Letters | Nov. 11 edition

Wood raffle winners

The Odd Fellows would like to thank all those who participated in this year’s wood raffle. The winners were Mike and Connie Haugen. Congratulations! We would also like to mention, once again, that all monies collected went to the Jon Abbott Scholarship Fund which is used to fund two scholarships for our local high school. If you feel so inclined, donations can be sent to: The Odd Fellows, P.O. Box 1286, Eastsound WA 98245.

The next event organized by The Odd Fellows will be our annual community Thanksgiving dinner. This event is a potluck for all held at the Odd Fellows Hall on Nov. 26. Please call Bill and Monique Gincig at 376-8857 for more details.

The Odds

Thanks for levy support

I want to thank our voters for their support of San Juan County Proposition No. 1. The levy lid lift approved assures continuation of our vital, key county programs that support seniors, health services, parks, 4-H, and more for at least six years. It is reassuring that our citizens recognize how important all these programs are for reinforcing our strong sense of community in the San Juans. Thank you!

Bob Myhr

San Juan County Council Member

District 6, Lopez/Shaw

Thanks for supporting music program

Many thanks to everyone who helped and came out on Nov. 3 to support the Orcas Middle and High School Music Program.

We had a wonderful evening at the Odd Fellows Hall, with a fun and varied program featuring the Orcas High School jazz ensemble, the seventh grade chorus, Orcas Horns, Martin Lund, Grace McCune, Michael Hurwicz and me. Special thanks to Marian O’Brien for coordinating the event and to Marian and Keith Whitaker for the scrumptious homemade tarts. Thanks also to Moana Kutsche. And special thanks to Lin McNulty of Primordial Media, LLC for the beautiful fliers, and to Lizz Hanks for all her help with the musical preparation and coordination.

This was a real community effort, with students participating in the concert and parents helping out. We can be proud of our teachers, parents, and administrators for their support of music in our schools and community. It means they support our children to be well-rounded, cultured individuals with the opportunity to realize their talents and maximize their enjoyment through the arts. Many thanks to all the students and community members who participated and to all those who attended. My heart is full.

Sharon Abreu

Orcas Island

Those in military should be honored

Today is Veterans Day and for me it is a reminder that 40 years ago, this month, I was counting the days to the end of my second tour in Vietnam, and seeing my family again. This is what every veteran has gone through and what every serviceman and woman is going through today. The draft is no more, and young people, whether because of education, economics, or ideology, who joined the military should be honored and respected because of the dangerous nature of their job and the sacrifices they made.

Steve Kline

Orcas Island

Thanks to United Way

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United Way of San Juan County for its continued support of valuable, necessary programs in our community here on Orcas.

Orcas Island Prevention Partnership was funded last year for a collaborative grant that included Orcas Family Connections and the Readiness to Learn Program. Three projects were funded: a “Budgeting in Tough Times” class, an “Active Parenting” class, and the “Teens and the Law Forum.” All of these programs were, in turn cooperatively produced with volunteer help from the PTSA, OPAL, and local law enforcement, legal, judicial and mental health professionals. From this seed of money came positive preventative programs that were offered free of charge, and the impetus to grow them!

This year three levels of Active Parenting classes are planned by RTL/OIPP and a Spanish language version of the budgeting class is an outgrowth of OFC’s original class. An assembly, open to the community, was created by POINT BLANK, the OIPP sponsored leadership club at OHS. It will be performed on Nov. 18 at 1:15 p.m. at the Orcas HS gym and reveals the consequences and domino effect of underage drinking. Student actors will be joined by law enforcement, EMT, fire and county legal professionals in “Think About It – Is It Worth the Risk,” a short play and panel discussion adapted from SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions.

This year’s United Way campaign is currently underway. I encourage everyone to contribute, in any amount. The grant funding awarded every year helps support local efforts, often from smaller organizations, and keeps our community a safe and healthy place to be.

Marta Nielson, Director

Orcas Island Prevention Partnership

Thank you, voters

The members of the Senior Services of San Juan County are very happy that the tax levy passed, thus assuring funding for 2010 through 2015. And here on Orcas Island we are particularly grateful for your affirmative votes! This will allow the Senior Center to continue to help our many seniors with all their requests for assistance, be it information or transportation. Again many thanks to all of you.

Magdalena Verhasselt

Senior Advisory Committee

Forum on underage drinking

Point Blank, a chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), is a leadership club of 28 high school students excelling in peer-to-peer prevention education. We are organized and sponsored through Orcas Island Prevention Partnership, a community coalition. Our club advisor is Julie Pinardi, who is the coalitions youth advisor.

On Nov. 18, Point Blank will collaborate with local professionals, including a law enforcement official, a judge, a prosecuting attorney, an EMT, and others, to put on an informational presentation with the goal of raising awareness about the actual and legal consequences of underage drinking.

Point Blank is participating in a SADD campaign launched in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This campaign is called “Think About It…Is It Worth The Risk?” The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness about the risks involved with underage drinking and to have adult professionals in the community available to respond to any questions that the youth have about underage drinking and the law.

The Orcas Island SADD chapter Point Blank wants to remind and reinforce that underage drinking is a crime with serious consequences. In America, alcohol is the most deadly drug for teens and the largest drug problem, responsible for killing 6.5 times more young people than all other illicit drugs combined. By working with its partner, NHTSA, and other youth safety organizations, Point Blank hopes to educate youth and adults alike in our community to prevent hardships due to underage drinking. For any community members that would like to be at this presentation it will be held in the Orcas Island High School gym at 1:15 p.m.

Julie Pinardi

Youth Advisor

How to dispose of unwanted medicines

One of the many reasons not to flush medicines down the drain or throw them out with the trash is to prevent the chemicals from decomposing in water and soil.

Our local wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to remove contaminants from medicines. Also, pharmaceuticals thrown out with regular garbage can leach out of landfills and this leachate may not be adequately treated. Chemical pollution from these sources passes on to wildlife and humans that consume that water. These chemicals may destroy important bacteria that are needed to help purify soils and water.

The National Association of Counties adopted a resolution on July 28, 2009 in support of a national safe and convenient medicine return program that would not rely on government funding. Until such a program is available in San Juan County, please do not flush medications down the toilet or into the sink.

Please crush your medicines and mix them with cat litter or used coffee grounds. Place this mixture into a container with a tight-fitting lid and put it into the trash.

This practice is not perfect but is recommended by the Washington Department of Ecology as an interim measure awaiting development of a statewide take-back system.

Helen Venada

San Juan County Solid Waste Division

Orcas Elementary kids return from OPI

The Orcas Island Elementary sixth grade class just returned from a weeklong adventure in Outdoor Environmental Education at the Olympic Park Institute.

What a fabulous opportunity for our sixth graders to experience! It was a week of exploring, learning and growing that surely made an impact on many young lives. Our natural classroom, Olympic National Park, featured countless opportunities to study ancient forests and the unique climate of the temperate rainforest.

This trip was a huge effort and would not have been possible without the help, cooperation, and donations from many people. The Orcas community was very supportive of our fundraising efforts. Thank you! Our wood raffle this fall was a huge success with the winner of a cord of wood given to Larry North.

Many individuals have also pitched in with donations, contributions and cooperation to help make this trip happen. A special thanks to Valerie Anders, Dorothy Osborn and the Exchange, Valerie West, Melanie Mavrides, Jeff Zbornik, Island Market, Kaleidiscope, Pat and John Hunt, Roger Paulsen, Siloam Parsons and all the parents or individuals who helped organize and fundraise.

Lastly, we would like to thank all the parents who took time off work and family duties to chaperone. A heartfelt thank you to Steve Sabine, Roger Paulsen, Sarah Lyle, John Bodenhamer, Susan Stoltz and Sheila Veldman.

Paula Towne,

Sixth Grade Teacher

Margie Sabine

Laurie Mayhew Waage

And the entire Orcas Elementary Sixth Grade class

Thanks to OICF

The Orcas Island School District’s Readiness to Learn program would like to acknowledge the assistance it continues to receive from the Orcas Island Community Foundation, most recently through the additional funds granted through the Gates Foundation. Thanks to the responsiveness of the Community Foundation’s executive director Hilary Canty, Readiness to Learn (RTL), along with other community programs, was able to expand its services to the island’s most vulnerable population, our school children.

Last spring, the Community Foundation partially funded RTL’s request for funds to assist in providing direct services so that school children may be prepared for the learning environment each day. When the Gates Foundation offered to complete funding for those programs that the Orcas Island Community Foundation (and other community foundations) in the state was unable to completely fund, OICF worked with RTL to obtain that funding.

The Readiness to Learn staff works to link the parents of school-age children with community resources that assist them when they face challenges to a healthy lifestyle. With the invaluable assistance of the Orcas Island Community Foundation, we have now received $10,000 to continue our work strengthening the island community through connecting students to needed services, and effectively supporting a healthy environment for families in need.

RTL assistance increases access to existing public benefits and supports such as the County Mental Health funding for school-based services. RTL works with the Island Market receipts program, the Food Bank, and coat and shoe distribution through Island Hardware and the Sons of the American Legion.

RTL collaborates with the Orcas Island Prevention Partnership and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance programs – among other community partners – to prevent and reduce violence through campaigns and programs such as the Community Forums (the next one is Nov. 15 with featured speaker Ron Hertel, director of the state RTL program.)

RTL also works to strengthen the community and build strong families by coordinating before-school “Parents and Pastries” gatherings for parents to connect with their children’s classroom activities, parenting classes and parent network meetings.

Through resources such as the Food Bank, OPAL’s rental assistance program, OPALCO’s rate assistance program and other community support, we can help families deal with the stressors that impact their children’s school day.

Through the support and funding of the Orcas Island Community Foundation, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, we are in a position to continue to serve the school children of Orcas Island and their families. We deeply appreciate that support.

Margie Doyle,

RTL Coordinator

Barbara Kline,