Letters | Oct. 28 edition

Support for Ghazel

With the Orcas Island Public School District facing large and important programs in the next several years, quality leadership and proven ability are what we need in our school board members. Tony Ghazel has certainly demonstrated those qualities in his years on the school board, and I believe it is in the community’s interests that he be re-elected to the board. The board is facing challenges in funding and improving the physical plant, and continuity in demonstrated leadership is particularly important now. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with Tony over the past several years and have always been impressed with his intellligence, common sense and dedication to providing quality education for the children of Orcas.

Bob Lundeen

Deer Harbor

Support for Ayers and Ghazel

I have served on an Orcas Island board with Greg for some time now and have had a direct opportunity to see him in action in such a capacity. One of the best measures of one’s capability to do board work is demonstrated evidence of having done that job very well.

Greg is exceptionally bright and has provided creative solutions to problems that have persisted for some time. He thinks strategically and designs and implements action plans to achieve those strategic goals (a rare combination). He gets important things done.

His scientific and engineering background in health sciences is a good fit for the technical, environmental and health issues the district faces.

There is a significant political dimension to what ESWD does since it collaborates with county and state officials. I have seen Greg work very effectively to bring together people with very different starting positions.

We are fortunate to have many talented and capable people in our community who are willing to act in these volunteer capacities and our community would be very well served by having Greg Ayers on the ESWD Board.

Tony Ghazel has clearly demonstrated his commitment to our community through his involvements with the Lions, the Orcas Island Education Foundation, the School Board and many other organizations that strengthen our community.

While I am seriously concerned about specific positions candidates take on critical issues, I am also looking for people who have the right motivations for holding a particular office. Specifically, does a school board candidate want to have an impact on the quality of the educational experiences our children will have now and in the future? And does the candidate also recognize that this must be accomplished with finite resources that must be allocated efficiently and effectively?

I believe that Tony clearly has demonstrated his commitment to both these goals.

I also believe that it is advantageous to have different viewpoints on a school board regarding how to achieve those common goals. Diversity of opinion is desirable when it can be discussed functionally among mature leaders.

Again, I believe Tony has demonstrated his ability to be a functional contributor to the board.

The challenges our school district faces are formidable and will require creative leadership and ambitious yet reasonable risk-taking. I believe Tony brings both to the table.

Art Lange

Orcas Island

Support for Ayers

Greg Ayers gets my enthusiastic support in his race against Harvey Aldort. His ability to analyze problems objectively and propose solutions has been repeatedly demonstrated on the Orcas Medical Center Foundation board. His work with the Actor’s Theater has been both offstage and on. The special effects created for the production of Wait Until Dark is an example of his resourceful ingenuity. I have seen multiple examples of his brilliance in his contributions to cardiology on an international scale in the engineering of life-saving technologies. He is dogged in his devotion to any assumed responsibility, and despite his multiple degrees, he has the humility to carefully listen before committing. Dr. Ayers has been involved in our community in various roles, both front and center and behind the scenes, but always giving meticulous attention to his obligations. We are truly fortunate to have him as a candidate. Do vote for him.

John A. Mazzarella, M.D.

Orcas Island

Endorsement for Sutton

We are writing to tell you that teachers support Chris Sutton for school board. We are excited about this candidacy for the following reasons: Chris attended and graduated from the Orcas School system. Chris is self-employed in the field of business systems development. He has worked closely with small and large companies. He has a working understanding of the business pieces of the district that the board oversees. Chris has young children and so has a vested interest in seeing that Orcas Schools are the best that they can be. Chris graduated from a four-year college, and so understands how important the high school years are in preparation for that and other endeavors. Chris is an involved parent who currently volunteers time coaching sports. He understands the extra-curricular piece and its importance to kids. Chris has experience listening to people and creating solutions from those conversations. This is a skill that cannot be undervalued. He is obviously good at it – that is how he makes his living.

Chris has stated that he and his family moved back here for the schools. He is motivated. We believe he will bring a level of skill and expertise that will enhance the work of the current board. His vested interest is to the children, which is the point of the school system. We ask you to vote for Chris Sutton, position #1. We believe strongly that he is the best choice.

Anne Ford McGrath, Lorena Stakevich, Mathew Chasanoff, Sharon Harvey

Orcas School teachers

Support for Bedell and Duke

Recently Orcas Island residents received a bulk mailing from Patrick Shepler regarding the upcoming vote for Orcas Island Fire Commissioners. Mr. Shepler is one of the Orcas Island Fire District paramedics. He requests that you maintain the current Fire Commissioners, Clyde Duke and Barbara Bedell. Other paramedics listed on the piece of mailing support Mr. Shepler’s position on retaining the two incumbents (Bedell and Duke).

I concur with the reasons given by Mr. Shepler and trust his judgment on his position of voting. I can only speak from a personal perspective, but I know the Orcas Island Fire Department and the paramedics are professional and the system works. In the past three years, I have had been fortunate in having three of the paramedics (Harris, Preysz and Shepler) assist me in a medical emergency – one which was life threatening and required being flown off island. I have trusted the paramedics and the EMT volunteers with my life. I trust their judgment and abilities to monitor a medical situation and initiate the proper protocols and attention.

If the paramedics support the two incumbent candidates that is all I need to know that the high quality of professional emergency medical care will be maintained. I had the privilege to be at the February 2009 Orcas Island Volunteer Banquet. (My daughter is an EMT.) I was so impressed by the tight bond of the volunteers, the senior staff and the fire commissioners and the good natured fun and entertainment. The Orcas Island Fire Dept. has a great team in place and it can be relied upon. I had not seen this bond of camaraderie since 1970 when a small unit I was part of in the U.S. Army was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.

These are the people who we trust with our lives. I trust them on the right choices for the fire commissioners.

Jim Dingman

Orcas Island

Against Paramedic Mailing

Recently I (and I believe every P.O. box holder) received “A personal note from your paramedics” which is very distressing to me.

Let me start by confirming my belief that we have four of the best paramedics we could have serving with the Orcas Island Fire Department. What bothers me is that four names at the bottom of the postcard do not identify themselves as “paid” department members. (They are well paid, plus benefits, not volunteers, and one is no longer a member of the department.) They also comprise the Union part of the department. I am sure they do want Clyde Duke (a very good commissioner) to know that they support him. He signed off on hiring each of them, negotiated their present contract and will do the same in the near future for their new contract. Barbara Bedell is too new to know much about their contract, but she will be involved in the new contract. Of course they have the right to support anyone they want as individuals. But to quote, “Your Orcas Island Fire Rescue Paramedics” are the direct result of the vision and leadership of Clyde with the support of Barbara (six months as an appointed commissioner). I also question the use of a Orcas Fire and Rescue truck and them being in what seems to be official department uniforms. I do not know if the note is legal or illegal, but I feel that it is unethical. It was great politics to send it out at the last minute, so that a good percentage of the voters would have sent their ballots in before any rebuttal could be made to their “Personal Note.” Can anyone who wants to use the “district” (taxpayer) equipment for political advertising? Did Chief Harris approve the use of department equipment?

John Erly


For Duke and Bedell

I have heard a lot of chatter in the paper and at fire commissioner meetings concerning the direction of our fire department. Having served for 12 years as a volunteer EMT (1997 to present), Volunteer Board Member/President 1999-2001, Fire Commissioner (2002-2006) and Emergency Medical Services Long Range Planning Committee chair 2004/05, there are very few people around who have the same perspective as to the growth and direction of the district as I do.

Up front I will say that I have certainly not agreed with every decision the commissioners and administration have made. However, I can say with certainty that the current commissioners and administration have held true to the promises of the 1999 levy lid lift.

We asked for the lid lift for three main reasons: to build a new station in Eastsound while making improvements to the six outlying stations; to replace obsolete engines and ambulances while upgrading individual members’ gear; to provide some form of health insurance subsidy for the volunteers while creating a health and fitness program.

Every one of those commitments has been accomplished or will be completed by 2014 when the levy lid lift expires.

Have there been mistakes along the way? Yes. Most were eventually recognized and mitigated. Has the fire department leadership been committed to improve our service to you, its customers? YES!

I am most proud of being a part of this group of folks, from fire commissioners to administration to the officers and volunteer members, because of the outstanding response and service they provide. That level of service is the single most important thing we do. It would have not been possible without the levy in 1999 and it would have not been possible without the leadership of the current board. Planning for the future while taking care of the present is the challenge this Board of Fire Commissioners face. There were 328 calls to 911 in 1999. This year, 2009, will see that number more than double to nearly 700. This group of people has made the difficult transition to a state of the art volunteer/professional department because of their foresight and dedication to the mission.

When you sit down with your ballot, please ask yourself one question, “Are topnotch emergency services important to me and my family?”

If the answer is yes then I suggest you vote for Clyde Duke and Barbara Bedell to continue their work overseeing the improvement of your fire department. They are both critical cogs in the life safety wheel that rolls to your emergencies.

Just ask anyone we have helped.

Bob Phalan

Orcas Island

For Bedell

We support the candidacy of Barbara Bedell for Fire Commissioner. We were introduced to Barbara nearly a decade ago. We have watched her working for many Orcas organizations – often as a board member. We know her to be intelligent, prudent, thoughtful, and vigorous. She will be a fine steward of the tax funds allocated to the fire department. Your vote for Barbara will be a vote for good government.

Maxine and David Sarver

Deer Harbor

For Bedell

We strongly recommend you vote on Nov. 3 for Barbara Bedell for the position of Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Commissioner #3. Barbara has proven her leadership skills in various venues where she has served on the Boards of the Spring Point Homeowners Association, the Orcas Island Medical Center, the Friends of the Library, and the Animal Protection Society. Her positive approach to problem solving and her ability to communicate effectively have been much appreciated; she considers all sides of an issue, listens to the varying points of view, and reaches a reasoned decision.

Barbara has been a welcome addition to OIFR and has been diligent in becoming an active participant, earning the respect of the other commissioners and the staff. It is noteworthy that she has been enthusiastically endorsed by the OIFR paramedics. Her can-do attitude, her experience and intelligence, and her commitment to making sure Orcas Island maintains outstanding fire and EMS services within budget guidelines make her the candidate who could best fill this position. Barbara Bedell is, indeed, the well-grounded choice and we urge you to support her with your vote.

Judy and Jim Sutherland

Orcas Island

For Guimond

Pierrette Guimond will bring a fresh perspective and renewed energy to the position of Fire Commissioner, if elected. She would also bring a thorough understanding of how junior taxing districts are managed. She has served two such districts: the Orcas Island Library and the Orcas Cemetery District #2. Through her years of service Pierrette has become very familiar with the particular issues and requirements of such districts. She has been on both sides of the district table. She has been responsible for holding public meetings that fulfill the requirements of the Open Meetings Act. She has had to answer tough questions from the public, and has fulfilled countless requests for information. She has always held the public’s rights as her responsibility, while at the same time taking care of business and getting things done. This is why Pierrette is able to ask hard questions: she has had hard questions asked of her, and has had to be accountable. It does not benefit any tax district to operate in a vacuum. Public involvement and understanding are essential to the healthy operation of OUR tax districts. Vote for Pierrette Guimond, and you will gain a hard-working, fair, and principled commissioner who advocates for ALL those involved with the department, including the public and the taxpayer.

Ann Lister

Orcas Island

For Orcas Rec district

On Nov. 3, Orcas Islanders will be able to vote in support of a Park and Recreation District. County funding has been drastically cut from the County Parks Dept., the Orcas Rec. Program and Senior Services. Planning for the future of local programs for Orcas residents should be in our own hands. A district with five elected commissioners, listening to the local public and balancing local needs will design a workable, sustainable program that operates without dependency on the general fund administered from San Juan County. A YES vote is not a vote for a tax, not for a levy. It is only to establish a district. In the future if the commissioners propose a levy they will have to put it on the ballot and convince the public that their plans will benefit the voters.

Join us in electing Marian O’Brien to be one of the first commissioners of our new Park and Recreation Commission. We know her to be thoughtful, honest, and an effective, hard worker. We want to give Marian and the other four commissioners a chance to demonstrate what the Orcas Parks and Recreation District might be. How lucky we are to have these dedicated volunteers “roll up their sleeves” for us.

Andrea Hendrick, Ruthie Newman, Mary Poletti

Orcas Island

For Orcas Rec district

Thank you to all of you who have already voted. For those who have not yet sent in their ballots, know that there are several issues in this off-season election that are very important to our own local, Orcas Island lifestyle.

I urge you to support the creation of a specifically Orcas Island Park and Recreation District by voting yes on Proposition No. 1.

In addition, I urge you to vote for five people who will thoughtfully work on our behalf to form a sensible and effective structure for our very own Park and Rec District, namely: Marian O’Brien, Bob Eagan, Martha Farish, Jim Bredouw, and Ian Lister.

Most of us know most, if not all, of the candidates. I, like many on Orcas, have been lucky enough to have had connections with both Bob Eagan and Jim Bredouw. But I consider myself very fortunate, indeed, to have been able to work alongside of Marian O’Brien on various jobs and projects. This community would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated, educated, energetic, innovative, and yet keenly aware of budgetary issues, individual with the willingness and the communication skills to see through the creation of a totally Orcas Island Park and Rec District.

After voting yes on Proposition 1, please join me and my husband, Jeff Bossler, in voting for Marian O’Brien as Position 1 Commissioner.

Bonnie Bossler


For Orcas Rec district

It’s rare that a difficult situation (the county’s economic woes) leads to a unique opportunity. However, that’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in. The county has cut all funding to the Orcas Island Recreation Program. During this election, we will have the opportunity to create a new Orcas Parks and Recreation District (and elect five commissioners to help craft its vision). Depending on the will of the voters, important programs for youth can be continued, and even built upon. We can assume local control of some important park assets (i.e. Buck Park). Leisure programs for adults and seniors can also be a part of this vision. It’s up to us, and the commissioners we elect, to decide what we value. We hope you consider the possibilities and join us in voting “yes” to creating the new Orcas Parks and Recreation District.

Orcas Schools’ PTSA

For Orcas Rec district

Why a new district to provide recreation programs?

Orcas Island recreation activities need stable and consistent leadership. The Orcas Parks and Recreation District will provide the leadership needed to provide healthy leisure time activities for people of all ages on Orcas Island. The leadership will come from five elected park commissioners, all from Orcas Island.

How will the new district be funded?

A funding plan will be developed by the newly elected commissioners, probably some time in the first few months of 2010. The district on San Juan Island provides funding with a combination of fees for services, state and federal grants, and private contributions. Property taxes may be used for periods of up to six years, but only after there has been voter approval. No new tax is associated with this proposal.

Will the new district be funded by the county?

Unfortunately, no. The county leaders have said they will not fund recreation programs for Orcas Island in 2010 and they are looking forward to a transition to a park and recreation district. The county’s proposed levy lid lift is earmarked for county parks on other islands and does not help Orcas recreation programs.

How will the transition to the new district occur?

A transition plan will be one of the first orders of business for the newly elected commissioners. It is expected that there will be a smooth transition as all commissioner candidates have expressed a strong desire to continue recreation programs for people of all ages.

Vote yes for Orcas Parks and Recreation!

Kevin and Nancy O’Brien


For Orcas Rec district

We are writing in support of an Orcas Parks and Recreation District. The Rec. program has benefitted our family tremendously throughout the years with their organization of Orcas sports programs, camps and sailing for kids. We cannot imagine raising children on this island without having these wonderful benefits. There are numerous other annual and seasonal programs and events for families on Orcas that would benefit enormously if they also were organized, promoted and run by a Parks and Recreation Program.

Turning the Rec. Program into a Parks and Recreation District would prove valueable in many ways. Funding is always a challenging issue for community programs and, we believe, does not always determine the value of a program. The best, most creative and organized manager, for example, at working with kids is not always the best person at fundraising. We would not want to find this incredible worker and ask them to spend the majority of their working hours focused on fundraising rather than on programming. It is an inappropriate thing to ask a community employee to fundraise their own salary as well as the funds for the programs which serve us. Having a tax-based community funded Orcas Parks and Recreation District with a team of commissioners to oversee it would free up a gifted person to do programming rather than being chief fundraiser.

Orcas Island is filled with creative ideas to benefit our island citizens of all ages. How wonderful for all it would be if we could call a parks and rec. office to ask for help in making these amazing ideas become reality. From dance and exercise to sports and park events, camps and programs to the arts and sharing of the amazing resources we have in the talents of people who live here, the ideas are endless. We are quite sure that there are people who have put on many a program for our community who would love to have had a parks and rec. district handle the details so that they could focus on the program and the people they long to serve.

Please vote YES to provide an Orcas Island Parks and Recreation District to serve our community.

Gregg and Lisa Bronn

Orcas Island

For Orcas Rec district

We have all heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child,” and this community is evidence of that. I am evidence of that. My childhood was spent on Orcas and I am continuously affected by the local informal support system that existed 25 years ago. After college, I couldn’t wait to come home and give back to a place that gave so much to me. I became the adult I am today in part because of the positive impact adult members of this community had on me through local recreational opportunities.

I believe that parents with the best of intentions struggle to successfully raise well-rounded children without group experiences and enrichment activities such as team sports, group lessons, art programs and other social and creative outlets. Countless local children have benefited from these examples under the organization of Orcas Rec Program for many years. As a mother and an early childhood educator, I have seen firsthand the self-satisfaction on the face of a child who knows he/she has contributed to the success of their team, overcome a personal fear, defeated Mother Nature at sea, or made the word a more beautiful place. I have also written a few checks. It’s not always about money, politics and taxes. Sometimes it’s about people, and in this case, our island kids. I encourage you to vote “yes” in creating Orcas Parks and Rec as a junior taxing district, which will empower local, elected officials to keep a vital community program alive.

Amber Paulsen

Kaleidoscope Director

For Orcas Rec district

This past July over 650 people signed a petition to place the Orcas Island Recreation District Proposal on the ballot. Now is the time to vote to approve the district.

We are fortunate that this district will have solid leadership. I have met with all of the commissioner candidates and I am impressed by their enthusiasm, interest and credentials. If you are unsure of what the district may be in the future, just talk several of the commissioner candidates. Or check out Island Rec on San Juan Island. It is a great example for what good leadership can do to promote recreation programs for people of all ages (www.islandrec.org).

Recreation programs provide physical activity and mental challenges that promote a healthy lifestyle. This proposal reflects what I want for our community. Please join me and vote to APPROVE the recreation district.

Randall Gaylord

Orcas Island

For Orcas Rec district

Ms. Carter must be unaware that the group of Orcas Islanders (most of them parents) who worked to get this initiative on the ballot were able to collect more than 600 signatures in just over two weeks. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

The community members who happily signed the petition understand that when you provide fun and inclusive programs, it is not just for the benefit of their child, or even all of the children. This type of programming benefits and strengthens our community as a whole.

I understand Ms. Carter’s concern about more taxes, but the truth is that every dollar spent on well-run programming saves far more than a dollar in government spending on law enforcement and social service programs. In addition, these programs actually provide great opportunities for families to spend time together. One of my happiest memories here on Orcas is of the Orcas Rec Circus program that my whole family participated in – even my older daughter came home from college to help with it.

The best way to save tax dollars is to have an accountable program, and the best way to ensure that a program is accountable is to have local control. That is what the Orcas Park and Recreation District would provide.

Keith Whitaker


Votes yes for both parks and levy lift

Mrs. Carter’s letter to the editor (10/14/09) was noteworthy especially since she is the chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party. I do not know if the letter is her personnel observations or reflect the local Republican Party’s position on the upcoming elections.

In the first paragraph of Mrs. Carter’s letter she makes a good point. Parents should certainly be more involved with their children. However, in the next paragraph she is trying to indicate that by voting “no” on the Orcas Parks & Rec District it will result in parents finding more time to spend with their children.

The pretzel logic is fascinating.

The cost for the proposed district would be less than $1 per week on a $450,000 property. That would mean parents adding maybe five extra minutes one day a week at work. What could happen with a NO vote is that a lot of working parents will have to find alternatives for their children after school. Financial resources will be strained by having to leave work earlier, potentially compromising tough to find jobs. Mrs. Carter’s “solution” is a lose-lose situation for island families.

In her third paragraph, Mrs. Carter talks about the “benevolent people of Orcas Island” who “generously support excellent endeavors” and if it is not worthwhile the program fails and “directors seek the support of benevolent patrons.” After I read that I checked my calendar to make sure I was not in the 12th Century with serfs and nobles strolling island pathways. According to Carter, it’s too bad if a struggling single mother trying to pay the rent and put food on the table has to lose valuable work hours.

Mrs. Carter concludes that “…if people are concerned about the welfare of the children on the island they must vote NO on both the Parks and Rec District and the County Tax Increase.” This last part had me confused as to how voting down the county tax levy will help children, while seniors will lose valuable programs such as county health services.

Please vote “Yes” for the Parks and Rec District and County Levy.

Mark Antony

Orcas Island

Support levy lid lift

As part of our island’s community, do you enjoy the services of our senior centers, county parks, public health services, 4H and Master Gardener programs, or the County Fair? Do you want to see a continuation of needed services in emergency management support and oil spill response? Would you like to see the Farmers Market and Sunday evening concerts continue at the Eastsound Village Square? If so, the San Juan County Levy Lid Lift needs your support in the upcoming election.

Many counties across the State are faced with reducing or eliminating programs which are not required by law but which add so much to the quality of life for their residents and visitors. San Juan County is required to fund such operations as the court and correctional systems and offices of the Assessor, Treasurer and Auditor. In order to do so, budgets have been reduced dramatically in many non-mandated programs. County offices have had to cut back their hours. Voters now have the opportunity to decide whether these cutbacks should become permanent or be restored to a more serviceable level.

If approved, the Levy Lid Lift will increase property taxes on a $500,000 property by $60 a year, an increase of $5 a month. The levy will expire after six years unless a continuation is approved by the voters. I urge you to join me in voting to support these services in San Juan County.

Gil Blinn


For Proposition 1

I urge San Juan County citizens to vote in favor of Proposition 1 that will temporarily lift the levy lid on property taxes to support vital county programs. Senior services, public health immunization clinics, 4-H, county parks, emergency management and oil spill protection are all programs that are important to our island communities and are in danger of being significantly reduced or lost altogether.

Yes, taxes are a burden and we must require that our elected officials be fiscally responsible. The fact is that we have the lowest levy rate in the state and it will remain the lowest even if Proposition 1 passes. That is remarkable given that we live in a county made up entirely of islands and it just plain costs more to provide needed services. I look at my tax bill and see that property taxes for all of our county services, except roads, is less than I pay for our very important, but largely volunteer, Lopez Island Fire Department.

I’m comfortable that our county officials are being prudent and that we should support Proposition 1.

Tom Cowan

Lopez Island

Reject Referendum 2008-2

Fireworks are indivisible with our celebration of many special events, be that Disneyland, a baseball home run, or sparklers on your birthday cake. Yet our elected and emergency management officials warn that we must snuff them out for our own good, that the threat of catastrophic result is simply too high a societal cost to bear.

Celebrating the birth of our country on the beach with pinwheels, fountains, and smokepots one day per year cannot fairly be portrayed as a high-risk activity. Yet this is exactly what is targeted, and will be outlawed by this measure. You can be arrested for merely possessing a sparkler.

Proponents invoke fearful visions of flaming skyrockets raining down on our forests sparking massive fiery conflagrations. They paint pictures of powerful firecrackers exploding in the hands of innocent children, maiming them or even taking their precious life. Good grief! What right-thinking person isn’t afraid of such terrible things? That is why these devices are already illegal, and have been for many, many years. Why aren’t these existing laws enforced? How is making up new laws about non-related devices helpful? Should we outlaw matches too? Fear sells and that’s what’s being sold here.

Yes, there is a chance of fire, and yes, there is a risk of injury, no different than our many other daily activities. Are we being asked to ban kitchen stoves (26.4% of all residential fires/$8.5b damage), sports (3.5m children under 14), or driving (2.9m injuries/$230b damage)? If “one accident is one too many” is our new operating theory, our standard of care, our measuring stick, our burden of proof, well then we best sharpen our voters’ pencils, because we have a serious amount of banning left to do.

Please do not buy into the false notion that you can bargain your freedoms away in exchange for enhanced safety and security. The only certainty in that trade is your loss of freedom for a yield of nothing more than a well-intentioned but ultimately empty promise.

Reject Referendum 2008-2. It takes from you and solves nothing.

Don Burkhart

Blakely Island

Thanks from OFHC

Orcas Family Health Center would like to thank everyone who participated in our Dinner Winner Sweepstakes. We appreciate all the community members who gave us support as we use these treasured funds to assist in providing medical care for those who are unable to provide for themselves and for our new X-ray facility.

I also want to thank Bilbo’s Festivo, Christina’s, Deer Harbor Inn, Ecotopian Restaurant, Lulu’s, Inn at Ship Bay, Orcas Hotel, Outlook Inn, Portofino’s Pizzeria, and Vern’s Bayside Restaurant and special thanks to Robin and Judy Watson of Cruise Control for their contribution of a fabulous dinner cruise. It is a blessing to live in a community which cares for its own.

OFHC’s next event is our annual Dinner Dance at Orcas Center on December 11. Have a great time dining and dancing to music of Orcatrazz for only $35 per couple. Seating is limited so get your reservation early at Eastsound Instrument and Supply or Cherie Lindholm Real Estate.

Orcas Family Health Center is a 501c3 corporation and any donations are tax deductible. Visit our web site at www.orcasfamilyhealthcenter.org.

Ken Speck

OFHC President

Approve Referendum 71

Governor Gregoire signed on May 18, 2009 Senate Bill 5688 titled, “Expanding the rights and responsibilities of state registered domestic partners.” The law ensures that all Washington families are provided with the same protections, the same rights, and the same obligations as their neighbors. The law extends equality and fairness to registered domestic partners (same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples where at least one partner is over age 62).

Among the provisions of the law that address equality and fairness are: the right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner; the right to wages and benefits when a domestic partner is injured, and to unpaid wages upon the death of a domestic partner; the right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits; the right to workers’ compensation coverage; rights to insurance, including rights under group policies, policy rights after the death of a domestic partner, conversion rights and continuing coverage rights; rights related to adoption, child custody and child support; and business succession rights.

The Nov. 3 election day ballot mailed to registered San Juan County voters contains Referendum 71, a referendum sponsored and endorsed by opponents of the registered domestic partnership law. All referenda ask the same question: “Should an existing law be approved or rejected?” The domestic partnership law already exists. We urge you to vote to approve Referendum 71 on your ballot and to retain this important law. Your vote to approve Referendum 71 is your statement that all families in Washington are to be treated equally and fairly.

Steering Committee

San Juan Island Chapter

ACLU of Washington

FAA vs. the Port

About 40 or 50 years ago, a chap by name of “Cap Ferris” donated a large tract of land to our airport with the stipulation that he and his heirs or assigns be allowed airport use rights in perpetuity. Since that time the parcels have changed hands a few times leaving the use rights in force. The so-called “through the fence” owners are still rightful users of this package. Without Cap’s largess we would not have the land or the fine airport we have today.

These TTF folks are a generous lot — many are Angel Flight contributors for those needing medical transport by air and always available to mentor those youngsters fascinated by aviation. They each contributed to the FAA’s demand for a protective mammal fence around the airport four years or so ago. General Bill Anders has put together a wonderful aviation museum dedicated to public education and also has contributed a section of his land to the Port for free. All these neighbors of ours have paid a premium price for their properties due to the airport connection. This fostered higher property values and higher property taxes for those taxing authorities.

These TTF folks are our good friends and neighbors – why go to war over something so trivial and obscure?

The FAA’s solution is to hit them with a $300 per annum charge which would be difficult to administer equitably. One pilot possesses 15 aircraft, some of which are hangared in Bellingham. Another pilot has five aircraft while some have two or three. One has a glider, which cannot be flown here for safety reasons. Some own no aircraft – one runs an aircraft repair shop – another is on a three-year rebuild of his airplane. Charging fees by the airplane will not work fairly – and how do you charge a guy who just wishes to be around airplanes? These people are no closer to deadbeat status than my aunt Tilly.

To lay a questionable fee on a guy who flew to the moon or served his country in Iraq or other lands is folly and not proper. If we pursue this course, it most certainly will get dirty and a bunch of lawyers will get rich – and for what, a couple hundred bucks?

Al Edwards


Support for Tony Ghazel

Please join me in voting for Tony Ghazel to continue serving on the Orcas Island School District Board of Directors. Tony has served our children and the school district extremely well these past 5 years. He is experienced, intelligent, detail-oriented and dedicated. Tony has participated in and led many aspects of the school bonding programs and has been very active in listening to the community in the latest round of architect interviews. Tony and his wife have sent three children through the Orcas schools, supporting them in their academic pursuits, and their outside activities, like soccer! Tony is a hands-on board member. He was in the elementary school last week working with a group of students on individual computer skills through an inexpensive program that provides small, but good laptops for the students. A teacher was overheard saying, “Thank goodness we have someone like Tony who works with the children and knows what he is doing.” I believe Tony Ghazel will continue to serve the children and our school district in a positive and refreshing manner. He is committed to the quality education our schools strive to provide, as well as controlling costs and staying accountable to the taxpayers. Please join me in voting for Tony Ghazel.

Bruce R. Orchid


Vote yes for Parks and Rec

Opportunities for healthy activities, and providing the space for those activities to occur, are critical keys to keeping our community vital. I urge you to vote YES for Orcas Parks and Recreation District and elect the commissioners who will develop a sustainable plan ensuring healthy opportunities for our community into the future. Vicki Vandermay has gained my support through her service on the current Orcas Recreation board and her volunteer efforts throughout the community. Vicki’s knowledge of the program and her lifelong commitment to physical activity ensure she will be a valuable member of the new commission. I hope you will lend her your support as well.

Hilary Canty


Firehouse serves community

An Oct. 7 letter from Errol Speed criticizes our Orcas Fire Department, stating “our volunteers are our most important asset, not huge buildings, expensive equipment and technical gadgets.”

I respectfully disagree with his characterizations.

About two months ago, having (in common with many other islanders) fairly difficult access to our home, we requested fire department inspection of our site. Some trees were found to need pruning, but thanks to recent purchase of smaller and more mobile equipment, we were okayed for fire and rescue access.

This spring, along with some 20 other volunteers, I enrolled in a two-month “Beachwatchers” course sponsored by WSU. Classes rotated between islands, with the Eastsound firehouse as the Orcas venue. During this year, I have also attended county council and Puget Sound Partnership sessions in the firehouse meeting rooms.

I have checked the fire department meeting records and found that in addition to the training administered by staff to some 30 fire and medical emergency volunteers, the meeting rooms accommodated steady use by a variety of groups – some large like OIFFA, Orcas Lions, OICF Board, Orcas Community Fund, SJC Land Bank, Orcas Recreation, and some smaller such as Beachwatchers, and two groups from Raccoon Point.

Along with its fire and public safety requirements, this “huge” building is truly a central gathering place for the volunteer organizations of our community. Check it out yourselves.

Bruce M. Hall

Orcas Island

Orcas Library and the Patriot Act

The USA Patriot Act was signed into law in October 2001 and reauthorized in March of 2006. The intent of the legislation was to update wiretap and surveillance laws for the internet age, to address realtime communication and stored communication (email, voicemail, etc.), and to give law enforcement wider powers for conducting searches and investigations.

Section 215 of the legislation, known as the “library provision,” which grants wide authority to law enforcement to search records and investigate library patrons, is due to sunset on December 31, 2009. Congress is debating this authorization, and while libraries everywhere are hoping that Section 215 will be modified to coincide with state’s laws and regulations, it is not at all clear that this mitigation will occur.

Our Orcas Library Board of Trustees would like to engage Orcas library users in this discussion, since they feel that a democratic society must provide free access to all forms of self-expression and information without undue interference or monitoring. Many libraries have reported misuse of the Patriot Act where it has been used for other than its stated rationale and it has clashed with people’s constitutional rights concerning research, exploration, and reading. The Orcas Library has pledged to consent to legal court orders to obtain specific information about specific individuals, but it stands behind its users’ rights to privacy and freedom of inquiry, and plans to resist vague and nonspecific “fishing trips” by law enforcement officials.

Our library board feels it is important for the public to share their thinking about this issue and we invite participation at our next board meeting on Monday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. You’re also welcome to provide comments directly to me, as I serve as the Community Services Chair.

Alan Lichter

Trustee, Orcas Library

Thank you Orcas Christian School

I wanted to express gratitude to the Orcas Christian School for the clothing drive this past Sunday. When I arrived around 12:30 p.m., the parking lot was full! I saw people carrying large plastic bags full of clothing back to their cars. I was greeted with warmth and sincerity at the door by Pastor Will and the good feelings just kept rolling in the whole time I was there.

I just want to say, “Thank you so much for caring and for this wonderful offering.”

Dawn Macaskill

Orcas Island

I Always Vote Yes

OHS needs more money. The community has supported bonds, fundraisers, and donations. OHS did not support all of last year’s seniors. Seniors voted last year on Baccalaureate, a dedication for the future, and graduation party at The Funhouse was only for those at Orcas High School. Graduation party at The Funhouse was started as a safe and sober place for the seniors to have a last night, if you will, since they grew up together. Last year, my daughter was a Running Start student through OHS, but was not welcome at either of these events. This decision was left up to the OHS students to vote. Although they felt it was ok to ask for donations for the party from the place where she is employed, leading that business to believe that it was for all seniors, it was not until that night we learned she was not welcome at the party due to the vote of OHS seniors. The donations from that company may not have happened had they known that their own employee would not be allowed to go.

Some kids don’t go to OHS maybe because they have taken a different path, one not at OHS. Diversity is a good thing. The fact that not all students here on Orcas go to the public school should be a good reason for the students, staff, district and everyone to take notice. OHS has stated that they are more than happy to work with other schools as well as homeschoolers. Well, it is time to step up and back up those words. Support all the kids no matter what school they go to because really it is not about what school they attend. Or is it? We still pay taxes to OHS with a YES vote.

Melissa Lowry

Orcas Island

Participate in growth planning

At our next meeting on Nov. 5th at 3 p.m. at the Orcas Senior Center, the Eastsound Planning and Review Committee will be looking how the proposed new Critical Areas Ordinance, or CAO, designed to protect our sensitive natural resources, will impact Eastsound. As the island’s designated UGA, Eastsound is expected to accommodate 50 percent of the growth on Orcas. The focus of this meeting is to hear the impacts upon essential community services.

Representatives from the Eastsound Sewer and Water District, Public Works, and Eastsound Water Users Association will discuss the changes these proposed regulations will have on their operations and the implications for development within the Urban Growth Area. Large maps, prepared with support from Public Works, show the three setbacks under consideration from shorelines and streams. After EPRC has completed its review of the CAO, it will present its recommendations to the County Council and Planning Commission. We would like to invite anyone interested to come and participate. The progress on EPRC’s 2009 priorities and those considered for 2010 will also be discussed.

Patty Miller

Eastsound Planning & Review Committee

Thank you soccer coaches, refs and sponsors

Orcas Island Recreation Program had an amazing and wonderful fall soccer program this year. We lucked out with some great weather for practices and games, but even in the rain the kids had a great time. This was my first soccer season as the Orcas Rec Coordinator and I loved it! I could have never pulled it off without the help and generosity of the coaches. A huge thank you goes to each and every one of them for being dedicated to such a time-consuming schedule and giving it their all! These coaches showed up rain or shine each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to teach and support their team. The coaches were not just teaching these youngsters soccer skills. They were also teaching each of them how to be a team player, how to communicate with others, and how to have good sportsmanship in all situations. These are valuable lifelong lessons that these players will take with them throughout life. Thanks Coaches!

I also want to thank all of the volunteer referees that showed up on game days to make our games run safely and smoothly! We had a number of high school soccer players help ref each Saturday for the seven to nine year-old level and we had two special refs that would come nearly every Saturday to ref the nine to 12 year-olds. Thanks Tony and Megan for being such dedicated refs!

Last, but not least, I would like to thank the 12 separate Orcas business that sponsored Orcas Rec Soccer this year. We appreciate your support!

It truly is a wholehearted island effort to run such a great program, and it is wonderful see such dedication from players, coaches, refs, local businesses, parents, and family members of players. Good job to all of the players that participated this year. We hope to see you out on the field next fall!

Linda Sheridan

Orcas Rec Coordinator

Support for Sutton

I have known Chris Sutton well for over 30 years. We grew up together on this wonderfully supportive island and attended the public school on Orcas from elementary through high school. After high school, we both went on to the University of Washington and in recent years we have both moved back to the island to raise our children. I feel strongly that our community thrives on the involvement of young families. As Chris is a product of Orcas schools, and a parent of two young children, his perspective will be vital on the school board. The board will benefit from his enthusiasm for learning and technology, and his willingness to listen. I encourage you to join me in voting for Chris!

Andrew Stephens

Doe Bay

United Way needs support

The Primary Intervention Program, or PIP, at Orcas Elementary School helps to promote young children’s success by assisting them in discovering their personal strengths and enhancing their self esteem. PIP has become a mainstay within our school and continues to assist up to 25 percent of children in grades K-3.

United Way of San Juan County has also become a mainstay in providing funds to help PIP continue the support for these children. Last year, the program served over 23 children with year-end results showing positive and measurable growth in their academics and social success.

Children who experience early school success are more committed to education, more resilient to difficulties, more empowered to overcome challenges and to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Your support for United Way helps our island children in many wonderful ways. Your dollars will keep PIP and many other local children’s programs alive and help future adults to feel competent, resilient and oriented toward success. Please support United Way of San Juan Count during their funding drive through the end of December 2009. Your dollars will stay in San Juan County and may even be designated for a specific supported program. Please support prevention. Please support United Way.

Margie Sabine

PIP Coordinator, Orcas Island School District