will it survive even with a levy increase?-letters
The San Juan Islands National Monument has moved toward capturing baseline ambient and intrusive soundscape measurements and in freshwater monitoring this summer on the south ends of Lopez and San Juan. This came about through the outstanding opportunity afforded by Lopezian environmental science intern Tahoma Wrubleski. Wrubleski has just graduated from University of Washington with a BS in Environmental Science and Policy, and is thinking on grad school.
Nick Gervasi sauntered on to the Lopez Community Land Trust construction site of Morgantown in 1992. He was a skilled commercial and residential construction manager and was keen on teaching those "who didn't know one end of a hammer from another." These traits made Nick unusual and a highly prized employee. He was thoughtful, had a great sense of humor and a following. Men and women, young and old, sought him out for advice and good company. On Morgantown, three grandmothers (Helen, Pat and Amalia) adored Nick. He set them up shingling the homes. None of them could climb a ladder so he laid out the shingle courses and when they could reach no further, they would move on. Nick did layout seven times on seven houses and got a big kick out of them completing each house just so high. Coming from the professional world of construction, this was a first for him, and he enjoyed it immensely.
Why do we write court stories? Are we being sensational? We are a close-knit community – should we really be reading about people's private lives? How does the Sounder choose which law and justice stories to write about? These are some of the questions raised in emails and on our websites by our readers.
As I sit here in my office, I am listening to the news reports of the Dallas shootings. I sit here stunned by what I am hearing and seeing. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the friends, families and loved ones of ALL of those who have lost their lives these past few weeks, on both sides of the line.
I have lived in the North Beach area of Orcas for close to a decade. During this time, I have spent countless hours on North Beach from as far west as Terrill Beach to as far east as North Beach Inn. I've walked around "the ditch" on many occasions and have had some of the most memorable moments of my life on the north end of the island.
For more than 30 years, the Orcas Island Education Foundation has been providing support to our public schools to make up for the failure of Washington state legislature to fully fund education.
The Orcas Chamber is thrilled to report that our annual Fourth of July Fireworks show in Eastsound is in place and ready to go on Monday, July 4th! We should have a bang-up show, all originating in the waters of East Sound, starting at approximately 10 p.m. The Community Band will be playing for those viewing from Waterfront Park. The chamber knows the annual pyrotechnics show is an event that attracts visitors to the island (and delights islanders of all ages).
by Patrick Timmins
If anyone sensed a rumbling throughout the island this last weekend, the source of it might have been a musical freight train at the Orcas Epicenter in Eastsound. The 2016 One World Unlimited rolled through again making stops in American musical history.
Here's a boring headline: Moving Truck Takes Wrong Turn. Here's a more serious one: Furniture Truck Misses Chasm by Inches. Here's an alarming headline: EMT Lost On Unmarked Road.
Sometimes the tides turn in ways we don't expect. As your Mayor I want to make special mention of a female orca from L-Pod named Tokitae, who was renamed Lolita after her capture and confinement in a tiny tank at the Miami Seaquarium when she was four years old. She was a vital and enthusiastic youngster who was dearly loved by her family and friends. I was very fond of her. She was free in the Salish Sea, swimming with her mother Ocean Sun L25 and the rest of our close knit community. Then came the boats and the bombs and the planes and the noise and the confusion and the terror of the captures.
I've been coming up to Orcas for 16 years and recognize how much island residents value the beauty, health, and sustainability of the natural environment. Over time I expect we've all noticed disturbing changes: warmer temperatures, fewer fish, less snow in the mountains. Around the world there are unprecedented floods, dying shellfish, and dangerously dry forests. Last week an oil train exploded in our state. Clearly, we must stop our dependence on fossil fuels! That's why I'm going to vote Yes on Initiative 732 in November.
by Rev. José Roberto Gándara-Perea
In the last five years, crime stories we report on are indeed becoming more disturbing. In the last six months we have seen a slew of crime involving sexual assaults. The most upsetting story that has ever come across my desk was this week's article involving the severe abuse of a toddler. (Read more about this story in this week's edition). These stories beg the question, why is this happening?
by Alex MacLeod
I want to express my distaste for the Orcas Fire and Rescue staff calendar.
On a recent Sunday, May 15 to be exact, a band of 40 intrepid seafarers (including me) set out from Orcas on the Eclipse Charters' Orcas Express to apprehend the ghosts of smugglers, who plied the Salish Sea, trafficking whiskey, opium, Chinese immigrants and anything that could bring a profit when brought from Canada to the U.S. Although our gallant captain, Dan Wilk gave us a great tour through the Islands and even across the Canada border (briefly), we found no smugglers, even the ethereal kind. Lack of evidence, however was made up for by the fine tour booklet, and a lively running commentary by the Historical Museums' director, Clark McAbee. Party Chef Denise Willk and her helpers kept us fed with Chief Chef Mary's h'ors deuvres, clam chowder, salad, desert and relaxing drinks of all kinds.
"Does one voice really make a difference in a choir of 1,000?" I asked this question of a well know choir director once. His emphatic reply may surprise you, as it did me. "Yes. It certainly does! If that voice is singing off tune, even by one degree, it has the potential to eventually drag the entire choir off. However, if that one voice is strong and right on target, it can serve almost as our tuning fork in keeping the music right on pitch… and if that one voice is missing, the harmony feels a little out of balance to my ear."
The Salmonberry Board of Trustees would like to extend a resounding note of thanks to everyone who made this year's annual fundraiser such a huge success!
We (Isabella and Diego) would like to thank you for helping us reach our goal.