Letters to the?editor Accident victims thank community World-class emergency medical care

Our thanks to the many fine citizens of Orcas who assisted us following the serious car accident on Friday, Sept. 19.

Our thanks to the many fine citizens of Orcas who assisted us following the serious car accident on Friday, Sept. 19.

We were very impressed by the kindness and support provided by the women drivers and male cyclist who stopped immediately following the accident to assist us and the other driver.

Firefighter Ian Wareham and Deputy Doug Maya arrived on the scene quickly, and several other emergency personnel were very attentive.

Special thanks to Uzek Susol of Orcas Towing, whose expertise was evident to us from the moment he appeared.

We also wish to acknowledge Dan Dohner and his staff at Rosario’s who helped us with the necessary arrangements to leave the island and get us back home.

While our vacation turned out to be very different than what we had planned, we will not forget the people of your community.

Palo Alto, Calif.

Buy hybrids

with bailout

Now here’s a chilling possibility – seven hundred billion dollars could buy twenty eight million additional Prius hybrid cars. Brrrrr!



Fralick for broader cell phone service

Richard Fralick and his wife Nanae are my neighbors. I know Richard to be intelligent, industrious as well as a business man. He has lived on Orcas Island for a number of years.

The county is very much in need of an ordinance permitting broader cell phone coverage. Richard, in his campaign to be elected County Councilman, has as one of his platforms the accomplishment of this more dependable service. Most people and all important agencies in the county, such as Sherriff Cumming, the Fire chiefs and OPALCO, would very much like to see this improvement in cell phone coverage happen.

Please join me in voting for this highly capable candidate, Richard Fralick.

Deer Harbor

Fralick’s diversity of experience

Richard Fralick brings an extraordinarily broad and diverse experience base to San Juan County, which is why I am supporting his candidacy for County Council. With a PhD in Physics, an earlier career in cutting edge integrated circuits and mass spectrometry, additional work locally in marine research, a teaching position in advanced placement physics at Orcas High School, an owner/operator of a local cottage lodging business, a member and ultimately leader of various Orcas community boards (School District, Medical Center, Fire Department, and the Orcas Village Water System), and, finally an early proponent and leader of the County Board of Freeholders, which created our new and improved form of government, he brings to the position of Council member life experiences that are rarely found in any one individual.

Throughout his life, as particularly demonstrated with his work in our community over the past 27 years, he has applied that experience to our benefit. He is a consensus builder, an effective negotiator, and someone who listens to all points of view. He has also shown himself to be one who does not say things or make decisions for political expediency but rather for the benefit of the entire community. We can count on him to deal with the myriad of issues facing the county in a thoughtful and sound manner.


Kayl understands county government

I first met Mindy Kayl as one of the 21 Freeholders charged with writing the SJC Charter. That group could have been divided into three groups: The usual bossy loudmouths, those with an understanding of the problems, and the others – “the bumps on a log.”

Mindy definitely had an understanding of the problems facing SJC and the importance of curbing political inequality and authoritarianism in county government – just what the Charter was intended to address. She did an exemplary job as chair of the Logistics Committee as well, which was no easy task.

Mindy is a “freeholder” in the original sense as well. Her roots are in the soil of Orcas Island, not in real estate speculation. She understands the importance of encouraging the long term use-value of Orcas as opposed to the promotion of ephemeral exchange-value. Her background in ecology, her knowledge of the law, and her respect for the law makes her perfectly suited to represent Orcas residents on the County Council.

Lopez Island

A vote for Kayl is a statement

of principles

What dominates our national landscape currently can leave me feeling pretty powerless: economic collapse, home mortgage crisis, peak oil, sprawl, soaring food prices, climate change, and that damn war!

And after a day of running errands and appointments on the mainland, I find myself deeply grateful to return to Orcas and call this island my home. There are rare qualities to Orcas that sustain my family here and give me hope for the future. We have a supportive local economy, affordable housing, fertile agricultural lands, eclectic citizens, a caring community and a natural legacy to uphold. It is in the spirit of these virtues that I will be voting for Mindy Kayl as county councilperson for Orcas West.

I know Mindy to be a creative problem solver who recognizes these community virtues as our strength, and sees challenges as an opportunity. Mindy comes from a background of environmental research, education, and advocacy, and has collaborated with diverse groups of people to solve problems. Her ability to work hard and live an authentic life is reflected in her choice to purchase, steward and farm land on Orcas.

This farmer has a unique insight into land/water use issues, a deep connection to place, and a commitment to people. A perfect example of these values harmonizing is her initiation of the Farm-to-Table program for seniors.

Kayl has been active in county issues and planning. Serving on the Board of Freeholders in 2004, Mindy collaborated in developing our new form of county government. Soon after, Kayl joined the Eastsound Planning and Review Committee, of which she currently serves as chair. As a member of that committee, she has gained a valuable insight into balancing smart growth and environmental impact.

In seemingly powerless times, our vote is a powerful statement of our principles. Join me in voting for Kayl in November and we will gain an accessible representative, committed to our island culture, envisioning a sustainable future for Orcas.

Christopher Evans


Husband’s views


When I returned with my retired career military husband to my home state of Washington after being away since my teen years, I’d no idea how hostile those of different political opinions than his had become.

How do I explain to him, who fought for this nation, how and why folks think nothing of sneaking in the night (eight times) to tear into pieces the signs he puts up to support the Republican candidates of his choice – this time breaking fence posts to do so? Are they not aware this is classified as a misdemeanor – a fineable offense? Stated rather more personally and simply – it is also deeply disappointing to this Army wife and mom, and the sister of two Marines.

What kind of people find vandalism of this sort amusing? What kind of folks raised them? Or taught them? I find them as offensive as those who placed the swastikas on the veterans’ graves to greet the vets and their wives who came to honor their sacrifice on Memorial Day. Vandals such as these prove their indifference to and ignorance of the cost of their liberty and who paid it. They strike at the very basis of what has made our nation so fine. It hurts.


Do something about timber


Regarding the unpermitted clear cut featured on the front page in last week’s Sounder: unscrupulous contractors are devastating these islands. Write or email Randy Gaylord and the county council and tell them it’s time to act!

Tell them this clear-cut to the forest bordering the park is a well-documented, egregious situation suitable to be used as an example of a new county stance of intolerance.

Take the tool of “retro-permits” away from the perpetrators and replace it with high fines. There are contractors who intentionally ignore permitting. Grant special permits if time is a legitimate factor. Grant them before the fact to be sure the lay of the land is suitable for the activity. Do not let them say “oops, sorry, can I have a retro-permit now?” Show the people have spoken and are telling the government to stop allowing the plunder of the “good old boys.”

We support our government and entrust them with protecting us and our homes. It is not doing that. Due to this clear-cut the following situation exists. It could have been yours. Threat of erosion caused by the clear-cut may seriously compromise the only road servicing several homes. The eyesore of land that has been decimated has dropped property values. The emotional toll of understanding these things coupled with the daily visual impact is sickening.

The remediation of this clear-cut will cost many tens of thousands of dollars when the geo tech company, civil engineers, and reforestation people are paid. I won’t live long enough to see the return of my property value or the reforestation mature. The county’s lack of enforcement could make this a common story for many of you.

If you want to support the effort to end this behavior, send county officials this letter with your signature and say “please act on this” to Randy Gaylord, PO Box 760. Friday Harbor WA 98250, or County Council Members, County Courthouse, 350 Court St. #1, Friday Harbor, WA 982250.

And/or drop by the Trading Co. to add your signature to the list of concerned citizens.


Water franchise opposed

I strongly oppose the granting of a franchise along the public right-of-way that will transfer water from an agricultural and wetland area in the Crow Valley of Orcas Island to an area that is undeveloped due to insufficient surface or ground water.

This transfer would sacrifice agricultural land and its essential water resource to low-density rural development. The Agricultural Resources Committee has recommended that San Juan County adopt a “no net loss of farmland” policy that would encourage local and sustainable production of food for our island communities.

The preservation of farmland and farmland resources also saves revenue for the county. In 2002 the American Farmland Trust and the Friends of the San Juans completed “The Cost of Community Services.” This study shows major imbalances among land use types between the revenues received and the costs of public services provided. The major finding was that for every $1 of revenue generated by residential property in San Juan County in Fiscal Year 2001, an average of $1.32 was spent providing public services to the property and its residents. In contrast, for every $1 of farm and open space tax revenue received, only $0.38 of public services were provided, while for commercial property the ratio was $1 of revenue for a mere $0.30 in services.

While residential development contributes the largest amount of revenue to the county and its school districts, its net fiscal impact is actually negative.

In a time of declining county revenues, it is unsound policy to promote rural residential development by the granting of this franchise.

Deer Harbor

Advice for complying with the law

Your editorial last week claimed citizens, builders and developers are thumbing their noses at county regulations and that stiffer penalties and rigorous enforcement is needed.

The county staff is trying hard, but continues to face ongoing internal issues and management problems. That said, professional contractors would rather deal with the delays and the vagueness of complying with the rules to the stress of trying to fly under the radar. Professional contractors cannot afford “stop work orders” and “red tags” and still keep their jobs moving forward in an efficient manner. Generally, contractors will “go with the flow” no matter what the “situation of the day” is with the county personnel they have to deal with. Anyone who has ever had to cope with a hostile work environment will understand.

The problem looms larger for the citizen who does not deal with the county on a routine basis. That citizen’s first challenge is to figure out what the rules are … no easy task. The rules seem to be written, changed and reinterpreted faster than they can be read. To their credit, most citizens will try to be good scouts and follow the process even when a system appears inefficient, expensive and moves slow as molasses.

In terms of advice for any citizen, professional or otherwise, who wants to be absolutely sure they are not breaking any rules … ask the county’s permission from the Community Permitting and Planning Department (CDPD) before doing anything if the task involves any tools; especially an excavator, tractor, chain saw or tools normally used by a carpenter, electrician or plumber.

The recent experience of one poor citizen is that even if you have the CDPD’s written approval and permits in hand, double-check with the Prosecuting Attorney. He may decide to intercede and overrule the approvals given by CDPD.

Finally, get it in writing! Documentation will be essential if the county’s Cuba-style anonymous complaint-driven enforcement system with citation authority comes to pass. That system would declare you guilty unless you have the money to go to court to defend yourself.

Executive Director

San Juan Builders Association

Writers Festival a huge success

The post-Labor Day days of Sept. 4 through 7 brought not wet weather, but a rain of words to Camp Moran. The Orcas Island Writers Festival gathered islanders, off-islanders, teachers, writers and readers together to celebrate the craft of writing. Festival Director, Barbara Lewis, and her steering committee members wish to thank everyone who joined hands with us to take the festival on its journey and bring it to its wonderfully successful closure. We had the gift of good weather, the fortune of enthusiastic attendees, and the talent of accomplished poets, authors, readers and performers.

We wish to thank our Orcas Community for your leap of faith and your support. A big shout out to all who attended; without you nothing would have happened. We wish to extend huge thanks to Orcas Island Library for extending their partnership. We are indebted to the Orcas Island Community Foundation for the grant we received. We are grateful for the huge gift from Camp Moran of the use of their beautiful retreat facility. Special thanks to Darvill’s for their support, to the Office Cupboard for their patience and help, to Michael Gerard Mele for the donation of his fabulous, touching photography for our website, and to Barbara Evans for the donation of artwork for our first logo. Thanks go out to Bill Patterson, Patterson Catering, for going beyond the “box lunch”! A big thank you also to the Fun House for the use of their sound system and Kyle Hall of Orcas Speaks Toastmasters for his digital projection system. To our incredible team of volunteers, we thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts.

We’re glad we did it!

I recently had a serious cardiac event while staying at our home on Orcas Island. I developed severe chest pain, sweating, nausea, etc. I called Dave Shinstrom, MD, who told me to meet him at his office in 10 minutes. He did an EKG, looked me over and called 911. Within minutes, his office was teeming with EMTs, who then took over from Dr. Shinstrom. They were all very calm and supremely professional.

Val expertly started an IV and gave me some medications. Chris and others, whose names I can’t recall (I was pretty scared and was sure I was going to die), helped get me on a stretcher, and took me to the airport. In almost no time at all, I was having my very first helicopter ride. We got to St. Joseph’s Hospital in about eight minutes. I got to St. Joe’s a hell of a lot faster up there than I would have in Portland, the “Big City.” By ambulance, it would have taken at least 20 minutes to get to St. Vincent’s, the nearest hospital.

I then had an emergency cardiac catherization, with a stent placed. Fortunately, no heart attack, or myocardial infarction (in medical terms), had occurred, likely because of the rapid response of the EMT team (and it probably didn’t hurt that I was in pretty good physical condition).

While I was mostly (as I’ve said) in a lot of pain and was terrified, another part of me, probably from my medical training, was sort of standing apart and observing all this, thinking “Wow! These guys are really world class!” And so, I’m writing this to let the citizens of Orcas know, if they don’t already, that they should be very proud of what we have here, and that they should feel comforted that such top quality medical professionals are available on this Island. Dr. Shinstrom: Thank you! Val and Chris and the other fine EMTs who helped me: Thank you!


and Portland, Ore.

Chamber deals with burglaries

It’s been said that “timing is everything.” The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce believes it to be so. The Chamber’s monthly Business Essentials series of seminars and workshops recently presented a morning session with Joe Cohen, discussing the steps everyone should be taking now to prepare for retirement. Given the current financial situation, the timing couldn’t have been better. The Chamber owes a big ‘thank you’ to Cohen for his presentation.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, at 8 a.m. the Chamber will present another Business Essentials offering, this time dealing with the recent spate of burglaries and break-ins on Orcas Island. Sheriff Deputy Steve Vierthaler will recap progress made in the investigation, and offer suggestions on ways we can all safeguard our businesses and homes against this criminal activity.

Business Essentials is offered as a benefit of Chamber membership, but we invite anyone interested in attending to contact the Chamber at 376-2273 or info@orcasislandchamber.com.

Executive Director

Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce