Curb real estate taxes

On Oct. 30, the San Juan County Appraiser held a meeting in the afternoon at the senior center regarding the rise in appraisals.

An overflow crowd attended, mostly retired and professional people as working people had trouble taking time off.  

The appraiser’s attitude was that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (and therefore should be prepared to pay high taxes) and that his staff were the most courteous and professional people in the county. In front of me someone asked, “But do they do the job?”  

The appraiser admitted many people were ready to tar and feather him, in back of me one man muttered he would bring the tar. The two hour meeting consisted mostly of individual complaints.  

The divergency between the shattering dreams of the real estate bubble and the reality of Rosario selling for five million was not addressed.

A six-line line petition asking that taxes not be raised from the last billing received signatures from almost everyone there.  

This petition is in various businesses in Eastsound. In two days 100 signatures were obtained, 1,000 would be pleasant.  

If San Juan, Lopez, Shaw and Waldron would add signatures, every signature makes more clear the feeling of the average taxpayer.  

If real estate taxes go up, many people will lose their homes, their businesses and may be forced to move to the mainland.  Our real incomes are going down, taxes should not increase on real estate.

Change is coming.  Let your voice be heard.

Mary Gibson Hatten


The arts

Guild folds, with regrets

We at Orcas Family Health Center were sorry to read in last week’s Sounder that the Orcas Medical Guild is to disband. As the only non-profit medical practice on Orcas we were hoping the guild would continue its practice “to assist the entire Orcas Community.”

The reason for this hope is that neither our patients nor those of David Russell at Orcas Island Family Medicine can access the community owned medical center with the equipment generously donated by the guild for the community without transferring care.

Consistent with our mission to provide care for all, we allow use of our equipment by any resident of Orcas in our goal as a true community health center.

Ken Speck

President, OFHC Board

David Shinstrom, M.D.

Medical Director, OFHC


Hats off to Jim Schuh

I would like to congratulate Jim Schuh on his promotion to manager of Moran State Park (Islands’ Sounder, Nov. 12).  

I have known Jim for years, as we both volunteer for the fire department, and have come to realize he is an intelligent and thoughtful individual.  

With difficult times ahead for Washington State I am glad that someone of Jim’s character and abilities has been put in charge of one of Orcas Island’s most treasured resources.

Tom Carter




As the year draws to a close, I look back at Kaleidoscope’s successes. We have helped approximately 75 children develop in a positive direction, supported their families and strengthened our growing staff.

Our mission is to provide safe, affordable, high-quality, consistent preschool and childcare to the working families of Orcas Island and we are able to do that, thanks in part to the United Way of San Juan County.

Our mission is complimented by their funding priorities:

• building healthy and resilient children & families

• ensuring everyone has food to eat, a roof overhead and a healthy living environment

• creating systems that increase physical and mental well-being

• promoting safety and preventing violence and abuse

We can all agree these are priorities a community must share. As our nation’s economic stressors increase, so do those of our working families and it becomes crucial that we help those who may be struggling.

By making a financial contribution to United Way of San Juan County, you can rest easy, knowing your generosity will be circulated locally and your dollars will support your family, your neighbors, your community. I hope you will send a monetary donation to:

United Way of San Juan County PO Box 3181, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

Amber Paulsen

Kaleidoscope Director

Thanks for Olga Daze

Since thanksgiving is upon us, we would like to say thank you for all of the generous help we received at Olga Daze this past summer. Several of us left the Island the next day and these words of gratitude were never said.

The Fire Department very generously lent us needed tables, which were delivered to us by Stephan Schulz.

Among those who made the day a happy success were Jane Barfoot Hodde, Betty Bartleson, Janet Booth, Irmgard Conley, Irene Ekberg, Robbie Gelnaw, Noel and Pat Jeffrey, Jackie Kempfer, Thomas Leonard, Dorothy Lundquist, Betty Marcum, Chris Morris, Ron and Felice Mourning, Norene Nealy, The Olga Symphony, Irene O’Neill, Maria Papademetriou and George Post, Muriel Silvertooth, Judy Slater, Sam Webster, Jenny and Tom Welch, Barbara Wheeler, Betty Williams, John Willis and Tom and Ting Zimmerman

Thanks to these good people, and the Islanders who came to enjoy the day with us, we are well on our way to raising the funds for the much needed kitchen remodel in our Olga Community Center. Thank you!

Olga Community Center

board members

Thanks to United Way

We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for the 2007-08 United Way funding for Orcas Island Prevention Partnership which has provided adult advisors to work with the high school youth leadership in prevention.  

Students attended prevention conferences, delivered curriculum such as Teens Against Tobacco Use in classrooms, and created social norms messages highlighting the good news that the vast majority of Orcas teens do not smoke.

Research has shown that people’s behavior choices are greatly influenced by their “perception” of what their peers are doing and that theses perceptions are the strongest predictor of personal risk taking and/or protective behavior.  

However, it is also known that there are usually lots of “misperceptions” in any community about what is the usual or normal behavior of the majority of its members.  

A social norms campaign is geared to first expose the “misperceptions”, by collecting real information through a variety of methods, then to correct them through positive messaging.  

Proven results indicate that reducing the misperceptions actually help to nurture a safe and healthier environment for the whole community.

The United Way provides invaluable funding for the safety net of our community, and an opportunity for a community day of service.  

They are so important to the funding of the many social programs that make Orcas a safe and healthy place to live.

OIPP, a community coalition of private  citizens, community non-profits and county supported agencies that all contribute to the work of prevention here in the Orcas Island community is helped every year both collectively and individually.  

We urge everyone to continue to donate to and support our local United Way.  

They make a difference!

Marta Nielson,


Orcas Island Prevention Partnership