Letters | Sept. 23 edition

Support county tax levy

On Nov. 3, 2009, we are asked by the County Council to vote on a tax levy, imposing a 12 cents per $1000 assessed valuation on our properties. The funds generated by this levy will address a number of services that were compromised because of budget cuts in 2009, and are projected to occur in 2010. I support this levy, and I am in particular support of restoring funds for public health services. As a pediatrician, now retired, I relied on the Public Health Dept. for their support of community health. Eliminating funds for vaccine programs is short-sighted and risks our youth.

Several years ago, there was a pertussis outbreak on Orcas, and thanks to the PHD, clinics were made available to diagnose, treat, and vaccinate individuals who were susceptible to that disease, many of whom had no health insurance. Fortunately, there were no deaths that occurred from that disease at that time. And now, when the CDC and Public Health Departments are warning us of the probability of an epidemic of H1N1 influenza this fall, the lack of funding will seriously compromise the ability of the health department to provide the services that will no doubt be needed.

Help us stay healthy, and vote yes for the levy.

Dale Heisinger, MD, FAAP

Orcas Island

What’s the deal with homecoming?

Granted, I have not been a full-time resident on Orcas for very long and I still may be adjusting to the “island way,” but someone needs to explain this one to me. The Orcas High School homecoming game is Oct. 24. That game will be the third consecutive home game in October. So where exactly is the team coming home from on the 24th?

Roger Curtiss

Deer Harbor

From poisoned water to a healthy ecosystem

On Sept.13, a standing room-only crowd watched Hedrick Smith’s Frontline documentary “Poisoned Waters” at Orcas Center. In this important documentary, Pulitzer Prize winner Smith told the story of how bacteria, contaminants and other toxins are impacting the health of Puget Sound, the Chesapeake Bay and our nation’s other major waterways. For many islanders, this was shocking news. After all, on its surface the ocean hasn’t changed in centuries. Below the surface, however, the recent change has been dramatic.

Often when people first learn that our beautiful waters are home to some of the most PCB-contaminated whales in the world and fish with liver tumors caused by toxins, or are missing once abundant species like Northern abalone or Western Grebes, they become overwhelmed and depressed. They think, how can anything they do make a difference?

In fact, the reality couldn’t be more different. The actions that each of us take individually will collectively make a difference. Creating a healthy ecosystem is not easy or we would have already done it. Fortunately, as described in a paper just published in the international journal EcoHealth, there are well accepted principles on what we all need to do. Learn the top ten principles for designing healthy ecosystems (www.seadocsociety.org) and be a part of the solution.

Joe Gaydos

Chief Scientist, the SeaDoc Society

Thanks for help with Day of Caring

Our United Way of San Juan County board wants to thank everyone who showed up to weed and clean Orcas Center, the Vitality Trail, and Senior Center gutters during the United Way Day of Caring on Sept. 12.

These caring folks included Holly Berman, Sally Buchanan, Jean Dickerson, Margie Doyle, Pierette Guimond, Roy Isaac, Jr., Aimee Johnson, Shelly and Ron Kinner, Pete Moe, Joyce Nigretto, Marta Nielson, Marian O’Brian, Joan Pedrick, Julie Pinardi, Margie Sabine, Damien Stark, Keith Whitaker, Kelsea Whitaker, and my fellow board members Carol Vincent-Hall and Jan Koltun Titus, as well as Mathew Chasanoff’s first-graders from Orcas School and David May’s middle schoolers from the Christian School, who couldn’t come on Saturday but who turned out the following Friday to do a beach cleanup – 20 bags! – at the Eastsound waterfront park.

Special thanks, too, to the Islands’ Sounder and Orcas Issues for their help with getting the word out.

Candace Bodenhamer

Day of Caring ’09 Chair

Barbara Bedell for fire commissioner

We have known Barbara Bedell for nine years and know her to be a gentle, strong, consumer-oriented person. She has experienced medical emergencies first hand. Marvin and I have also had serious medical emergencies this year, requiring more than one Air-Lift trip off the island. We live in Deer Harbor and are waiting for the new fire station. She is well suited to this position, after being president of our large homeowners association for eight years, and is currently serving as secretary of the Friends of the Library.

She is seeking state-of-the- art, strategically located emergency and fire services with the budget allowed. She is currently filling out a position on the fire commission and is aware and involved in the Deer Harbor Fire Station project. Barbara is firm to keep the project on budget. She believes that communication within the Fire Department, as well as communication with the public are important as well. She will serve this island with integrity, honesty, intelligence, and a smile. Barbara is the right person for the public and the commission.

Jean and Marvin Soderquist

Deer Harbor

Island Grown, Island Raised a success

Once again, our local community has reminded me of how fortunate we are to live on this blessed island.

Kaleidoscope held its 5th Annual Island Grown, Island Raised Dinner and Auction to raise funds for general operating expenses; in other words, just to keep our doors open. We exceeded our monetary goal, bringing in $16,000 and making this our most successful event … ever!

We had apprehensions about our success this year with the economy being what it is, and the evening being so full of other island events, but we pressed on. With the support of local businesses and amazing produce from Black Dog Farm, Maple Rock Farm, Morning Star Farm, La Campesina Project and finishing touches from Rob Kirby with Local Goods (a full list of contributors will follow in our upcoming newsletter), we enjoyed a lovely dinner and a great, entertaining auction. Lopez Island Vineyards was willing to share their talents and contribute from afar – well, not really that far. I saw many new faces this year as I looked out into the audience, along with returning supporters, and I thought about how one moment can touch so many. With the funds raised, the evening will help Kaleidoscope provide all-day childcare services for approximately 75 families this year, including before and after school care, story-book based preschool for 25 children, summer care for children 2 1/2 to 12 years old, nearly 15,000 meals, employment for six local community members, family support services for those in need and a safe haven where families can rest assured that their children are receiving affordable, high quality, consistent care. All that as a result of a few generous islanders gathering for an evening of great food, good friends and some well-deserved fun.

Thank you Orcas!

Amber Paulsen

Kaleidoscope Director

Orcas Island Library’s book selection committee in new phase

The Orcas Island Public Library’s Book Selection Committee has a long history dating all the way back to the early days of the Library, when volunteers did absolutely everything. In the twenty years since the formation of the library district, the committee has continued to play an important role in recommending books and other materials members felt would be strong additions to the Library’s collection. Also, the committee at times has helped with the difficult job of identifying books to discard, which as any book lover with a home library can attest can be an agonizing task.

The committee thrived with the enthusiasm and intellect of such core members such as Rachel Adams (the reliable chairperson in recent years), Ted Braun, Babette Stewart, Jan Wells, Alan Lichter, Gunther Eschenbrenner, Rosalie Chantiny, and Tom O’Brien.

Also, we have enjoyed the participation of a number of others when their schedules permitted, such as (during the past few years) Robert Herrup, Judith Miller, JoEllen Moldoff, Rachel Newcombe, Guy Peto, Roger Adams, Dottie Trogdon, John Greever, Bev Leyman, Grace Muse, Rena Patty, Dixie Walmsley, Ann Waltersdorph, and Gaye Williams.

Now we are in a time of transition. Laurie Mayhew Waage joined the committee last year and has offered to chair the group beginning this fall. Some of the existing members are looking forward to continuing their participation.

We have a new context for the committee in that our shelf space is growing ever tighter, which means that committee members are challenged even more now with adopting some portion of the collection and helping us to make it the best we can within limited space. The good news about that is our being able to refresh our holdings at the rate of more than 8% per year, which is well above the rate of most libraries. The challenge is that effective weeding will become even more important.

I invite anyone with a love of books, music, or movies, and who believes in the mission of your public library, to contact me if you’re interested in joining the Book Selection Committee. And if you are unable to meet at a regular time with the other members, talk with me about contributing by adopting a subject area or genre. You can reach me at 376-4985 or pheikkinen@orcaslibrary.org

Phil Heikkinen

Orcas Public Library Director