Letters | Aug 5 edition

Update on Monkey Puzzle tree

The owner of the property is very concerned about the condition of the Monkey Puzzle tree in Eastsound. We know that it is an important part of our community.

At this time we are not sure what is causing it. I doubt that the gazebo has much to do with it since most of the water-absorbing roots are out beyond it.

I am in communication with other consulting arborists in the U.S. and Canada as well as with other certified arborists here on Orcas Island: John Olson, Ethan Tucker and Laura Zybas. As soon as I find out more about it, we shall treat it. We will keep you informed.

Herlwyn Lutz

Orcas Island

Proud to be a firefighter and EMT

We few, we happy few, know we can make a difference and we do it. There is often a great void between what we expect and what we get from life. Only in literature does life have to make sense and work out well.

When you need us we respond. No maybes. Most of us in Orcas Island Fire and Rescue have an emotional need, as the bard said, “to step once more into the breach.”

The equipment, organization, and training that enable us have shaped us into excellence. When I joined the department, the private motto was “we’ve never lost a foundation.” Now we save lives, homes, and businesses as a matter of course. We expect to prevail, we come to serve and mean to win. We are intensely proud of what we do and our identification with the Orcas Island Fire and Rescue.

Low frequency, high intensity challenges – called disasters – can overwhelm all human efforts, but as long as the thin blue line holds on our island, people enjoy some of the best fire protection and emergency care available anywhere. If words like “service” and “excellence” resonate with you, you might consider joining us. We always need more willing hearts to step forward and say: “send me.”

If membership is not in the cards for you, may I urge you, as fellow voters, to inform yourselves very carefully before you vote this fall for the two new members to the Board of Fire Commissioners.

People who have been successful personally and professionally are very likely to create more success in the future as they have proven to be excellent reality testers.

Don’t believe a word I’ve said unless you can’t possibly help yourself. Check out the facts and the folks for yourself.

James R. Scheib

Firefighter, EMT, Rope Rescue Volunteer

Orcas Island Fire and Rescue

Remembering Dick Boberg

I first met Dick Boberg about 20 years ago when I joined the American Legion as a non-military social member. I became very well acquainted with Dick over the years, working the Post Pancake Breakfast with him every month, and as a member of the Post Color Guard. After forming our Squadron of the Sons of the American Legion, Dick would advise me day or night regarding membership duties and procedure as well as other protocol, but always with that air of diplomatic etiquette that we all knew him so well by. He was a true gentleman in every way. I can only describe Dick as being the kind of man who most other men admire and strive to be like because of his integrity and commitment to helping other in all that he did for this community. It’s people like Dick who have made me proud and honored to serve, stand along-side, and to be associated with such a fine group as the officers and veterans of the Post, and the ladies of the Auxiliary. Thank you Dick for sharing your world with me, and may God bless you.

Mick Stevens


Thank you to fire department

On behalf of Four Winds camp, many thanks to our neighbor Miles McCoy and the Orcas Island Fire Department for their quick and effective responses that helped prevent a small wildland fire from growing into a much bigger problem for our youth camp in Deer Harbor.

On the morning of July 9 a fire in a remote and wooded part of our camp began burning. Fortunately, our long-time friend Miles McCoy noticed the smoke from across West Sound and called the fire department. Orcas Fire Department personnel Lieutenant Paul Turner was first on the scene and quickly followed by Cameron Fralick, Rich Harvey, Maxx Jones, Jeff Jones, Bob Nutt and Steven Siler.

This hard working and well-trained group of fire fighters was able to drive a four-wheel drive “brush pig” up over a narrow and bumpy trail to bring water, foam and other resources to the site and extinguished this fire.

We are very grateful to Miles McCoy, the Fire Deptartment and the Board of Fire Commissioners for the service they provide our camp and our entire Orcas community.

Josh Fliegel

Deer Harbor

Unfair treatment by deputy

A few nights ago one of our guests went in to the village late to get marshmallows for her grandchildren. As she was pulling out from the convenience store, she was stopped by a deputy, who asked her if she knew why she had been stopped.

When she told him she did not, he said that she must be careless and inattentive, since his vehicle was a few feet away. She had failed to make a left turn signal. He then asked for and took her license, registration and insurance documents and moved away. After a short time, she got out of her car and went over to him. He told her she had been told to stay in her vehicle. She responded that she wanted to know how long this was going to take.

He then told her that she must be very adverse to authority, careless and inattentive. He could give her a lecture or a fine of $124, which did she prefer? She said she thought that was up to him and received a long discussion on her mentality, attitude, arrogance and general fitness to drive.

When she arrived home, her daughter and grandchildren were beginning to become concerned by the length of time she had been gone. She felt as though she never wanted to see Orcas again. This guest had just lost her job. Her son-in-law has begun working in Afghanistan after losing his job and being out of work for a year.

You are aware of how important the tourist trade is to Orcas, aren’t you, Sheriff Cumming? And the deputies as employees of taxpayers are here to serve and protect, right?

Mary Telford Gibson Hatten

Orcas Island

Town Meeting

There is to be a town meeting on Aug. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Eastsound Fire Station. I am sure that the CAO will consume much of that meeting. However, perhaps more important than that discussion is the long range planning issues that evolve with our County Council. When the Comp Plan was submitted it carried with it a vision statement that defined what the citizens of the county wanted as to what you might say is lifestyle. That vision of rural and what that means has been fairly defined by a local author in his book “Potholes in Paradise.”

I think it is extremely important at that meeting that you ask of your council what is their vision and is that your vision. Are we slowly becoming an urbanized county that is losing the values and the reasons that most of us came here? If they have a vision how are they going to implement that vision or goal? How are they going to deal with affordable housing, build-out and density? If the vision is for more growth, how will that growth be paid for? These are extremely difficult issues, but that doesn’t mean they should not be addressed.

That is the process of a democratic government. Some people have stated that they have no faith in county government, so how can the council communicate with these people to assure them that they and their ideas are heard? Town meetings often are one-sided where the citizens vent their feelings on the council. I think that it is imperative that we hear from the Council to learn how they are planning for our future and how our vision and their mission can mesh.

Walt Corbin


Thank you to the Artworks

Thank you to Artworks Gallery for providing scholarship funding through the June West Scholarship Fund, which allowed several students to attend Ellen Wherrette’s ceramic sculpture workshop, sponsored by the Orcas Island Recreation Program. The three-day workshop was a huge success. Twelve students worked and played with a variety of clays and produced a large number of very original, awe-inspiring sculpture for their homes. They will return in August to glaze their work.

Ellen Wherrette

Orcas Island

The Mayor weighs in on sandwich boards

I’ve received much correspondence with respect to the loss of the “sandwich boards” around Eastsound. I want to express my stand as mayor that “sandwich boards” be allowed if they represent a dated “event” or a non-profit organization “happening.” These have been a part of our island life for so long, and there are lots of two-legged animals who look to them for what’s going on. What I don’t support is merchant advertising. That’s a big bark bark.


Mayor of Eastsound