Islands Sounder Letters to the Editor | Sept. 10

The following letter was sent immediately after the Library Fair. Due to a transmission problem, we did not receive it until this week.

Prevention Partners thanks boosters

The following letter was sent immediately after the Library Fair. Due to a transmission problem, we did not receive it until this week.

The generosity of the Orcas community continues to amaze me! On behalf of Moriah Armstrong and the members of the Orcas Island Prevention Partnership, I’d like to publically say thank you to Jason Linnes and Island Market for their donations to OIPP’s “Spot the Positive” beverage booth. So often in this community businesses are asked to be there to support so many worthy causes, and once again they truly came through. Thanks also to our fabulous Booster Club for their incredible gifts of time and effort in dealing with the canopy. And while I’m thanking, there were many OIPP members who quietly worked both in the booth and behind the scenes, never expecting appreciation. We do appreciate you! How fortunate we all are to live in this community!

Dixie Walmsley

OIPP Community Chair

Ballot Tracker violates law

No wonder there is confusion about barcodes on ballots: our elections supervisor and her A-Team staff are spreading it! (Journal and Sounder, Aug. 13).

I have been a trained election judge and A-Team member for almost 15 years, but was recently fired for expressing concerns in a letter to the editor. So much for elections staff being your “citizen watch group!”

By law, all ballots within a precinct must be uniform with no distinguishing marks so that how you voted will be your secret. However, your San Juan County ballot already has your personal number (barcode) printed on it when you receive it.

When elections staff gets your voted ballot, they use the uncertified Vote Here Ballot Tracker computer to read your number linked to your name. That is why it is called Ballot Tracker.

Naturally, this link between your name and your ballot can be retrieved, since that is what computers do — they store information. Why does our county prohibit public observers from seeing what the Vote Here Ballot Tracker computers are doing? Are they hiding the link between your name and your ballot?

After your ballot is tracked, it is copied digitally into a small memory card. Your ballot may be displayed on a large wall screen for the staff to examine — your number and all. Anyone seeing this who knew your number would know how you voted!

On election night, the memory card containing all the ballot copies is inserted into a tabulating machine which produces election results within minutes.

King, Thurston and other counties follow the law, using ballots that are uniform for everyone within a precinct. San Juan County could easily do the same. I can not understand why our county auditor continues to defend and use an unconstitutional voting system that violates state law. Can you?

Joyce Harrell

Friday Harbor

Merchants support

treasure hunt

Thanks go to the following local businesses for supporting the ‘Go Native’ plant treasure hunt at the County Fair: Back to Nature Design, Friday Harbor Hardware & Marine, Island Gardens, and Orcas Ace Hardware. Congratulations go to daily winners TJ Kinnaman who won $50 worth of Black Gold potting soil, Susan Mahoney who won $120 worth of native plant consultation, Phil Green, who won $30 worth of Oregon grape, and Mindy Kayl who won $50 worth of bark, mulch or other amendments!

Treasure hunters loved the contest because they learned the characteristics of seven local plant species, and got to visit the seven displays that incorporated at least one of the native plants: SJC Marine Resources Committee (sponsor), San Juan Nature Institute (coordinator), SJC Agricultural Resources Committee, WSU Extension Master Gardeners, SJC Noxious Weed Board, SJ Horticultural Society, and Site Elements (plant donor).

Those who competed in the treasure hunt got to keep the very useful booklet, Garden Wise: non-invasive plants for your garden, provided by the SJC Noxious Weed Board, which they used to identify the native plants.

Several local landscapers urge us to “use native plants as the backbone of your gardens” because they don’t need as much water, provide habitat for native birds, insects, and animals, and often stabilize the soil against erosion.

See you at the Fair next year!

Susan Key

Executive Director

San Juan Nature Institute

Support of Music Festival appreciated

We write with a heartfelt thank you to the Orcas Island community in appreciation for the tremendous support that creates the Chamber Music Festival each season. The talent and hours of hundreds of volunteers, annual contributions, sponsorships, and in-kind services of both islanders and those from afar, plus full-house tickets sales are a perfect match and welcome to the fine musicians who perform for us. Our promise: we will keep in touch as plans for the 2009 season are formed.

With high regard,

Victoria Parker

for the Board and Staff

Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

Fralick for Orcas West

The Primary election is over, and we have a new opportunity to place our votes for one of the two final candidates running for County Council in Orcas West. Let us use this opportunity to carefully examine the details of their background, capabilities, leadership, and demonstrated performance.

Richard Fralick has demonstrated his leadership skills and strategic ability in many arenas, but I particularly remember how he rallied the Citizens as he advocated and advanced the concepts that resulted in the adoption of Charter Government. As an elected Freeholder, he was selected by the Freeholders to chair the key committees focused on Charter Writing and Citizens Outreach. Richard dug deep into research into governments and their structural implications in many other counties, led the writing of the Charter, and kept the county community in the progress and development loop. Richard also chaired the successful campaign that resulted in the passage of the Charter.

Richard, a scientist with a PhD in Physics, has several patents dealing with techniques for managing salmon and other at risk species. Richard has also led teams of scientists and engineers developing advanced and practical scientific instrumentation. Richard has substantial experience in both small and large businesses. He has worked in project management and contract management requiring extensive budget and financial accountability and responsibility.

Richard is an actively involved and committed Island resident of 27 years. He has served as a member and chairman of the Orcas School Board and has taught AP physics at Orcas Island High School. He now serves on the Orcas Island Medical Center Association Board and is a member of the Fire Department Long Range Strategic Planning Committee.

It should be clear that Richard has chosen to lead in key strategic areas, demonstrates extensive educational and professional accomplishment, shows commitment and successful follow through, and has produced fair and reasonable solutions for difficult issues and complicated situations.

After carefully considering the relative qualifications of the two candidates, Richard stands out as the person I want representing me and the people of Orcas West.

Spencer Clark


Doe Bay sorry to see Rosario struggle

We at Doe Bay are sincerely sorry to see our neighbor Rosario struggle. Since we bought the resort, five years ago, we have accomodated many Rosario guests and employees who were looking for an Orcas experience, but something a little different. Rosario’s food was good but they couldn’t compete with the Doe Bay cafe, where we grow 65 percent of our own produce and harvest our fish in local waters.

We won’t become a mini-Rosario to fill the gap, but we will still be the no tv / no telephone alternative. For locals, we will serve food, house your guests and employ as many as we can afford.

Joe Brotherton,


Doe Bay Resort and Retreat

P.S. I have not decided yet whether to bid on Rosario


slow down

I manage the Westview Apartments on Lopez Island. Our tenants are mostly seniors, two families with children and two tenants in wheelchairs.

Lopez Road, which runs in front of the complex, is a 25-mph street.

In the year I have been here, I have been appalled at the number of people who consistently speed past here. I have tried working with local law enforcement, and even written to the Sheriff on two occasions. I would estimate a good 95 percent of the cars traveling this road are speeding, mostly trying to make the next ferry or just unconscious of what they are doing.

I spoke with the county road department about better signage, to no avail. Does it take the death of one of our Lopez residents to get any resolution?

So I am appealing to you, you who drive this road, please watch your speed, be conscious of your driving. Please slow down and let the rest of us live in safety.

Joy Davis,


Westview Apartments

Lopez Island

Constitution honored

I invite you to remember with me America of 1787. The 13 colonies had been in a war of rebellion against the tyranny of the British authorities and had won. Now almost a decade later they were in danger of imploding from their own divisiveness. They had to pull together or fail in this great experiment in freedom.

The delegates traveled days on horseback or carriage, through the mosquito-ridden spring, volunteering months of their time, to write a document that would serve to steer representative government through the danger of factions to the goal of a republic that could survive the problems in their future. Knowing the fallability of man, they wrote in checks and balances of legislative, executive and judicial. Knowing the tyranny of the few over the many, they had the population’s needs represented by the House and the states’ interests represented by the Senate.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m., we have the opportunity to celebrate their selfless dedication to the unity of freedom represented by the Constitution of the United States of America. For the full text, please see

Ringing the bells of the towns across America sounds a signal to pause for a moment in a busy day and – with Americans across this nation that prize liberty – to honor the foundational document that mandates the actions of our federal government and the great gift the delegates to that Convention gave us that autumn day. The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution is proud to sponsor “Bells Across America” to honor the Constitution of the United States of America.

Mary Beth Macksey


A response to John

Erly’s letter

In John Erly’s letter of Aug.13,2008, he states that being 70 years of age is irrelevant to being a Fire Fighter/EMT. “You just pass the physical exam and the physical test and you’re in,” he said. The 1 1/2 months of training, four months of EMT class, in which 40 percent of students drop out, does not count in his mind. Doing the improved and ongoing training in both fire and EMS, plus calls in both is not relevant it seems. In the past, John has said that the requirement for volunteers to do both Fire and EMT training was too much. You can’t have it both ways, John. If being a volunteer is such an easy undertaking, why don’t we have more folks signing up … at 70 years of age.

Cost effectiveness and infrastructure update are important issues for public discussion with the Commissioners. They should not become a pretence behind which the Luddites conceal a regressive agenda. Growth and improvement are, and should be, endemic and ubiquitous in all fire and EMS agencies in growing communities. We live in a growing community on Orcas Island.

We can’t go home again to the past. If there is conflict between the new folks and the old folks, the answer is simple. The old must change for they know too many things that are no longer true.

Questions and comments are both welcome and encouraged at the Board of Fire Commissioner meetings. However, at those meetings there is no “right”, to view them as a 12 step program in anger management or as a screen test for modeling a psychotic episode. It’s neither civil nor productive.

Our Commissioners are duly elected and only they have the responsibility for OIFD. Our Chief was vetted and selected by them. Captain Anda is a CPA and a professional fiduciary. Questions and civil deportment will advance our well being.

James R. Scheib