Letters | Sept. 2 edition

Clyde Duke thanks community

I’d like to thank the Orcas Island community for its support of the vision that I share regarding the development of the Orcas Island EMS and Fire Department. I appreciate the opportunity to serve this wonderful community and department.

Clyde Duke

Orcas Island

Jonathan Loop thanks community

I want to thank all of the voters who exercised their right to vote in the recent primary. It is the very foundation of our democracy. I am honored and humbled by the support I received during the process.

It is important that we have citizens step forward to run for local office and I encourage you to do so. It provides the voters a choice, which is the essence of good government.

Clyde Duke was overwhelmingly selected to continue his good work in keeping our fire department aligned with the 1999 mandate to improve our fire and emergency medical response. This is clear evidence that he is doing a great job, and I put my support behind him 100 percent in the general election in November.

I want to also thank Chief Harris, his staff, and especially the volunteers for the outstanding job they do and their dedication to providing the critical service that we all require.

Jonathan Loop

Orcas Island

Slow down and you won’t get pulled over

I am referencing the recent treatment some have said they received by our local law enforcement. Perhaps, if people took responsibility for the privilege to drive a vehicle by obeying the rules and laws of the road and paying attention like they should always be when behind the wheel, they wouldn’t have to worry about such incidents.

Erys Molina

Orcas Island

An update on Roger Weinel

It seems like there has been a lot of lives lost lately that are dear to our hearts. Unfortunately, all we can do is send prayers and love to the families.

We came very close to losing a long term islander, Roger Weinel. Roger suffered from a massive stroke a few weeks ago that left the right side of his entire body paralyzed. Some know Roger, but those who haven’t had a chance, should. Roger grew up here on Orcas. He was a star football player for the Vikings, graduated from OHS, and immediately went to Vietnam. He came back with high honors, medals, and a purple heart. He then worked for Sound Construction for as far back as we can remember!

Since the stroke, Beverly, Roger’s wife, and other family members have been waiting and praying for more improvement; however, it’s not enough to satisfy the insurance company. Because of that, the hospital is sending him home as early as next week.

They would really like to see him in a full-time nursing facility or to have a full-time nurse assisting Beverly at home. He will need physical therapy, speech therapy, someone to get him in and out of his wheelchair for baths. Everything we are capable of, he will need the help doing. The insurance company has a policy that if there is not improvement within a certain period of time, they won’t pay any of his medical necessities. If Beverly is at home caring for her husband, she can’t work. And then they can’t pay bills.

Island Hardware and Supply has generously built a wheelchair access ramp to their house, Jay Sayer is working on getting a handicap shower put in, and there has also been an account set up at Islanders’ Bank for donations. We are reaching out to this wonderful community to ask for assistance in whatever capacity you are able. Please help us in letting Roger and Beverly find a little peace of mind to focus on moving forward, not on how to keep up the impossible. Please contact Karen 376-2766 if you have questions or ideas. Prayers welcome.

Friends of Roger Weinel

Orcas Island

Thank you to Doe Bay Fest

Hats off to Joe and Maureen Brotherton who organized and executed an amazing Doe Bay Fest!

The management and staff were stellar as usual, and oh so helpful. The day was filled with amazing music. We at Orcas Montessori School were the grateful recipients of the beer garden proceeds from Doe Bay Fest ’09. Not only were we thrilled to once again be involved with Doe Bay Fest, but we’re so thankful for the support of our Montessori program. Hats off to everyone at Doe Bay for a fantastic event and we look forward to next year!

On behalf of the Board, staff, parents and children at Orcas Montessori School, I wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you for your wonderful contribution to Orcas Montessori School.

Cathy Faulkner

Board Member

Orcas Montessori School

Summer Reading Program a success

This year’s Summer Reading Program at Orcas Island Library was a busy one for the 124 young readers who participated. Over 200 paperback books were given out as prizes, and nine lucky kids won weekly drawings for a bag full of gifts and surprises. The program celebrated its grand finale with a lovely afternoon concert on Sunday, Aug. 23 with musician Hans Mayer. A big thank you to Hans Mayer and Carol Erickson for the gift of music and fun that they brought us.

These kinds of programs for our kids are made possible through the contributions of many community members. Please join me in giving a huge thank you to the following for their invaluable support of this program: The Friends of the Library for their generous financial support of the Summer Reading Program; Darvill’s and Teezers for donating gift certificates for the weekly gift bags; Jane Alden for helping to plan and implement the weekly activity programs; and, Chris and Lynn Thomerson for the loan of a sound system for our concert.

Thank you all.

Nita Couchman

Children’s Librarian

Orcas Island Library

Orcas quality of life at risk

Island population is now falling as the seniors who leave the island are not replaced and the economic backbone of the local economy – construction – closes down. Not only has new residential construction largely stopped but all construction is down sharply. Island inventory of houses for sale exceeds 160 with more becoming available as people leave.

Orcas is an absolutely unique community, which has been built by its residents. Private monies from retirees has built the island infrastructure and provide operating funding which greatly exceeds what island incomes could otherwise support. Unlike many communities where retirees vote against school tax levies, retirees not only vote to tax themselves for a richer educational experience for island children, but then go further and fund the retention of teachers who would otherwise be terminated because of insufficient tax revenues. We seniors are concerned about the future of island children to compete in a declining national economy. Look at the number and quality of public buildings funded by retirees, including Orcas Center and the Medical Center. Thanks to operational funding from retirees, Orcas families benefit from otherwise unaffordable services at Kaleidoscope, Children’s House, the Funhouse, Orcas Family Physicians, and children’s musical and acting opportunities productions at the Orcas Center. In return, the community supports the seniors by providing quick response EMT and fire services as well as casual labor which enable older seniors to remain in single family homes.

If we do not immediately work together as a community to attract the front end of the retiring baby boomers from primarily California and Houston to revive the construction industry, the island will be short of EMTs and firefighters. County taxes paid by islanders will rise sharply owing to shortfalls in sales taxes.

I urge the County Council and every organization’s board to consider this letter at their next meeting. Continuing to expect that realtors alone will somehow lure house and construction site buyers, restoring construction activities and stemming retiree and community population losses is simply wishful thinking in a world being ravaged by another Great Depression.

Hugh Hendrick

Orcas Island