Letters to the editor Orcas Center volunteers feted Philanthropists’ remarks praised

From under my Orcas Center Volunteer Coordinator hat, I applaud and thank the Center’s Board of Trustees for the wonderful gift they gave all the Center’s active volunteers, last Wednesday night. Reversing the usual roles, the black-tied trustees served us volunteers an astoundingly luxurious and incredibly delicious dinner, replete with four courses and two wines, silver utensils, and white napery. Two of the trustees entertained us with music and song, and the speechmaking, which came only at the end, was mercifully short. There is lots of reward in doing volunteer work, but this dinner took the cake—and then delivered it to our tables for dessert, with créme anglaise and a slice of pear. Thank you, trustees!

From under my Orcas Center Volunteer Coordinator hat, I applaud and thank the Center’s Board of Trustees for the wonderful gift they gave all the Center’s active volunteers, last Wednesday night. Reversing the usual roles, the black-tied trustees served us volunteers an astoundingly luxurious and incredibly delicious dinner, replete with four courses and two wines, silver utensils, and white napery. Two of the trustees entertained us with music and song, and the speechmaking, which came only at the end, was mercifully short. There is lots of reward in doing volunteer work, but this dinner took the cake—and then delivered it to our tables for dessert, with créme anglaise and a slice of pear. Thank you, trustees!

We write jointly from across the country to commend Molly Herzog for her wonderfully articulate and accurate tribute to Rachel Adams and Marilyn Anderson. By their example, they amaze and inspire not only by their generous contributions to the community, but also through their constant, steady friendship. We are fortunate to have Rachel and Marilyn in our lives, as are all Orcas Islanders.

Beaufort, South Carolina

Generosity of fire fighters, EMTs and


The Gudgell family is grateful once again. We recall in 1970, when the family home burnt to the ground. The outpouring of help from our island friends was phenomenal.

Last week, we got a call that there was a fire on Crow Valley Road at the base of our Turtleback Mountain farm. We rushed home to find an extraordinary fire crew getting the blaze under control. Watching their efforts over the next 24+ hours was inspiring.

All of us experience times of hardship. Despite our sense of independence, island lives are closely intertwined, and it is both humbling and heartwarming to experience the generosity of neighbors when in need. All’s well that ends well because of the firefighters battling the blaze, the Auxiliary providing sustenance for them, EMT’s monitoring their well-being, and our neighbors and friends pitching in to check the situation and offer help. A tough situation became a great affirmation that Orcas is an extraordinary place to call “home.”


West Sound

Kayl teamwork praised

Campaigns introduce us to candidates but they don’t reveal it all. Few people know about Mindy Kayl’s early career on board a research vessel. Anyone who’s worked in a team setting knows it requires a honed combination of personal strength and ability to adjust, adapt, carry the task forward.

Mindy did this work not just for a tour or two. She proved her strength and abilities to be successful in a team setting for eight long years at sea.

County government is somewhat at sea right now. Mindy Kayl has the qualities it takes to function well on our county council, to know when to push and when to negotiate. She has been a local resident and land owner long enough to possess a strong sense of our county potentials, to understand how to use our governmental resources to affect the modifications current demands require. Her bottom line considerations are based in a sound awareness of human and environmental assets.

With these attributes and insights she can juggle the pressures of growth while preserving what we all love most about San Juan County and its residents.

I’m asking residents of Orcas West (voting district 4) to cast their vote for Mindy Kayl.



Fralick focused on the budget

Budget challenges are a pressing reality for our county. As we consider the various issues that impact our island life, we must acknowledge that a balanced budget is at the core of a healthy, functional county government.

As expenditures continue to escalate, Richard Fralick recognizes “…that the number one activity of the County Council is balancing the budget. This requires careful examination of costs and revenues, establishing priorities, setting of realistic policies and making the necessary cuts…” to achieve the required budget integrity.

We expect our Council members to have the experience and expertise necessary to work to this end. My association with Richard Fralick as a fellow school board member, allows me to emphatically support his candidacy. His leadership as chairman of the board at that time, led us to identify budget practices which were heading into deficits and to make the correction which provided a balanced, healthy financial basis for our public school. It is rare to have this expertise available and willing to once again work with the sole motive of “making a positive difference.” I personally thank him for his past service to the community and his present willingness to work for us as a Council member.




franchise on Orcas

A Company from Virginia wants to take millions of gallons of water from the heart of designated Agricultural Resource Lands to develop waterfront properties in San Juan County. They have applied for a “franchise” to lay a pipeline in the “Public Right of Way” (50’) in order to convey 14,440 gallons of water per day and pipe it 3.4 miles along Dolphin Bay Road to develop 100 acres of R-5 waterfront on Orcas Island. This water line and its franchise owners will be taking water from an agricultural well in a Class III wetland on McNallie Lane. I do hope the County Council will hear from folks concerned about the precedent it is setting. Our inland freshwater supplies ought not to be used for the latest waterfront development scheme.

A hearing on Sept, 29 at the Orcas Senior Center at 10:40 a.m. will allow the public to provide testimony/submit written comments regarding this “Franchise” application. Anyone can attend, comments may be submitted in advance of the hearing by mail/email. Email comments should be sent to AnnL@co.san-juan.wa.us Contact the County Council at 360-378-2898 or Public Works 360-370-0500.

There is a simultaneous application to the Washington State Department of Ecology to “appropriate public waters” from this small Crow Valley well at “10 gallons per minute each year for multiple domestic supply.” Such a request is reckless. This freshwater supply is likely hydrologically connected and may have an adverse impact on the West Sound watershed. To object you must send a detailed statement and a $50 check or money order for the recording fee. It needs to be filed with the Dept of Ecology by Oct. 10, 2008.

The application to appropriate public waters in order to sell it and develop land miles away would alter our small island hydrology, to what extent no one knows, as there is no data. This appropriation would “use, divert, and change the natural flow and bed of the freshwaters of the state.” Please write and call your representatives to help stop this and other speculation projects that appear to be environmental and cultural trouble.

Conservation District Planner


Process for Fire Asst. Chief flawed

The salient matter which neither Mr. Scheib nor Ms. Giasullo addressed in the Sounder’s pages of Sept. 10 is the failure and/or refusal of the fire commissioners to conduct a thorough and impartial public examination of the paramedics’ staffing proposal, especially vis-a-vis other staffing models.

While Mr. Harris has presented the board with a position paper supportive of the proposal, it appears to have been accepted without comment or discussion, a particularly perplexing and troubling (in)action given that the statement, in my estimation, is replete with errors in reasoning that result in a document that falls far short of a compelling argument favoring the proposal.

Quite some weeks ago Commissioner Coffin claimed he had performed research regarding the matter but chose not to present it at that time. To date this information has yet to be shared, which leaves one to question the point, to say nothing of the value, of such “research.” That there have been several executive (closed) sessions of the board with the paramedics, apparently to discuss contract terms, would suggest their staffing model was accepted as a fait accompli by the commissioners upon its presentation.

All of the foregoing is indicative of seriously flawed procedure in regard to the (lack of) deliberations concerning the merits of the staffing model, and faulty decision-making more likely than not results in faulty decisions, something none of us would care to see, especially in regard to the significant far-reaching long-term consequences of this particular action.


Volunteer Appreciation Dinner a


On the night of Sept. 17, 2008, as I did my part as Server at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Orcas Center, I felt that special magic that makes Orcas Island so special.

As President of the Board of Trustees, I felt the overwhelming pride that comes with accomplishment and with the amazing accomplishments that are achieved entirely by volunteer energy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers — those who were present and those not able to attend — your gift of time is truly precious.

I would like to congratulate our volunteer Board of Trustees for a job well done. The teamwork was amazing.

Many thanks to volunteer Board Spouses: Ken Wayland (group photographer and event historian), Robert Verhasselt (bartender), Betsy Louton, Leslie Murdock (servers), Jim Foote (kitchen helper and everything else man), and Richard Fralick (menu creator and chef extraordinaire).

Special thanks to volunteer Board Friends who added to the elegance: Ann Griot (the beautiful flowers came from her garden), Peggy Hoyle (created the gorgeous table centers and arranged the flowers), Kate Adams (provided the dishes and glasses) and Louellen McCoy (played piano wonderfully).

Last but not least, thank you very much Richard and Nanae Fralick, sponsors of the event, newly created Board-Volunteer Liaison Officer Magdalena Verhasselt who along with Nanae Fralick planned and organized the details for the dinner and, of course, the staff of Orcas Center who helped in every way possible.

Bravo and thanks to all our volunteers, past, present and future!

Outgoing Orcas Center Board President


Incident Narrative

On Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7:15 p.m., Orcas Island Fire Department responded to a reported Kitchen Fire on the North Shore.

Several volunteers and Eastsound Engine 21 with 3 firefighters responded to the alarm with Lt. Paul Turner arriving on scene at 7:18 p.m.to find that the fire had been extinguished prior to our arrival and only found smoke in the residence.

Now it’s not remarkable that the fire was out upon our arrival. Several quick thinking citizens have accomplished this feat before. What is remarkable is HOW and WHO put the fire out.

Around 7:12 p.m., a young lady had the unfortunate incident of a sudden grease fire in the frying pan she was using to cook dinner. Thinking quickly, she called 911, gave them the information needed, then grabbed a box of baking soda and successfully extinguished the fire. She saved further damage to the kitchen and home, without the use of a fire extinguisher.

The remarkable part about this event is the fact that Sorel Hughes is a 13-year-old middle school student who had the calm and intelligent thought process that very few adults are able to call upon in a crisis. Sorel averted a very serious loss of property and possible injury.

I am writing this narrative so I can publicly commend her for bravery and discipline in a very true emergency. I would also like to acknowledge that having Fire Prevention courses taught in the schools does make a difference.

Thank you Sorel, for taking the time to listen and learn in school, and Maxx Jones for taking the time and effort to put together these invaluable courses.

Submitted with admiration and appreciation.


Orcas Island Fire Department


Eco-village for Rosario

Our Dearest Community:

You are invited to consider an opportunity to re-vision the Rosario Resort. Independent groups have met over the years to discuss developing Learning Design Skill Centers on the island. As evolving models of life long learning, such centers can become self-sustainable through tuition, mentor/apprenticeship programs, special events, organic farming and on-site whole foods preparation. A common theme in our discussion groups is the desire to secure a future for life skills and cottage industries, within the k-12 public education curriculum and beyond. Through internships, green building, and retreat residencies, our community can become more involved in structuring traditional educational models into family centered learning and occupational design.

The discussions continue with some urgency over the upcoming auction of the Rosario complex. The experience and skills necessary for creating a more integrated vision of Rosario’s future already exists within our community. It is a perfect time for the various groups to come together for a long-term economic and sustainable adventure. Now is a time of action.

What would such an eco-village look like? That is entirely up to us, the community, to create. This is an opportunity to improve educational and wellness options, for all ages, and to do so in a way that preserves the cultural value of the site itself.

The consensus is that we want to expand employment opportunities, and to offer year round access, housing, and programs. Communications with distance learning universities is also underway, so that a potential satellite campus for higher learning is possible in the near future.

Immediate needs: Funding to enter the bid process. Funding to purchase. Form an advisory committee dedicated to the project. Collaborations for receiving funding which benefits other related nonprofits locally.

The perpetual legacy this represents on both the local and global systems of educational design is in perfect harmony with a long held vision for our community of islands.

To learn what is needed for purchase, visit: www.tranzon.com.

Please contact: Morgan Leaf Meadows acting Liaison, Vision Accomplished: PH 360-376-9213, joyfulmorgan@mac.com.

Vision Accomplished


collaboration smashing


Over 170 people attended the Transportation Summit held at the Fairgrounds on Sept. 17. By all reports the Summit achieved its objective of starting the collaborations needed to further transportation initiatives in San Juan County.

Volunteers were the heart of that success. Anji Ringzin, Volunteer Coordinator, helped organize over 30 table hosts who started and facilitated the conversations. Other county citizens presented at sessions, kept session summaries, videotaped, handled registration, provided graphic recording, and helped with set-up and clean-up.

Volunteers from Orcas Island included: Kathi Ciskowski, Margot Shaw, Morgan Meadows, Phil Heikkinen, Mindy Kayl, Jill Blankenship, Joyce Rupp, Barbara Evans, Cathy Faulkner, Gretchen Krampf, Owen Cheevers, Gary Bense, Jessica Bense, Ed and Amy Masters, Gary Turner, Kevin Dickey, and Robert Austin.

San Juan Island volunteers included: Scott Webster, Libbey Oswald, Charlie Meyer, Tom Ashcraft, Brent Snow, Tom Munsey, Lynne Hobbs, Floyd Bourne, Lee Sturdivant, Carrie Brooks, Edie DeChadenedes, Lisa Mollica, Darren Obrien, Dan Ward, Alison Longley, Andrew Seltzer, Don Jarrell, Susan Dehlendorf, Leslie Veirs, Rachel Dietzman, Helen Venada, Diana Mancel, Pat McKay, Kyle Loring, Anita Barreca, Amy Windrope, Debbie Pigman, Lori Stokes, Janna Gingras, Jana Meredith-Sodimu, Floyd Bourne, John L. Weins, Cynthia Stark-Wickman, and Louise Dustrude. Lopez and Shaw Island volunteers included Becky Hellman, Jay Brandt, John Whetten, and Stephanie Buffum-Field.

Many thanks to all of these people who contributed so much time and were willing to be part of the solution.

The Transportation Summit Planning Committee