Thank you for a wonderful Christmas Letters to the?editor

Editor’s note: The Sounder’s policy is to only run signed letters. We are making an exception with the following letter in order to protect the privacy of the children mentioned.

This letter goes out to the amazing and generous people of the Orcas Island community.

I am the single mother of two young children in this community. We moved here to start over after several hard years of struggle and pain. This year our names were on the giving tree and in amazement, I found boxes of food, gifts, stockings and even a tree arrive at my home from members of the community who support the efforts of many to enhance the quality of life for families in need.

The events that led up to Christmas morning were overwhelming beyond belief; it was as if by magic Christmas had appeared for my little family. I cried as I watched my two children laugh with uncontrollable excitement on Christmas morning as they ripped through the presents under our tree, totally unaware of how really special they were. The gifts that were given to us provided a “wish list” come to life.

To all who helped my family and the other families like mine on this special little rock I call home, I humbly thank you for your kindness and generous gift of Christmas love and magic. You gave me a gift that has changed my life and will change the childhood memories of two beautiful children.

A tearfully grateful neighbor


Thank you OPALCO

During our recent weeks of snowy and wintry weather, we were profoundly grateful and appreciative for all that has been done by our friends and neighbors at OPALCO and also the county road crews!

Stories from family in the Anacortes area, as well as Bellevue and Olympia, told of lengthy power outages. Because our wonderful power company had worked hard to bury lines and prune back trees from lines that remain above ground, we kept our electricity, and stayed warm and comfortable over the holidays. Also, because of the hard work of our road crews, we were able to get to town and go to the store, as well as get medications from the pharmacy.

Bravo, OPALCO and road crews! We appreciate your hard work so much!

Terry and Steve Hopkins


Thank you for covering OPALCO bill

To my unknown benefactor,

Imagine my surprise and delight to receive a letter from OPALCO telling me that I have been the recipient of a gift certificate that covered my bill in December!

I thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity – and haven’t a clue what I’ve done to be the recipient of such a lovely gift. Your generosity has prompted me to donate to other causes on the island, and I wish to thank you for keeping the spirit of giving alive.

What you did demonstrates the best of the holidays. I wish my anonymous angel a very, very happy new year!

Louise Carnachan


Kudos to Washington State Ferries

It was Monday, Dec. 22, and our plan was to travel by ferry to Sidney, B.C. and from there fly to Calgary, AB to celebrate Christmas with our son, daughter-in-law and the granddaughters. The ferry schedule called for a departure from Orcas at 8:40 a.m. So we got up at the crack of dawn, loaded the car and left our home on Tomihi Drive before 7 a.m.

At a particularly tricky spot on Tomihi Drive, we got stuck in the snow and there was no way out, so we rattled a friend and neighbor out of bed. He came to pull us out of the mess after first breaking the towing rope.

Then we were on our way. We called the Orcas Ferry Terminal on the mobile phone. Bill Hume was on duty and advised that a Washington State ferry can wait only in a medical emergency. We hurried as much as road conditions allowed.

When we arrived at the Orcas dock, the ferry had just arrived. While Bill loaded other vehicles, he motioned for us to go into his office, where we needed to sign a piece of paper and pay a small fee, then hurry back to our car and drive on board. By that time, it was five minutes past the scheduled sailing time. As soon as we were on board, the ferry undocked and was on her way west. It was really nip and tuck!

We don’t know what magic words Bill Hume spoke to get the captain to wait for us, and we don’t know the captain’s name so we could thank him personally for his magnificent act of compassion, allowing us to be late and still load.

Thank you captain! Thank you Bill Hume! We do so appreciate your assistance on the snowy day. Thank you Gary for the tow and Marcus for the moral support and encouragement. Thanks to all of you, we made it to our flight in Sydney on time, and the family in Calgary joins us in our expression of appreciation for Washington State Ferries.

A happy New Year to you all!

Rolf and Ruth Nedelmann


Thanks for making wreath sale a success

All of us at Orcas Montessori Pre-School would like to start 2009 by giving thanks. Thanks to everyone for their support in making our 14th Annual Holiday Wreath Sale a huge success. We greatly enjoy the opportunity to help provide your holiday decoration and gift needs. The island looked beautifully festive!

Special thanks to Island Hardware for their help in getting the wreaths on island, to Orcas Village Store and Deer Harbor Marina for serving as our retail locations, and to Aeronautical Services for their help in providing smooth and efficient wreath shipments. Many thanks also go to our many parents who donated their valuable time and resources to make the wreath sale possible. The funds raised are vital to our annual school program.

Thanks again – we couldn’t do it without you and look forward to doing it again next year. In the meantime, save the date for Saturday, March 14, 2009. Orcas Montessori will be asking you to “go green” at our St Patrick’s Auction. More details to come.

Cathy Faulkner

OMS Board Member

Wreath Lady

DVSAS story was misleading

How disappointing to see our local paper sensationalize a tragedy like domestic violence (Dec. 31, pg. A3).

To headline a national statistic (rather than local), to focus on the negativity of victimization (rather than the healthy behaviors, circumstances and mindsets that can prevent it), and to intimate that violence is only “perpetrated” by men is misleading and/or inaccurate journalism, regrettably beneath our standards. As the article says, “Verbal abuse can often lead to physical abuse.”

We all need to take responsibility — the abusers, the abused, and those who do nothing. Until we cease our victim mentality, we maintain the phenomenon of victimhood.

Don’t get me wrong — I recognize the need for people in crisis situations to receive intervention and support. When someone does not know where else to turn, having a hotline, emergency assistance, and advocacy group can be invaluable, sometimes even life-saving. But I caution against absolutist thinking.

If a person feels the need to exert “power and control” over another (what the executive director of DVSAS identifies as “the main cause of domestic violence”), that person’s need is likely the tragic result of their feeling powerless and out of control. Instead of shunning and branding them with labels like “terrorist,” let’s find ways to help them not feel so desperate. The DVSAS might make a bigger “difference in the lives of victims and potential victims” by finding ways to give hope, by offering understanding, support and compassion to those they have labeled “the perpetrators.”

Years ago, my friend Gail Brooks (who lived and died a supporter of the DVSAS) and I considered the question, “Might there possibly be a subliminal message in the title Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Services that unfortunately intimates the exact opposite from its intention?“

Let’s consider what “services” we wish to provide and be sure that is the true focus. Rather than fighting violence with a Coalition Against Sexual Assault, let’s declare what we are for and support a Coalition for Peace, Respect, and Compassion.

Suzan Chamberlayne