Islands Sounder Letters?to the?Editor | July 16

Thomas family thanks community

We want to thank the most awesome community in the whole world. We have been awed and humbled by the many offers of help and support. If we had not had the help of you wonderful people, we never would have been able to even attempt to continue on with our daughter’s wedding and the Woodsong Music Festival. Thank you so much for making this a week we will never forget… not because of the fire, but because of the love we have felt and the miracles we have witnessed.

We especially want to thank the Fire Department for saving the surrounding forest, our neighbor for providing pond water to put out the fire, the Orcas community Church members for food, supplies, and the use of their secretary, the Parnell family for housing, Island Hardware employees for household items, generous teens who have clothed our children, and the many people who have offered wedding dresses, furniture and a helping hand.

On the positive side, we hope others will learn from our mistake. Never back up your computer and leave the backups in the same building!

Burke and Barbara Thomas

Reasons to vote for Judge Linde

When you cast your vote for Superior Court judge, I urge you to vote to retain Judge John Linde. There are many reasons to vote for Judge Linde. I offer three for your consideration.

1. At the time that Governor Gregoire filled the newly created judgeship for San Juan County, she gave careful thought before she chose John Linde over other candidates, including Judge Linde’s current opponent. She had more information concerning each applicant than any of us could possibly have. Since nothing has changed between the appointment and now, her decision still stands as the best choice, namely Judge Linde.

2. Judges hold a non-political office. We expect our judges will make their decisions as neutrally and fairly as possible without regard to political consequences. That is why we speak of an independent judiciary. By challenging a judge for no reason other than someone wants his or her job, we make it much more difficult for that judge to avoid taking the popular or political views into consideration when making tough decisions. Therefore, challenges should be reserved for situations of malfeasance. That is most assuredly not the case with Judge Linde.

3. Judges are called upon daily to make instantaneous rulings on evidentiary and procedural issues during the course of a trial. The more in-court trial experience an attorney has before assuming the role of a judge, the better equipped he or she is to make the correct or appropriate ruling. Judge Linde had substantial trial court experience over his 35 years as a lawyer before Governor Gregoire appointed him to the bench.

In making these comments, I do not mean to denigrate Judge Linde’s opponent. Rather I want to emphasize why voters should be sure to vote for Judge Linde.

Fritz Kraetzer

Orcas Island

Coach supports Gaylord

Randy Gaylord is an excellent choice for Superior Court Judge of San Juan County. I have known Randy fourteen years. He is energetic and dedicated to his work, family, and community.

Randy and I formed a lasting friendship when his son, Colin, began playing football for me. He and his entire family are tireless supporters of schools and activities. Randy is ready and willing to do any task, like drive all the way to Ritzville to film our next opponent or talk his brother into flying us down to Raymond to film a game. Randy’s energy, character, and work ethic show up in his actions, and these traits will serve him well as judge.

Randy’s work with other county prosecutors and organizations add to his qualifications. His clear guidance on issues, his passion for the law, and his sound judgements are recognized and appreciated. His fellow prosecutors elected him President of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in 2007.

Randy Gaylord has shown remarkable dedication to San Juan County. He has served the public uninterrupted for fourteen years as our prosecutor. He knows and understands the issues important to our county and respects every person who lives here. Please join me in supporting Randy Gaylord for Superior Court Judge of San Juan County.

Dennis Dahl

Orcas Island


grateful to

Fire Fighters

The people in our neighborhood got to see first hand the skills and wonderful job of our Orcas Island Fire Fighters. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for the way they handled the recent fire on Swan Road and protected the neighbor’s homes and our beautiful valley. Max Jones, you are the best!


Nancy May Knapp

Dennis and Mary Rancourt

Bobbie and Ed Cunningham

Why do we live here, anyway?

Once again, many of us in the Obstruction Pass area had to endure the dangerous, extremely loud and obviously illegal fireworks display on the evening of July 4th. This tradition disrupts our peaceful existence here as well as terrorizing our domestic pets and local wildlife.

As we held our pets in our arms (those that weren’t trembling in a corner) we could feel the pounding of their little hearts. Their eyes were wide with fear and confusion. We wondered about all of the beautiful wildlife living around us. We’ve seen the deer with their fawns come bounding out of the woods and the raccoons running up the hillside away from the noise and smoke. What about all of the birds in the woods working so hard to raise their young or the Black Oystercatchers (a species of concern) breeding on the National Wildlife Refuge just offshore? Then there are the river otters we‘ve seen climbing the bank and many other smaller creatures. Where do they all go? We think about what it feels like to be terrorized in your own habitat.

Some of us believe that there are other fun ways to celebrate our independence day, which do not have such negative impacts on our environment. However, we realize that the tradition of fireworks is here to stay.

Each year there is a very fine, managed and controlled fireworks display in Eastsound for everyone on the island to enjoy. Why is it that some people won’t make the effort to enjoy this legal celebration in town? What will it take to stop the illegal activity; a wildfire where homes burn and ‘people’ are hurt? We wonder if next year’s ban will make a difference to some. We hope so.

Ginger Ridgway


Randall Gaylord for Superior Court Judge

Last week the Sounder deleted the first paragraph of Diane Boteler’s letter. Following is her letter in its entirety. The Sounder regrets the deletion.

I am writing to urge you to vote for Randy Gaylord who I feel is an excellent choice for the new San Juan County Superior Court Judge position. As San Juan County prosecuting attorney, Randy has provided thoughtful and well-researched advice to the County Commissioners and has been easily accessible to his fellow citizens to discuss and explain his legal recommendations to the Council. I was especially impressed by his work in crafting and successfully defending our county’s ban on jet skis. I have admired Randy’s determination to base his decisions on the law despite being pressured at times to change his position. Even in the rare times I have disagreed with Randy’s decisions, I have found him approachable, willing to hear my concerns and very articulate in explaining the legal bases for his opinions. Since Randy has been a public servant for 14 years, I think he will continue to hold in mind the best interests of the citizens of San Juan County as he presides over cases requiring interpretation of State and County laws and regulations without being influenced by prior experience representing a particular interest group

As a physician on Orcas Island, I interacted with Randy professionally in his role as San Juan County coroner. I found him to be thoughtful, compassionate and always eager to understand the sometimes complex medical issues surrounding this aspect of his work. I have had the pleasure of knowing Randy personally and of observing his dedication to making our islands a better place to live through his volunteer work, especially with youth sports.

Through my professional and personal interactions with Randy, I am impressed that his thoughtful and well-researched grasp of the law, willingness to truly hear and consider arguments counter to his positions and his impartiality will make him an excellent judge. I urge you to elect Randy Gaylord as San Juan County Superior Court Judge.


Diane L. Boteler, MD


School articles appreciated

I was happy to read the great set of articles by Kathi Ciskowski on the School District Employees.

I am a Paraeducator and get tired of having to “try to explain” what it is that I do at school.

Now, when I am talking to someone I can say: Did you read Kathi’s article? That will give you a feel for what we do at school.

I can’t wait to read more by Kathi. How about a set of articles about how important Parks are and how the money is on the decline for their upkeep?

Building up park systems for future generations to enjoy is very important. I look forward to reading anything she writes, clearly she searches for the “right” way to say things… a great skill!


Marie Hilje


Gaylord the right person for judge

Randy Gaylord has the right experience for the Superior Court. He has handled and tried felony criminal cases, juvenile cases, land use cases, and all types of motions heard in Superior Court. Randy has served as San Juan County prosecuting attorney for 14 years. A prosecutor is a “quasijudicial” officer with responsibilities equal but different from those of a judge.

While the other candidate may have served as a part-time District Court judge, we should remember that he retired from that job 10 years ago and that District Court experience is quite different from the demands of Superior Court. District Court handles traffic violations, misdemeanors, and small claims.

Experience is not the decisive factor here. Bar groups have rated both candidates as exceptionally well qualified. The decisive factor is “the person.” During the fifteen years that we have known Randy we have admired his work ethic, his compassion, and his integrity. We know he’s “the person” for our Superior Court judge.


Lyn Perry

Robin Kucklick


Fire Dept. asks community’s help

One the 4th of July, the Orcas Fire Department responded to a fully involved home fire. When we arrived, the flames were so intense the fire attack was directed at extinguishment of numerous burning trees and brush around the house. Application of the rest of the fire engine’s 1000-gallon water tank on the house simply vaporized.

Fighting fire takes a lot of water quickly. In this case, there simply wasn’t enough to put out one of the hottest fires I have ever experienced.

We are currently working to update our maps to include locations for ponds and other water sources that can be used in a fire emergency; and we need your help. Fire engines are big and heavy, so it can be a real challenge to get close enough to use many of the ponds, lakes or even water storage tanks available to us. The arrival of a number of new lightweight Wildland Attack and Structural Pumpers (WASP) before next fire season will help tremendously.

We need a clearance of at least 12 feet wide by 12 high on solid level ground. We need to be able to get within 50 feet of the water source so our large suction hoses can reach.

If you have a possible water source that we could use in an emergency, please call 376-2331 and leave your name, contact number and location. We will organize the list and then arrange to visit each site to get a GPS location for our maps.

Thank you for your help and support. We wouldn’t be a fire department without you.

Maxx Jones

Orcas Island Fire Department


Face the facts

The Eastsound compliance effort may be winding up a stretch but there are more laps ahead. The effort to date has been less to plan than to prove that the current Eastsound Plan, written 20 years ago before anyone had heard of Growth Management, is adequate to those requirements. This summer the County Community Development and Planning Dept. is required to complete a long overdue update of the County Comprehensive Plan, population projections and Housing Element that will, in all likelihood, make Eastsound again non-compliant.

Growth Management, love it or hate it, has one great virtue. It requires us to face facts, plan and implement that Plan. That is certain to be controversial and difficult but it is real progress. San Juan County, with real help from the Land Bank and Preservation Trust, has made substantial progress in curbing sprawl and conserving open space – only the goal to make provision for affordable housing has been largely ignored. Our young and working families are the casualties of Growth Management, quietly and effectively “sold down the river.”

Bringing the Eastsound Plan into something that provides for our working families and retains the modest attractions of historic Eastsound is a realistic goal but still very much of a work yet to begin. The first step, due this summer, is to acknowledge the affordable housing demands that Growth Management places upon Eastsound and plan for them in accordance with the clear requirements of WAC-365-195-310.

John Campbell



on judicial race

With some diffidence I am sending you my observation concerning the election of a superior court judge in San Juan County. Having been involved in real estate for twenty five years, occasionally contentious, and another fifteen or so on other matters I have had a chance to view the local legal scene.

Recently we had some serious issues here at Salmon Point which eventually went to the board of county commissioners for resolution. The commissioners asked prosecuting attorney Randy Gaylord for his opinion and advice. What Gaylord told the commissioners was one of the most ambiguous and confusing bits of advice I have ever heard from an attorney. Furthermore, while he pointed out the problem to the commissioners, he signally failed to suggest a solution to the problem then or in the future.

Having written the story of the Neslund murder, and her trial, I had a chance to study the firm and clear conduct of a Judge Bigg from Snohomish, a judge who had extensive experience on both sides of the bench. I do not believe Gaylord has the ability to approach that standard or has had enough experience in this county to do the job we expect.

On the other hand, I have known and observed John Linde since he arrived in San Juan County fresh out of law school to be Charley Schmidt’s partner some thirty or thirty five years ago. It is one of the real pleasures of spending half a lifetime in one community to see how young men like John Linde grow and develop into the very able man he is today. His many years of practice as a private attorney together with his service as district court judge have given him an unmatched perspective on this exceptional community and the ability to temper the often harsh rules of justice with understanding.

Pat Roe

Lopez Island

Lichter serves community

I have known Alan Lichter for over 10 years and have respected his role as a County Commissioner and now as Council Member. During that period he made significant contributions addressing a number of issues affecting Orcas as well as the entire County. He has met with members of the Washington State Ferry system on various occasions urging improved service and restraint in their price structure. He was instrumental in breaking the impasse on the Guest House issue that had dragged on endlessly. He helped find the funds needed to launch our Farmer’s Market. He even found resources enabling repair of the long-closed bridge at Crescent Lake.

The list goes on but these examples reflect Alan’s engagement in issues that make Orcas a better place.

In addition to his activities on the Council he has piloted patients to the mainland for treatment as part of the Mercy Flight program. He serves as a Resource Steward at Moran State Park and most weekends can be found hiking its trails.

I urge you to support Alan Lichter in the upcoming election. He has served you well in the past and will continue to in the future.

David K. Schermerhorn

Deer Harbor

Fire Dept.


Thank you for the recent articles regarding the Fire Department meetings. I cannot attend all of these meetings, and it is refreshing to have someone reporting the entire event rather than spotty comments from those closely involved people who are less objective. I appreciate your dedication to reporting truthfully and completely.

Cheryl Jackson


Linde has


private practice

Governor Christine Gregiore, appointed John Linde to the newly created position of San Juan County Superior Court Judge. The two principal contenders for the new judicial position were former San Juan County District Court judge for 21 years, John Linde and County Prosecutor Randal Gaylord. After a thorough study of the legal backgrounds and experience of the candidates, the Governor Gregiore choose John Linde for the appointment. Governor Gregiore continues her support, serving as the honorary chair of Judge Linde’s election campaign. She publicly reaffirmed her support for Judge Linde during her visit to Orcas Island this 4th of July.

Good judges conduct their responsibilities based on the law, not the political climate of the time or the shifting topical issues of the moment. The legal system is the protection that we all depend on to preserve our freedoms and to deal with disputes and criminal matters according to the law, not personal notions or prejudices. John Linde is such a judge.

As a County Commissioner for 12 years, I worked in the courthouse where John Linde was discharging his duties as District Court Judge. It was my personal observation that citizens, regardless of their personal circumstance, position in the community, political point of view, age, gender or nationality were always treated with respect and that the judicial decisions that Judge Linde made in each case were appropriate and consistent with the law.

In his private practice of 35 years in San Juan County, John Linde represented a wide diversity of clients and advocated for his clients on a wide variety of issues. This extensive private practice experience enables him to fully understand the scope and challenges a judge faces.

I urge you to vote for John Linde for Superior Court Judge.


John Evans

Doe Bay, Orcas Island

Judgeship a non-partisan contest

Julia Evans recent letter to the editor requires a few corrections. First and foremost, the election of a superior court judge is a non-partisan contest. There is no room for old fashioned party politics in a decision of this importance. The individual that brings to the table extensive trail experience, judicial experience, and respect from throughout the legal community is what you want in a judge and those are the criteria that Governor Gregoire used in choosing Judge John Linde.

Ms. Evans is either unaware or uninformed as to the very thorough and exhaustive vetting process that went into the Governor’s selection, a process that puts partisanship on the back burner in favor of selecting the best person for the job.

In regard to Ms. Evans comments about Judge Linde’s relationship to courthouse personnel, my response is why are so many county employees, including the entire staffs of both clerks office, endorsing him if he is such an ogre.

Lastly, there is no place in an election like this for people to engage in negative comments and innuendo. If you can’t support your candidate with positive statements, remain on the sideline and let this campaign be conducted on the high plane that it deserves.

John Bird

Friday Harbor

Linde a listener and a learner

I supported John Linde for Superior Court Judge in the Governor’s appointment process. I wrote a letter of support and met with Richard Mitchell, Special Counsel to the Governor, when he came to Friday Harbor to interview local citizens as a part of the appointment process. That process included interviews before four to five minority lawyer associations, interviews of 30 to 40 local citizens, and interviews with both the Governor’s General Counsel and the Governor. We know the outcome of that process. I continue to enthusiastically wholeheartedly support Judge Linde in this, the County’s first election of a Superior Court Judge.

First, John was an elected District Court Judge for five-and-a-half terms in a small county where contention is a way of life. If he had acted in any way other than honestly, he would never have been elected five times.

Second, he has demonstrated a passion for objectivity, listening to both sides, rendering decisions which follow the law and not a personal judicial philosophy.

Third, despite his experience, he has retained a life-long commitment to learn more. He has attended “Judge School,” not because he lacks experience, but to be better, more prepared. His life has been one of constant work to improve, to know more, to be the best that he can be.

Personally, that is what I want in a judge. I hope that you will join me, the Governor and her General Counsel, 30 judges in the north Sound region, the two judges who served as Superior Court Judges for San Juan County previously and support John Linde for judge.

Also, please remember to vote in the August election – there will be no primary election for this position.


Ralph Hahn

San Juan Island


Richard Fralick for County


I’ve known Richard Fralick for most of my 20 years here on Orcas, but it was only when I had the honor of working with him on several very important committees on the Board of Freeholders that I understood the fullness of his abilities, enthusiasm, and productivity.

During the development and writing of our new Home Rule Charter, Richard’s ability to focus on what was factually important was key to our success.

His collaborative nature put everyone’s positions on equal footing for fair and in-depth consideration before making the hard decisions, and then decisive action was always taken.

It’s rare to find someone who works multi-laterally and still gets it done, but Richard is someone who digs deep into research and brings the facts to the table in a non-bias manner. He recognizes the differences and the importance of both factual truths and ideological desires, and he works with honest conviction to find the best possible solution for the greatest good.

Jeff Bossler


Historical Days… A real community effort

And what a day it was, with the rain drops falling only after the last booth was folded up! We can’t thank everyone individually, as there were easily 150 people contributing to the event, some wearing more than one hat….

At least 40 pie bakers; 22 serving at the hot dog and pie-and-ice-cream booths; 36 booth spaces for vendors & demonstrators, many with 3 or 4 participants involved; 11 silent auction donors (and of course, 11 winning bidders). And what about the “Born here…Still Here” parade entry, with 11 Islanders riding and walking behind John Willis’ classic car (John’s another one of them), and in front of two more qualifying families, the Madans & Gudgells.

And what if we had a Parade and Fair and no one came?? You DID come, and helped make it one of the best yet! Thanks to all!!

Margot Shaw,

Orcas Historical Museum Board president

One World

a huge hit

It amazes me what incredible talent we have here on Orcas Island, as recently demonstrated by Martin Lund’s sold-out One World Music Festival.

This spectacular annual event is not only a gift to our community from Martin and the artists who perform, but also a gift to all the kids and families who benefit from The Funhouse.

We want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work that so many people contributed to make the 2008 event such a success. Besides Martin and the artists, our thanks to producer extraordinaire Donna Laslo, the entire staff of the Orcas Center, and our many volunteers. Thanks also to KeyBank, for its underwriting support.

Our thanks also go to everyone who bought a ticket. The money raised by this and other Funhouse events is critical for providing fun, stimulating, and educational opportunities for our island children.

Pete Moe

Executive Director

The Funhouse

Partners in


This letter is to clarify any misunderstanding of the Historical Museum’s deposit and use of funds deriving from the advertised July 26 BarnFest (Islands Sounder July 9, 2008).

The Orcas Island Historical Museum and Pear Island Farm are partners in preserving the 100-year old Nordstrom Barn in Crow Valley. Proceeds from the July 26 BarnFest event (and any future barn preservation events) are deposited in a restricted museum escrow account at Islanders Bank.

The fund is administered by the Board of Directors of the Historical Museum, much as it administers funds in other restricted accounts such as the museum’s Bison Research Fund. The Board may distribute up to 50 percent of net proceeds from the BarnFest to the Pear Island Farm Barn Preservation Project for stabilization, preservation and restoration.

Preservation of this designated Washington State Heritage Barn that is so much a part of the island landscape offers public benefits that reach far into the future. Please join us to SAVE THIS BARN at this fun summertime event!

Margot Shaw,

Museum Board President

Micki Ryan,

Museum Director


thoughtful and responsive

I wish to express my support for Councilman Alan Lichter as a candidate for re-election to his position on the San Juan County Council in the upcoming election.

Alan Lichter has served with distinction on the Council for the last four years. He has done a great job in representing the interests of the people of Orcas Island as well as the broader constituency of residents throughout San Juan County.

No one has worked harder than Alan in considering the many issues that have been presented to the Council. He does his homework thoroughly, he demonstrates a deep and keen understanding of the matters brought before him, he is considerate in his deliberations, he listens closely to the many and varied points of view presented, and he votes in a thoughtful and responsive way on the issues.

He is a dedicated public servant who brings sound judgment and considerable experience to his office. He deserves to be re-elected! Please vote for Councilman Alan Lichter to a new four-year term on the San Juan County Council.


Charlie Glasser


Linde better qualified

The election of Superior Court Judge is coming up and I would first like to remind everyone that this is a non-partisan election, not a Democratic or Republican matter.

What matters is who the most qualified candidate would be. We are endorsing Judge John Linde. John Linde has been a resident of the San Juans for 35 years and served as District Court Judge for 21 years. John is familiar and has a long history with the issues facing this county and is also a child advocate. He has actively been involved in land use issues and seems to be on the side of preserving the San Juan Islands in a fair and reasonable manner. John was on the winning side of a very controversial land use issue involving a small parcel on Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island. In this case there were listed restrictions involving this parcel which allowed a RV for six months out of the year but not a residence. The owners sought a variance to build on an un-interrupted piece of shoreline, disregarding the restrictions. It was denied and they appealed the decision. Luckily their final appeal was denied. This would have set a very grave precedent for the county if this development had been allowed.

His contender has tied the hands of the residents of this county wasting thousands in tax payer monies and dragged the ADU process out seven years. He does not seem at times to respect or follow laws mandated by the County or State.

Judge Linde was appointed by Gov. Gregoire on Jan. 1 for Superior Court Judge and she serves as Honorary Chair on the Committee to retain Judge Linde. He also has endorsements from Judges Hancock and Churchill as well. We urge you to vote for the expertise and ethics John Linde will bring to this office.


Patty Pirnack-Hamilton

Jim Hamilton

Fralick believes in Charter


The coming primary requires thoughtful contemplation regarding filling the office of County Council Member for Orcas West. In 2005 the voters of San Juan County voted to establish a non-partisan charter government that was adopted Jan. 9, 2006.

Richard Fralick was one of 21 county citizens elected to study and draft the feasibility of this new type of governance for San Juan County. The intention was to offer our county community an updated form of local government; offering more efficiency in the daily process of governance, as well as greater opportunity for citizens’ voices to be heard.

During this time two committees Richard chaired, The Charter Writing Committee and the Citizens’ Outreach and Information Committee, kept citizens involved and current throughout the process.

Richard Fralick understands, and respects, your vote to establish Charter Governance; as well as understanding the working aspects of our new county government. Richard strongly believes in this type of governance, which in San Juan County is composed of six districts, where Council Members are elected to represent citizens from the district in which they reside. By being elected by the voters of their District only, instead of countywide, Richard believes Council members can more comprehensively represent their constituents.

By voting for Richard Fralick as a member of Orcas County Council West, you will be heard and well represented. For more information about Richard, go to his website,

Please join me in voting for Richard Fralick.

Liane Olsan


Country corner acknowledged

This letter is coming to you with regards to last week’s article on “Relay for Life comes to Orcas” by Margie Doyle. It was so exciting to see this event featured in the paper because it is something that touches so many lives on Orcas and around the globe.

After reading the article, those interviewed seemed to put their all into the event, which adds to the overall zest of the Relay for Life and makes it come to life. But, I was also disheartened… I am a member of the Country Corner Crusaders, with team captain Lori Hassenmiller.

Lori has demonstrated a passion for this event, dedicated her time and given devotion that is rarely seen for a noble cause in such a small community. She helped organize the fire station yard sale and petitioned local businesses to donate money when too few members were had to form individual teams. With Lori’s guidance and passion, our team has raised over $3,400 for Relay for Life.

Lori and our team were not mentioned in last week’s article. This gross oversight has caused me to question your paper’s journalistic integrity. Out of 11 teams, only five were mentioned, appraising me to the biased accounts of those with the pens. The pen is mightier than the sword and being a public paper you can raise awareness for a great cause such as Relay for Life and acknowledge all those participating in our small and gracious community. In the future, please do so with a clear picture of all the players.

In conclusion I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our customers, friends, family, our Relay for Life manager Jennifer Holocker and all of the other teams participating, for all of their dedication and support. Together we can surely make a difference for those touched by this terrible disease.

Relayer for Life,

Becky Krause


Editor’s Note: In this week’s update of the Orcas Relay for Life, we note all the teams that are registered on the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life website as of July 14. The Sounder regrets the omission of any team that has registered for this event.