Islands Sounder Letters to the Editor | April 8

Homes for Islanders permitting

Response to permit problems letter

I read this letter and was shocked. I am the plans examiner for San Juan County. I took this job over a year ago. At that time, the position had been vacant for more than a year and permit turnaround times were in excess of five to six months. Since January of 2008, we have worked very hard to maintain the turnaround time at eight weeks or less. This is still accurate in spite of the staff losses we have experienced. I feel well received by the building community and strive to provide excellent customer service to everyone.

The letter from Homes for Islanders contained several grossly misleading statements. Some preliminary plans were brought in last year and reviewed in a timely manner. The architect was given a list of items that needed to be corrected. These corrections were then made and applied to the new drawings for all eight houses. These plans were submitted the second week of February 2009. At this time they were reviewed by our Land Use Division and approved on March 5, three weeks later. I preformed a final building plan review and issued permits on March 25 and 26, for a total of six weeks.

False and misleading statements about the county that go to print only serve to create discontent from the public. I will admit that the system we have is less than perfect; however, we have a very dedicated staff willing to work with the public in a timely and cooperative manner. Public feedback, comments, and suggestions are always listened to and welcomed. The county has multiple ways to receive communication of any concerns.

I look forward to continuing to work with the building community on these islands. I have lived here for more than a year now and the people of the San Juan Islands are a great group of people and have made me feel welcome.

John Geniuch, Plans Examiner for San Juan County

Permit Department came through with flying colors

Our thanks to the Permit Department for processing all eight permits for the Woodland Estates – Homes for Islanders project on Orcas Island. We understand that this was accomplished while the manager of this project was on vacation and the staff had been reduced significantly. Apologies are offered for the errors in the previous letter regarding the permit department. We thank everyone who took an interest in this matter and we encourage the community to support the employees that remain in the permit department.

Woodland Estates Homes for Islanders Building Group

Earth Hour not honored by everyone

On Saturday, March 28, citizens in countries throughout the world celebrated “Earth Hour” by turning off lights between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. The result was an eight to 10 percent decrease in power consumption worldwide; a wonderful comment on what can be achieved in one hour.

Every house I could see in my neighborhood had lights blazing during that hour. Did they not know?

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Robin Woodward, Eastsound

Country Corner wants to install a sewer line

I have been researching a conspiracy theory about Country Corner Laundromat that is being passed around. I am writing this letter to let everyone know that it is not true! Country Corner did not start the global economic meltdown to divert attention from the fact that they wish to have a sewer line run to their store and that every one else in their neighborhood will have to pay to hook up to it.

Once again, do not believe this rumor, as Country Corner is completely innocent in this matter and has been completely open about how they would bring in a sewer line, (that would require nearly 50 of their neighbors to have to pay at least $6,000 and perhaps as much as $12,000 each), to help them run their commercial enterprise.

Nope, no conspiracy here. Although for awhile there it felt like something was going on but I’m sure it was somebody else that started that global economic meltdown thing. Not Country Corner, they wouldn’t do anything that big.

Chris Butler Eastsound

Flounder was fishy

From my perch, this week’s “Flounder” seemed the worst sort of hake journalism. It had neither sole nor porpoise.

I know it’s not my plaice, and I don’t mean to carp, but I just can’t be koi about it: this issue smelt.

Steve Henigson Eastsound

Fun was had by all at Science Fair

Congratulations and thank you to all the Funhouse Science Fair participants and volunteers for making this year’s event a great success!

Great work by all, especially the Science Fair winners Grace Thompson, Sam Prado, Lindsay Anderson, Lanie Padbury and Lily Woodard.

We would like to give special thanks to this year’s generous underwriters, Bob and Phyllis Henigson, Tad and Jeanne Sommerville, and Carl de Boor and Helen Bee, as well as our wonderful volunteers Kaio Wong, Carla Stanley, the Wizard Judges, the Funhouse Board and Camp Orkila and Darvill’s Bookstore for their generous donations to the event.

We look forward to having you all back next year!

Pete Moe, Executive Director of The Funhouse

Celebrate Earth Day with Sustainable San Juans

Visitors are drawn to our area by its rich marine environment. My visitors from southern California often remark that they are stunned by the deep green of the Pacific Northwest.

We islanders are so fortunate – surrounded by the north Salish Sea and by a green backdrop that inspires us and nurtures and supports all life in the San Juans. To re-energize this Earth Day we, as individuals and as a community, can express our appreciation for our bountiful environment as we pledge to give back to nature. We can learn to better protect and steward the place where we live. We can challenge ourselves to be greener!

The theme of the upcoming celebration of Earth Day, “Sustainable San Juans,” is “Greening your home, your business, your food.” Please join us to share ideas about how to use fewer resources and less energy, to create less waste and pollution, and to provide for a healthier, sustainable local food system. What we do now will color the future of these islands. Save the dates: April 16, 17, and 18.

I hope you’ll register to attend the three days of events and explore the shades of green that you’re most comfortable with. Please check out for more details and to register or call the Stewardship Network of the San Juans at 378-2319 to let us know you’re coming. You don’t want to miss out on the delicious lunch provided by the school’s Experience Food Project on Saturday!

Helen Venada, SJC Waste Reduction and Hazardous Waste Coordinator

Taylor 2 dance performance

Performance was great

I would like to commend all those who put together the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company performance at the Orcas Center last month. I’m not sure whether it was the light-hearted touch of the swing-era dance tunes, or the invasion of the space aliens, but it hit my funny bone, and has kept me smiling for quite a while. Hats off! (P.S. Without naming names, word has it that several islanders have been trying these moves at home.)

John Aschoff, Deer Harbor

Dancers received a standing ovation

The last week in March, Orcas Island dancers and dance lovers were literally moved by the presence of the Taylor 2 dance company from New York. From the dynamic master class filled with Orcas dancers, to the in-theatre demonstration/performance for the entire middle and high school, to the brilliant performance at the Orcas Center, this first-class small touring company of the one of the world’s most renowned and beloved choreographers, Paul Taylor, energized, inspired and touched those of us whose lives have revolved around the performing arts as well as new audience members. The individual whose vision, dedication to excellence and hard work we owe thanks for this experience is Barbara Courtney, Executive/Artistic Director of the

Orcas Center. As a visual and dance artist and dance teacher, I felt moved to express my thanks for this level of performance right here on our island. The palpable inspiring and heartening effect of the beauty, vitality and humanity of the Taylor 2 performance was carried from the theatre in the hearts of the audience out into the community in an energetic ripple. We can surely recognize this as an example of the importance and generative power of the performing arts in our lives, particularly in challenging times, and the importance of supporting this kind of excellent programing. Thank you Barbara!

Conversely, The Taylor 2 company, I believe carried away with them the warmth, generosity and enthusiasm of our Orcas arts community. To be particularly applauded as well is Jean Henigson, whose unwavering dedication to the art of dance once again helped fill the theater and the wonderful post-performance potluck dinner spread for the dancers.

Hannah Alex-Glasser, Orcas Island