Letters | Feb. 17 edition

Thank you, Exchange supporters

Rarely do we get the opportunity to witness and express our common values as we did at the Eastsound fire hall on Monday, Feb. 8 before the San Juan County Council. To see and feel the energy of the crowd of well over 200 people in support of the Exchange was truly gratifying.

We can all take satisfaction in our collective willingness to exercise this most fundamental aspect of democracy. Let us now hope that our elected representatives are better informed of the people’s priorities regarding solid waste and reflect those priorities in their policy decisions.

I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the patrons of the Exchange. Your continued support proves the viability of reuse as an important element of waste reduction. Thanks also to the Exchange workers for their dedication to its purpose whether its raining, snowing or sweltering hot.

For 27 years the Exchange has offered a welcome alternative to wasteful habits and a model to the world of a more sustainable lifestyle. We are fortunate to have had the cooperation of the county over the years and wise to stand up for the values that the Exchange represents.

George Post


A crew of many made Orcas Idol possible

It was another incredible year for Orcas Idol! This gala event once again brought excitement, apprehension, applause and, of course, another round of amazing performances. Behind the show are a group of truly amazing people as well – highly skilled, incredibly dedicated volunteers willing to put in countless hours of meeting, planning, shopping, telephoning, soliciting help, arranging equipment, working with the contestants, and putting on the Idol Jr. show and adult auditions at the Grange. On the night of the finale at the Orcas Center on Feb. 6, we depended on over 40 volunteers! My sincere thanks to each and every one of them.

Recognition is certainly due Donna Laslo, producer, publicity and graphic designer extraordinaire, who was ably assisted for the past several months by the Production Committee members, including Jeanne Beck, Marcia Gillingham, Moriah Armstrong, Patricia Goffney, Julie Pinardi, Margie Sabine, Jim Bredouw, Samara Shaw and Cheryl Kummer. We appreciate the time and performances of our Idol judges: Grace McCune, Terry Anderson, Martin Lund, Becki Klaus, Gene Nery, and MC’s at both shows, John Clancy, Anita Orne and Gordon Koenig. Lighting and sound for the shows were aptly handled by Jim Bredouw, Phil Burbo, Freddie Hinkle and Samara Shaw and our “live feed” Madrona Room show was handled by Bennett Video Productions.

Special thanks to our Orcas Idol prize sponsor, Radio Shack and our other supporting businesses including Darvill’s Book Store, WestBoundary Photography, The Office Cupboard, Grindstone Ink, Bullwings – Orcas Issues, the Islands Sounder, Island Hardware and Supply, Orcas Events and 376 Productions. Our hats off as well to our Orcas Idolizers this year too – Dimitri Stankevich, Steven Bailey, Pamela Wright, Patricia Ayers, Orcas Online, Terrel Kaplan, Mary Creed Anderson, Wendy Smith, Orcas Auto Tech, Dough and Michelle Marshall, San Juan Insurance Company, Dalgamo Construction Company, Phoebe Bee, David Wiener, Stan and Jo Moldof and Paige McCormick.

We were proud to bring this fun-filled family event to Orcas for its fifth season. We sincerely appreciate the help of our volunteers and supporters. It is them who make it happen!

Marta Nielson, Director

Orcas Island Prevention Partnership

Thank you to the EMTs

On Dec. 14, 2009, my husband Michael went into cardiac arrest. Within two minutes, George Schermerhorn was at our door, AED in hand. In the week that followed we received several calls in the hospital from the EMTs and firefighters from Orcas.

My family and I would like to say thank you to all the wonderful volunteers that we have on this blessed island. A special thanks to George – you are our family’s hero! Thanks again to everyone who responded in our time of need. We are so thankful for each and every one of you. Your care and support in such a stressful situation was greatly needed and appreciated.

Michael & Dawn Atkinson

Jenna & Lizzy Tully

Orcas Island

Physics students thank the Exchange

As a student in the applied physics class, I would like to thank the Exchange for generously donating various materials. Because of this generosity, our whole class was able to participate in the dismantling of power tools. There were many different tools we got to take apart and analyze, such as old jigsaws and drills. This project was very interesting and allowed us to become more familiar with the inner workings of common power tools, and we were only able to do it because of the generosity of the Exchange.

Taylor Diepenbrock

Orcas Island

Roadside trash is a problem

My New Year’s resolution is to walk every day. During my walks along public roads, I have noticed a significant amount of litter.

The other day I decided to collect the litter along a half mile of Dolphin Bay Road. The amount I collected surprised me. I collected a FULL 33-gallon trash bag of recyclables and about one third of a 33-gallon bag of garbage. The garbage was mostly convenience food packaging such as chip bags, foam trays for sandwiches, plastic utensils, candy wrappers, etc. Of the recyclables, 11 percent were water bottles and pop cans. The remaining 89 percent of the recyclables were liquor related. Of these recyclables, 16 percent were hard liquor and 73 percent were beer bottles and cans. In half a mile I found 147 cans and bottles of beer and 32 hard liquor (not the one ounce variety) bottles! Does this concern anyone else besides me? Granted, I do not know the length of time that it took for this alcohol trash to accumulate, but it represents an amazing number of liquor containers and drinking/driving incidence. Is it typical of our island roads?

There are three concerns that I would like to address. First, the amount of littering that is happening on our island. Do we need an “old school” campaign, such as the one I remember growing up, “Give a Hoot – Don’t Pollute.”

Second, who is responsible for keeping our roads clean? In addition to our personal responsibility to take care of our own trash, is there any “adopt a road” effort? Would people be willing to adopt a section of road to help keep it clean? Could the county assist?

Third, and I believe it to be the most important and difficult issue, the amount of alcohol consumption and driving that is obviously happening. What can be done to address this situation? If you know an offender, or suspect you know an offender, are you willing to tell them how you feel about this issue? Ignoring the problem is like condoning the behavior. Peer influence might have positive results and certainly can’t hurt. I recently heard that Orcas Island has the highest per capita number of DUIs in the state. Thank you to the Sheriff’s Department for their attention to this matter. Still, how many drivers are out there who continue to drink and drive?

Janet Markow

Orcas Island

Response to “Kynch got it right” letter

I’m writing in response to “Kynch got it right,” which quotes a previous guest column, “Until jobless rate turns, economy will be precarious.”

Candidates for the November elections are campaigning, and we’re hearing much about job creation. The concern over jobs seems to grow as elections near. Our Representative, Rick Larsen, has not made jobs a priority in his nine years in the House. Now he’s campaigning on jobs, but few jobs for the 21st century. In the San Juans, we have potential to create jobs in energy efficiency retrofitting for our homes and businesses. The San Juans can help lead the U.S., following the leads of China and Japan, which have made environmental sustainability the basis of their economic policies.

NAFTA has hurt our country greatly by sending jobs out of the country. Health care pressures hurt small businesses, yet Rep. Larsen won’t consider Single-Payer health care, supported by Dr. John Geyman on San Juan Island.

We need to create and keep good jobs in the U.S. Congress has let us down, but every two years we have the opportunity to improve the quality of representation we get.

Larry Kalb, who is running for U.S. House of Representatives against Rick Larsen, will be visiting Orcas on Sunday, Feb. 21, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the West Sound Community Club. Larry is a Progressive Democrat whose platform emphasizes people over profits. I encourage everyone to come meet Larry, share concerns and ask questions. Without good jobs and a healthy environment, we cannot have a healthy economy.

Sharon Abreu


Check out Academy Chamber Orchestra

On Saturday, Feb. 20 at Orcas Center, The Academy Chamber Orchestra of Seattle will be performing. This is a very talented group of youngsters. The young lady pictured in last week’s Sounder won the National Junior Strings Competition in 2008, the year after Oliver, our son, won the same distinction. They will both be soloing and Oliver will be conducting a symphony his brother Lennon wrote. Come join us in what will surely be an exciting evening.

Harvey Aldort

Orcas Island