Letters – April 1 edition

Increased flights are a great idea

I think the increased number of Navy flights over the San Juans is a great idea. These flights might just inspire some young people to serve this great country. Since 9/11 the access to military bases is severely restricted, so young people don’t get to see much military activity. We are very fortunate to have a military base so close to us.

Jake Jacobus


Planes cause more noise

Increased numbers of planes flying over the San Juans would magnify the unpleasant noise which we already have from planes and be bad for the environment. Why would we want more of this?

Mary Gibson Hatten


An update on the Consumer Product Safety Act

Two months ago, we wrote to the Sounder to let our community know about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and its effects on small business. We asked for your support, and the response has confirmed what we’ve known all along: Orcas Island is a community that cares, and that takes action when something is not right. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts! Many of you have stopped us on the street, in the grocery store, and elsewhere to ask us for an update.

In review, the CPSIA was passed to apply more stringent safety measures for products intended for children. Unfortunately, the act also has unintended and far reaching consequences, and will effectively eliminate thousands of home-based businesses throughout the USA. Fewer choices will be available for families who are looking for natural, handcrafted alternatives to mass marketed imports.

The CPSIA went into effect on February 10, 2009. Due to an overwhelming grassroots protest, the Consumer Product Safety Commission enacted a one year “Stay of Enforcement” on the law. While this means that the “toy police” will not be closing down any businesses this year, it is only a short delay of an untenable situation. The CPSIA is a poorly written law and needs to be changed. Congress can amend this law. If amended well, the new law can both protect children AND keep small businesses like ours in operation.

Senator DeMint (SC) has introduced just such an amendment to the Senate. The amendment has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Senator Cantwell (WA) is on this committee. Most legislation referred to committee dies in committee – unless there is enough pressure to keep the legislation going. You can help us now by writing to Senator Cantwell about your support for amending the CPSIA. We have more information about the proposed amendment, a sample letter and contact information available on our website: www.bossysfeltworks.com.

Amy Lum, Mandy Troxel, and Kari Van Gelder

Bossy’s Feltworks

Island Market has a new look

When you come shopping at Island Market you may have to pinch yourself to make sure you are on Orcas!

Island Market Manager Jason Linnes extends a “big thank you to all of our faithful customers who continued to shop during the ‘re-set’ by Unified Grocers.” The change has increased the shelf space for additional items and it will make shopping more convenient for everyone. Maps of the new layout are near the front door by the ad board and Island Market’s friendly staff will be happy to help you.

Gourmet cheeses, salad dressings and vegetarian fare are now displayed in a refrigerated cold case near the produce. The deli has a new cold and hot case to increase the number of choices customers have for those “quick” meals.

Visible improvements are energy savings on overhead lighting, LED lights in the frozen food cases in coordination with OPALCO, plus a new freezer for the meat department’s packaged foods.

Running behind the scenes are more efficient refrigeration and the night covers for the cold cases of dairy, beverages and produce. Additional warehouse space includes another walk-in freezer for the meat and deli-bakery departments.

Eco-friendly biodegradable wet-pak bags are used for frozen foods, meat and produce. Our shoppers continue to use cloth bags to help reduce the amount of paper and plastic that goes into landfills.

Island Market is in the 90th percentile for efficiency in stores on the entire West Coast.

Jason reminds everyone to “ask about the case discount for advance orders, which also includes wine by the case.”

Happy shopping!

Island Market crew

Lions Health Screening thank you

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many individuals who contributed their time and effort to make the Lions Health Screening on March 23 and 24 possible. More than 166 man-hours went into this project! We would like to thank the following Lions for their help during this event: Linda Abbott, Rick Anda, Martin Arnold, Jim Biddick, Dick Boberg, Bill Buchan, Merry Bush, Larry Garvin, Kyle Hall, Melissa Halwax, Karen Hiller*, Toby Hiller*, Mike Jonas*, Paul Losleben, Dave McPeake*, Kay Miller*, Mac Trunkey*, Carol Vincent-Hall, and Bill Yarlott* (* indicates they worked both days). Thanks guys – we couldn’t have done it without you.

We’d like to thank the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight and Hearing for developing the Van and the Screening Unit crew, Lions Mike and Pat Parker, who traveled from the Vancouver, Wash. area and made this event possible. We would like to convey our thanks to the Sounder for getting the message out about our event – if the community doesn’t find out about us, all our efforts are in vain.

Last, but MOST importantly, we would like to thank the community who participated in the event; 101 of you turned out and made our efforts worthwhile. For those of you who discovered potential health problems, we hope you follow-up with the appropriate care. If we can help just ONE person prevent an emergency or improve their health status, it was all worth the effort! If you missed this year’s screening, look for us next year!

Lions Toby and Karen Hiller

Health Screening Unit Co-chairs

Callenbach talk well attended

Ernest Callenbach, author of “Ecotopia,” a classic book enjoyed by millions, spoke at the Odd Fellows Hall with a talk entitled “Recipe for a Sustainable Future.”

The talk focused on sustainability and community, other local and national political/economic questions, and personal life-style issues.

Mr. Callenbach found many “Ecotopian” aspects to our island way of life and enjoyed his visit very much.

The event was a benefit for Orcas Island Recreation Program youth activities. It was well attended and very interesting. The talk was brought to the community in collaboration with Kangaroo House Bed and Breakfast, The Exchange, The Ecotopian Restaurant, Good Earth Works/Patrick Bennett, and the Orcas Island Recreation Program.

It was quite a pleasure for Mr. Callenbach to meet the owners of the Ecotopian restaurant, and he thoroughly enjoyed an excellent meal and the comfortable experience at the restaurant. Darvill’s donated 20 percent of sales of books to the Orcas Rec. Program.

Thank you to all who attended and made it a special day to remember. May we continue to collaborate to make Orcas Island as sustainable as possible.

Didier Gincig

Coordinator of Orcas Island Recreation Program

Spare a dime for local organizations

Numerous worthy organizations are preparing for fundraisers. With that in mind, if everyone donated one object or $1 it would help keep all these worthy causes afloat.

So if you can spare $1 or one object for the Granny’s Attic fundraiser, please stop by the Senior Center and drop off your donation on Thursdays from April 2, 9 or 16. Anything you can do is very much appreciated. Please don’t forget to mark your calendar for “Granny’s Attic Sale” on Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when you’ll have the opportunity to purchase some special items.

Jennie Joplin


St. Patrick’s Auction a success

The Board and Staff of Orcas Montessori Pre-School would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who helped make our St Patrick’s Auction a success. The lovely space at the Outlook Inn provided a wonderful backdrop to a delightfully festive evening in celebration of our children. Thanks to Jon Kobayashi and everyone at Outlook Inn for their hospitality in making this evening so special. Thanks to Chefs Sean Paul, Everett Brooks, and Mac Smith for the incredible food! Thanks to Roses for their masterfully baked breads and desserts as well.

We extend sincere appreciation to the Montessori parents and friends for all their hours of hard work in putting the evening together as it was truly a team effort. In an economic climate full of so much uncertainty, we are eternally grateful to our local residents and business community. Their generosity in giving created the best selection of auction items we’ve seen, and the generosity of those who attended raised the much needed funds for our Montessori school program that, in turn, directly benefits our children. Your support and commitment to the school means more than you know.

If you were unable to attend our event or would just like to help our Orcas Montessori in our efforts, we have set up a donation link on our website, www.orcasmontessori.org. As many other non-profits on Orcas, our funding needs will necessitate additional fundraisers and we have some fun, entertaining and practical opportunities coming your way soon.  In the meantime, we invite you to join us at one of the community family dances (next one April 18), a bake sale (May 10) or stop by and pick up a bag of our signature “Grounds for Growth” coffee, always for sale in the school foyer on North Beach Road. Thanks again!

Cathy Faulkner

Board member

Orcas Montessori Pre-School

Lambiel Musem sign to be taken down

First let me say thank you to the many people who wrote and telephoned supporting the Lambiel Museum. Those of you who have visited me know that my museum houses the world’s largest and best collection of the visual arts created by San Juan artists.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Lambiel Museum sign will be destroyed. This is because the planning department says it is a public safety hazard. One person complained and that is all it takes. They say it is in the public road right-of-way, so that makes it a public safety hazard. It doesn’t matter that hundreds of you have signed a petition stating that the sign is a work of art, and not a public safety hazard. The planning department ignores that.

Let’s think about it for a moment. There are many things in the county road right-of-way: mailboxes, electric poles, huge rocks, and lots of other stuff.

Number one: There are private buildings on the county road right-of-way. One example is the Ace Hardware store in Eastsound. Does anyone want the planning department to make Scott Lancaster tear down part of his building because it is on the county road right-of-way and therefore a public safety hazard? Of course not.

Number two: There are “sandwich board” signs all over the island. Some are tastefully done like the Orcas Center ones, and some are not. None of them bother me. But the planning department declares they are illegal. What have they done about that? Not much. This is called “selective enforcement.””(You see, when there is a book of rules five inches thick, more or less taken from some place in California, and those rules go against human nature, the county experiences difficulty enforcing them).

Number Three: In the one-half mile between Island Hardware and Supply and Fowler’s Corner there are at least 20 huge trees right next to the road. People have hit those trees. People have gotten killed as a result of hitting those trees. Those trees are not possible public safety hazards, those trees are proven public safety hazards. Those trees are much closer to the road than my sign, and those trees are getting bigger and even closer to the road all the time. My sign is not growing. What does the planning department do about that? Absolutely nothing. I don’t want to see the trees cut down; I would prefer the county move the road a little bit.

Please call me at 376-4544 with your thoughts.

Leo Lambiel

Lambiel Museum

Homes for Islanders having Permit Problems

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 over 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 5th, three weeks later. I preformed a final building plan review and issued permits on March 25th and 26th, 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 over 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

San Juan County