Letters | Oct. 7 edition

Thanks to OICF and Funhouse

It’s amazing what our local non-profits do for our community. The Orcas Island Community Foundation and The Funhouse sponsored a presentation recently on the intricacies and nuances of filling out Form 990! Sound exciting? Perhaps not, but the group of islanders who took advantage of this presentation will undoubtedly second this “pat on the back” for a worthwhile community service. Thank you to the staff and board of these valuable organizations!

Lance Evans

Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce

Support Greg Ayers for ESWD Commissioner

This letter to the editor was prompted by an important election that many of you may not be aware of. The election for Eastsound Sewer and Water District (ESWD) Commissioner may determine whether or not Orcas Island has safe drinking water in the future, and at what cost.

I would like to provide information on one of the candidates for the Commissioner #3 position. As a Board member of the Eastsound Water Users Association, I have seen firsthand the dedication and many hours that my fellow board members contribute to ensure that members of our user’s association will always have safe drinking water at a reasonable price. Yet, the water sources on our island can be contaminated if sewage is not properly treated and controlled. My insight into the importance of ESWD compelled me to ask voters to consider a very qualified candidate who will work hard to make sure our water remains clean.

We are indeed fortunate to have three people running for the Commissioner #3 position; I am asking you to consider voting for Greg Ayers. Greg is an MD and has BS and PhD degrees in biomedical engineering. He is a cardiac electrophysiologist and has provided his services to 18 companies, including many of the larger cardiovascular companies. Greg now runs an oncology treatment company and has authored 200 publications, 19 book chapters and 21 US patents.

Greg will contribute his time and energy to ensuring that sewage does not infiltrate our water supplies – a problem of ever increasing concern. We are very fortunate to have a person of Greg’s talent and accomplishments who is willing to serve on the Eastsound Sewer and Water District Board. I hope you will seriously consider voting for Greg Ayers so he can work for all of us.

John MacLeod

Orcas Island

Bedell for Fire Commissioner #3

On Nov. 3 we should elect Barbara Bedell as Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Commissioner #3. Many Orcas Islanders know of Ms. Bedell’s dedication and skills from her service on the Boards of the Orcas Island Medical Center, Orcas Center, the Animal Protection Society, the Friends of the Library, and the Spring Point Homeowners Association (SPHA).

During her two terms and six years as elected President of SPHA, she chaired more than 100 meetings, worked tirelessly with the 97 property owners, and managed six annual budgets. Her achievements included road and water system improvements, updated rules and procedures, and protection of the Association’s property against two aggressive developers. She kept budgets frugal and dues low, and yet she established a solid rainy-day budget surplus. Ms. Bedell did this through cooperative working relationships on the board and with members, always leading by example and effort, facing the hard questions, listening to all points of view, getting the facts on the table, promoting timely decisions, and communicating effectively both inside and outside the Association.

The two candidates for Fire and Rescue Commissioner #3 offer Orcas voters a significant contrast. I urge all voters to choose the proven team worker, team builder, and team leader. Choose the candidate who respects and is respected by the OIFR staff, and the one for whom communication includes listening and learning. Vote for the candidate with recognized local experience and demonstrated fiscal responsibility. Vote for good judgment, cooperation, and a solid record of results. Vote for the positive candidate, the one committed to forward planning and steady progress. Vote for Barbara Bedell.

Norm Zimlich

Spring Point

Support Andrews and Guimond for fire commissioner

The election for the Orcas Island Fire District commissioners is coming up soon. When Clyde Duke ran for fire commissioner in 2004, I thought at the time a volunteer firefighter would be a good commissioner, representing the needs of the community and the fire department simultaneously. After watching his performance and interacting with him and the other commissioners at numerous fire commission meetings, I am convinced we need a definitive change. The present group of commissioner’s seems to have “a bigger is better” attitude.

The newest addition to the commission, appointee Barbara Bedell, who has good intentions and wants to serve her community, has no experience, that I am aware of, in any of the technical, construction or hands-on issues that the commission deals with everyday.

A commissioner is not intended to be a rubber stamp for whatever wish or desire the paid staff requests, but a representative of the people that the district serves, constantly considering the costs and necessity of every financial decision. The fire department commissioner’s responsibility is to provide the best possible service within our financial means.

Let’s head in a more fiscally responsible, locally based direction. We need a change in the makeup of our fire commissioners. Vote for a change. A change that will bring more open dialogue between the community and fire department, honor the reality that our volunteers are our most important asset, not huge buildings, expensive equipment, and technical gadgets. Local community members that live full time and die here on Orcas make the best possible members of our local fire department.

I would encourage you to vote for Duff Andrews and Pierette Guimond for District #2 fire commissioners. Both candidates have experience and have long histories of service and dedication to our community. Please remember to vote.

Errol Speed


What happened to the Village Green lawn?

Last fall the county completely re-sod the Village Green lawn, believe it or not. Anyone who has seen that lawn this year is aware that it remains the Village “Green in places with a lot of brown and weeds.” I have no idea how much it cost and whether this was a county job or was bid to a contractor, but either way it does not appear to have worked very well. Has anyone determined the cause of this waste of time and money? And is there any plan to make it right by having the contractor (if there was one) do so at no additional charge to the county? At a time when the county government is experiencing massive shortfalls and looking to save money it would be a shame to let this sort of thing occur without holding someone accountable.

Roger Curtiss

Deer Harbor

Orcas Rec Program needs your help

Due to San Juan County’s budget shortfall, the Orcas Island Recreation Program has had a 100 percent cut from County funding this year. This amounts to a $16,500 cut, and we are relying on donations and user fees to cover all of our costs for this current year. With talk of the upcoming Orcas Parks and Rec Taxing District vote, community attention is appropriately focused towards the future. We look forward to your support when that time comes. However, Orcas Rec is in immediate financial trouble and we need your donations now to keep our current programs funded.

I encourage the community to give as much or as little as they can to help keep this program alive for the future. Anything helps, $10, $25, $100 … It all adds up, and it all is appreciated!

We received a donation from eight-year-old Paris Wilson last week for $49. Paris has been playing her violin at the Farmers Market and asking for donations. She then chooses a non-profit to donate all of her earnings to, and last week Orcas Rec was fortunate enough to get her help. This is the second time that Paris has donated her violin money to our program and we are grateful for her contributions. This is just one great example of what a wonderful and thoughtful community we live in.

Orcas Rec hosts a variety of programs for children and adults. Programs include fall soccer, cooking classes, adult volleyball, field trips, music classes, kids’ theater, various art classes and much more. In the past we have held swimming lessons with Suzy Frank at the Orcas Athletic Center and this year we have a waiting list of youngsters all lined up for November. Unfortunately, if we do not raise enough money between now and the end of the year we may have to cut our swimming program and other programs as well.

We need community support right now and we hope you are willing to get out your check book and make a donation as soon as possible. Please support the Orcas Island Recreation Program by sending your donation to PO Box 1644, Eastsound WA 98245. Thank you for your continued support during this time, we truly appreciate all of your help.

Linda Sheridan

Orcas Rec Coordinator

Support for Park and Rec District

I’m voting for the creation of Orcas Park and Recreation District. I’m voting for it because I see it as an opportunity for Orcas Islanders to decide what recreational activities we value and want on our own island for ourselves and for our children. Yes, times are economically difficult and because of that, valuable services to our kids, parks and a variety of entities have been or threaten to be cut back or cut out. Voting for an Orcas Island Park and Recreation District and directors will create an opportunity to come together to talk about what we want to protect, foster and support. The county has cut all support for the Orcas Rec program which for years has run programs for our kids after school and through the summers. The county is discussing cutting off garbage pick-up and maintenance in the park where we enjoy our Farmers’ Market, concerts, picnicking or just a place to sit in the sun. Those are two examples of Orcas entities that need help and I think contribute to our quality of life. But let’s talk about it.

Let’s elect commissioners to gather us, our community, together to discuss what we care about. Join me in voting for the Orcas Park and Recreation District.

Coleen O’Brien

Orcas Island

Vote for Orcas Parks and Rec District

Orcas Recreation was created over a decade ago to provide structured sports, art, music, educational and outdoor recreational opportunities for our children. These are opportunities children living on a small island otherwise wouldn’t have. Programs provided by Orcas Rec have enriched the lives of thousands of children and consequently, the quality of life on our island. Unfortunately, Orcas Rec will have to close unless immediate financial support is received.

Due to budget shortfalls, San Juan County had to cut the $16,500 it has annually spent to support Orcas Recreation. The fees children pay for programs do not completely cover the cost of running the programs nor do they cover the cost of scholarships for children who could otherwise not afford to participate. Fortunately generous private donations and the county support historically have covered these additional costs.

Unfortunately the lack of county financial support combined with decreased private donations has left Orcas Rec in a dire financial position. If private funds are not raised in the next month, Orcas Rec will have to close operations. For 13 years, Orcas Rec has run a very tight financial shop. In fact, fears associated with the loss of county funding raised concern that a more stable source of income was needed for Orcas Rec, which helped lead to the current initiative to form a Parks & Recreation District scheduled for the Nov. 3 ballot.

As Advisory Board members for Orcas Rec, we firmly back the ballot to create an Orcas Island Parks and Recreation District and ask for your yes vote. We also make an urgent appeal to all islanders to make an emergency donation to Orcas Rec to keep the program running.  Where historically we would be on budget this time of year, numbers provided by San Juan Parks and Recreation show that Orcas Rec has only $600 in reserves. This is true despite intensified fundraising efforts and even includes anticipated earnings from a Nov. 5 Orcas Rec fundraiser at Lulu’s Restaurant. Help us raise $17,000 in the next 6 weeks to keep Orcas Rec running and providing an important service for our children. Please send your donations to Orcas Rec, PO Box 1644, Eastsound, WA 98245.

Bob Eagan, Joe Gaydos, Emily Gincig, Kevin O’Brienl, Bob Phalan, Valerie Harris, Vicki Vandermay

Orcas Recreation Advisory Board Members

Thank you for community dinners

A huge thank you to Orcas 4-H leader Kathy Morris and the Fur and Feathers 4-H Club for putting on another wonderful series of monthly Community Dinners at the senior center this past spring and summer. Not only were the meals a great value and a good time for everyone, the food was amazing – dinners of roast chicken, lasagna, pulled pork, and more, with all of the trimmings.

The kids were such wonderful wait staff and kitchen helpers; their hard work and dedication continue to be the key to the event’s ongoing success. We’d also like to thank the Senior Center for providing the venue and support that made these dinners possible. The Community Dinners are an affordable, nutritious, fun event that bring together many generations. We are especially grateful to Kathy for donating so much of her time and talent in planning and preparing the multi-course meals. What a gift.

Kristen Wilson, Rita Bailey, Kari Van Gelder, Lisl Thomsen, Julia Sanders-Dobos, Beth Morris, Robin Freeman

Fur and Feathers 4-H Parents

Baseball already?

The Islands Little League Board will conduct a public meeting on Friday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in the school cafeteria. We need to hear everyone’s ideas and enlist help with the upcoming 2010 season.

This spring Orcas Island’s Little League will provide 10 weeks of great fun for everyone. Girls and boys aged 5 through 15 will be able to learn and enjoy the Great American Pastime. Islands Little League fosters important qualities in kids including: self esteem, sportsmanship and good comportment, fitness, and community pride. The rest of us are afforded a lot of sunny diamond action. As Yogi Berra put it: “Little league baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”

Preparations begin now to make this happen. The 2009 season saw participation grow at all levels and plenty of fearsome competition. An additional league was developed for younger girls. This year, we need more softball representation on the advisory board. As always, the board needs people willing to give some time to planning and managing the upcoming year, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, there are several other great ways to be involved. We need: Managers, Coaches, Umpires; A Safety Officer, Treasurer, and a regional Delegate; Field maintenance parties; Mariner Day trip chaperones; Registrars and schedulers; Tryouts coordinators; and Experienced barbeque technicians.

The Islands Little League board supports formation of the Orcas Island Parks & Recreation District, join and help us move into this exciting new era. Please attend the meeting, or contact a board member if you have something to contribute. Greg White: 376-3036, Ian Lister: 376-5031, Pat (Lohman) Hunt: 376-2810, Vikki Lawson: 376-3733, Ian Harlow: 376 9663.

Islands Little League Board