Town Hall turnout adds to success

I want to thank the Orcas Island Community for its participation and great support for Orcas Island Prevention Partnership’s Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking on March 31. We had a great turnout with over 75 community members – 20 of them teens. I feel fortunate to live in a community that cares so much about its youth and where youth are happy to come to the table and talk with adults about underage drinking. Our conversations were interesting, and I personally enjoyed myself and learned a lot. OIPP will be using the many ideas to support continued reductions in underage drinking and increase protective factors for our youth and community.

I especially want to thank the community members who acted as hosts at our sector tables: Pete Moe, Lance Evans, Keith Whitaker, Mik Presyz, Hilary Canty, Kiki Coe, Scott Harris and Linda Trethaway. Equally important to the success of the event were our skilled facilitators who helped to guide the conversations whom we also owe a big thanks: Diane Berreth, Janet Brownell who also acted as the MC for the night, Rosie Kuhn, Rena Patty, Liane Olsan, Mary Anne Owen, Suzanne Olson, and Leota Shaner.

At the end of the night, participants were delighted to receive door prizes which were graciously donated by the Orcas Center: two sets of tickets to “Beauty and the Beast,” two sets of tickets to the movies at Sea View Theater, and a newly published book “Self Empowerment 101” by Rosie Kuhn. A final thanks goes to the many OIPP members (you know who you are) who helped by scribing and organizing the event, and especially to April Duke who worked behind the scenes to provide our drinks and elegant desert.


I want to thank the lady that called me about the Border Patrol spots checks at the Anacortes ferry terminal, and very nicely advised me to “get used to it.” The more I learn about this issue the more that is becoming my catch phrase.

I had a meeting on the mainland last week with Agent Giuliano. He offered to come here for more town meetings. The County might schedule him on Orcas, May 6, and the Town Council is thinking about holding one. My main concern was the possible effect of the spot checks on our economy. First of all, the spot checks are not going to go away. “Ever,” according to Giuliano. They’re going to become less frequent, but there will always be periodic checks. I brought up the disruption to WSF operations. He said this subject would be discussed soon at a meeting with WSF and other state and federal officials.

I asked if they were going to conduct spot checks elsewhere because we were feeling picked on. He said they had conducted the spot checks three times on the Forks Rd. and that will continue. We were next because of the need here and the Anacortes Terminal facility was an easy set-up. But they will continue expanding these spot checks elsewhere.

I then explained how important tourism is to our economy and asked if there was any way to make the experience less intimidating? I said we’re worried about scaring away our visitors. I got a laugh by saying I didn’t expect them to dress up in clown costumes, but could they perhaps be a little less militaristic? He said he would consider that.

I was criticized by some after the 2/25 public meeting for asking Giuliano to “lighten up.” I was later surprised by how many positive comments I received. We may not be able to do much about stopping the spot checks, but we might be able to have them conducted in the least harmful way for our economy. On the way home from the meeting last week I wondered if they would give out door prizes if we provided them?

I just wanted to remind community members about a fun, but not very well known club on Orcas – Orcas Speaks Toastmasters. We meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 6 to 7:30 at the Orcas Senior Center. Our next two meetings are April 15 and May 6. What do we do? We improve our public speaking, presentation, facilitation, and leadership skills in a safe, lively, and laughter filled environment. I have never been shy about speaking up in a group, but have found myself often nervous and not very comfortable when I am doing a planned presentation – which is something I need to do in my work.

I have watched my own confidence grow in my ability to craft a speech and to speak spontaneously on a subject. The club provides numerous ways for a person to grow – by doing a prepared speech, providing supportive feedback regarding a speech, and participating in Table Topics. The unexpected benefit has been getting to know a new group of islanders and the mutual pride and delight we have all felt as we have grown in our abilities to craft and give a speech or speak spontaneously while thinking on our feet without so many Ums and Ahs.

Come check us out. Make new friends and develop a greater comfort in speaking in a variety of ways in front of a group.

The Orcas Historical Society should be ashamed of itself for refusing to publicly admit that “Orcas’ Favorite (bi)Son” was illegally excavated. Peat bogs are protected by state law; archeological sites by state and federal law. None of the information gained from this skull has been worth the destruction of an irreplaceable wetland and to honor the property owners for this destruction is profoundly wrong. I wish people would donate their money to organizations concerned with preserving our living history instead of a Bison Research Fund to investigate the long dead. We can learn far more about our local history without destroying our local ecology.

The Funhouse thanks Lori and Bob Breslauer for yet another fabulous event that benefited The Funhouse and Orcas Island’s kids! On April 6, the Breslauers hosted a sold-out sushi dinner fundraiser at their West Sound Café that featured the culinary mastery of guest chefs, Taichi and Kay Kitamura of Chiso restaurant (Seattle). Our gratitude also to the 60 guests who dined (and tipped so generously!) in support; Bill and Char Bawden of Judd Cove Shellfish who donated 16 dozen tasty oysters; and Outlook Inn for donating sake when fuel was running low! Special thanks also to musicians Gene Nery and Greg Books for setting the mood; Japanese language instructor, David Densmore; oyster shucker Lance Joyner; and Funhouse Board members and staff who served and waited tables that night.

All these generous contributions directly support The Funhouse’s mission of serving the urgent needs of young people by providing a safe and stimulating environment where they can learn, discover, create, socialize, and be heard.

On behalf of The Funhouse Board, staff, and all the children we serve, thank you!