Letters | April 14 Edition

A message from an OPALCO board candidate

OPALCO is the only organization in the country that holds its annual meeting on a public ferry! Why? In order to give all the members of this unique, member-owned cooperative a chance to express their concerns and views to the management and the Board of Directors in a local, easy-to-access forum. This, combined with the fact that OPALCO provides its members with reliable, low-cost electric service, says a lot about the organization.

The electric industry in the U.S. is facing many challenges given the current economy and environmental concerns. OPALCO responds to these challenges with foresight and innovation. Your local utility has had a long tradition of reliability and service, always keeping the interests of its members and the community a primary concern.

You, the members and owners of OPALCO, have the opportunity this month to vote for the Board of Directors that will continue to set the long-term direction and focus for our cooperative.

I am running in this election to retain my position on the board. I currently serve the board as secretary/treasurer and am dedicated to the OPALCO tradition of reliable, safe, low-cost electric service. I am a long-time member of the Shaw Island community and have served on the Shaw Inc. Board of Directors since 2006. I hold degrees in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and a Master’s Degree in Electric Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and have extensive experience in the electric industry.

I am also a National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) “Credentialed Cooperative Director.”

I would like to continue to serve the board and the community with my expertise in the electric industry and a personal focus on conservation and energy efficiency.

Ballots for the coming election are in the mail and may be returned to OPALCO prior to April 30 with your vote, or, if you plan on attending our Annual Meeting on May 1, you may vote in person on the ferry.

I would appreciate your support.

John Bogert

District 4, Shaw, Crane, Bell and Canoe Islands

Orcas Family Connections thanks United Way

Orcas Family Connections (OFC) would like to express our sincere thanks to United Way of San Juan County for the grant they awarded us for 2010. Their generous support will help us continue to be able to offer OFC’s family resource services to all families who come to us seeking help.

United Way’s ongoing commitment to invest in the human assets of our community is truly a great gift to Orcas Island. I would encourage anyone who would like to learn more about all that they do to visit their website at www.unitedway-sanjuancounty.org.

With the help of community minded organizations like United Way, Orcas Family Connections will continue to work towards its mission of strengthening all of our island families with children six and under to ensure the long-term success of our community. Want to learn more? Please contact us by calling Board President Ethna Flanagan at 370-0593 or our Family Advocate Erin O’Dell at 376-5780 or her cell at 360-298-2456.

Eliza Morris

on behalf of the board of Orcas Family Connections

SongShare 2010 thank you

SongShare 2010: The Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams was a tremendous inter-island collaboration! Working with Richard Marlow, who has had an illustrious career as choral director for the Trinity College Choir Cambridge for the last four decades, was an amazing experience for the singers of Orcas a Cappella. His week-long residency with the choir culminated in a three-day festival of Vaughan Williams’ music sung for both the Lopez and Orcas communities, and we couldn’t have done it without the support from you!

This includes Island Sinfonia, Dimitri Stankevich with his brass sextet, and organist Marianne Lewis. A very special thanks also goes to Dick Staub and Orcas Island Community Church, who not only partnered with us by bringing WinterFest’s lecture series into the fold, but hosted all of Saturday’s activities, including lunch for the Linfield Concert Choir along with the evening’s performance. We not only thank Margot Shaw for coordinating Linfield’s housing, but the many of you who provided homestays for them, which includes a special thanks to Bob and Phyllis Henigson, along with Jim and Betsy Nelson, Pam Loew and Linda Henry for housing the guest directors and soloist. Other thanks to David Ecklund for delivering the maestro; Tom and Karen Ritter, as well as Bruce and Jan Hall, as evening hosts; Phil Burbo as grip extraordinaire; Molly Roberts as the shepherd herding her flock; Dawn Cleary for being there to lean on; concert staff for making it happen (Jeffrey, Kay, Robert, Larry, Sue, Marcy, Tytti, Laura, Artha); Allan Tamm for his sound recording; Orcas Choral Society for their risers; The Office Cupboard for going above and beyond the call of duty; Darvill’s Book Store, Blossoms Organic Grocery, Islehaven Book Store and Paper Scissors on the Rock for hawking our tickets; Bev Leyman for putting on the spread; and Libby Cook for setting the stage!

Thanks, too, to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Grace Episcopal Church on Lopez, and Orcas Center, who along with Orcas Island Community Church, provided us with rehearsal space and venues for our songs. And last, but definitely not least, a genuine thanks goes to our financial backers, the Sponsors of SongShare 2010.

Candace VerBrugghen

Project Coordinator

Dennis Bonner

Director, Orcas a Cappella

We all share the road together

Summer is approaching with the influx of many tourists. Lonely Planet has named the San Juan Islands as one of the 10 best places to cycle in the world. This makes some residents in the islands think this is the worst season of the year, but to most of us it is the best.

Welcome the cyclists – think one less car for each bicycle. Think ferry lines and wish everyone was on a bike. Think clean air. Not only the tourists but also the locals will be out there on their bikes. All drivers have a responsibility to ‘Share the Road’ with all vehicles. Bicycles are vehicles under RCW 46 – Bicycle Laws in the State of Washington.

Tips to help make your cycling in the islands safer and more enjoyable:

• Always wear a helmet. Wear bright colored clothing during the daytime and white or reflective clothing at night. How many times have you spotted the cyclists in their bright yellow-green jackets? Make yourself visible so other vehicle drivers know you’re there.

• Ride on the right side of the road – it’s the law. Stop for all stop signs and obey all traffic laws. Signal your turns so the motorists know what to expect. Ride in a straight line; do not cut in and out between parked cars. Be courteous and wait your turn at stop signs. It is especially dangerous to come up on the right side of a vehicle expecting the vehicle to go straight ahead when all of a sudden the driver may make a right turn in front of you.

• Be predictable! Drive your bike the same way you drive your motor vehicle. Give yourself ample clearance to the side of the road; three feet is recommended. This is your escape route in case a car tries to pass you too closely. Stay alert using your ears as well as your eyes.

Be a defensive cyclist.

Judy Packard

League Cycling Instructor #282

League of American Bicyclists

Friday Harbor

Community meets food bank needs

On behalf of the board and volunteers of the food bank, I would like to thank the Orcas community for so generously giving to the Orcas Island Community Foundation Matching Grant.

You more than matched the $5,000 donated for this purpose. It is such an encouragement to us as we move forward to meet the growing needs in our community.

Larry Shaw


Orcas Island Food Bank