Trail defenders miss point

The recent spate of letters about the bicycle trail carved into Moran Park misses the most important point of all. It’s an issue of responsibility and appropriate civic behavior.

The park is a public resource used by all of us. If one specific group of users wishes to alter any part of the park for its particular use, the concept of civic responsibility requires that the approval of the rest of us must first be obtained.

In the case of the bicycle trail, this was not done. The bicyclists in question arrogantly assumed that their own recreational needs trumped those of the other users of the park, and they built their trail without consulting anybody. This is typical of the self-centered excesses of the so-called “Me Generation,” and it is unacceptable.

The bicyclists need a trail, and such a trail is a legitimate public use of our park, but they can’t have one until they get permission for it from the rest of us who use Moran Park.

Steve Henigson


Contact Governor re schools

As a community, we have a strong record of support for our public schools. We volunteer time, donate money, and vote to pass both levies and bonds. As a result, the staff and administration have built an effective program and our schools are recognized as top performers throughout the state. Clearly, the extra effort we have put in has paid off. The school has earned our continuing support and we need to vote “yes” on the upcoming Levy ballot.

But we should not stop there. We also need to let the Governor Gregoire know that state funding is woefully inadequate and, at the Federal level, unfunded mandates, such as No Child Left Behind, are placing an undue burden upon local districts.

Yes, set the bar high for public education, but make sure funding is prioritized to match. In our state, we have a budget surplus. Where can we make a better investment for the future than the education of our children, especially as we face rocky economic times. The health of our future depends on preparing this generation as best as we can. I hope you will join me in my support of our children and schools.

Please vote “yes” for the Levy and then write a letter, or call the Capital to voice your concerns.

Hilary Canty


2008 primary vote

The Democratic presidential nominee will be decided by the Caucus votes – not by the primary votes – in Washington state. So it’s important that all Democrats who want their vote…their choice for President to count. Attend the Democratic Caucus on Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. at the Orcas School cafeteria.

The Parties [Democratic, Republican et others] have the right to choose whether they’ll use the caucuses or the primaries to pick their candidates.

Republicans in Washington have decided to use both primary and caucus votes 50/50.

Democrats will survey the primary votes – but decide their delegates by the caucuses. So – for both/all Parties – it’s important voters go to their respective caucuses.

Lorinda Roland


Protect by vaccination

Having just returned from a 14-day cruise, I read with great interest several articles in the Sounder regarding Pertussis/Whooping Cough. During our cruise, we were given sanitizing hand wipes at every turn on the ship and when returning to the ship from shore. We were encouraged daily – both in writing and via announcements – how important hand washing and using wipes are to minimize chances of contagious disease.

I was reminded of the great number of people over the course of history that died when explorers from other lands introduced new germs to the peoples they visited. Thousands died because they had no immunity to these diseases. How fortunate we are to be able to immunize against these diseases that seem so rare and mild by today’s standards. But, as we have learned, they are deadly to those unprotected by the simple means of vaccination. Yes, there are risks to everything, but the benefits of inoculation far outweigh the risks to the few who are adversely affected. Please give thought to the seriousness of this decision to inoculate or not. P.S. Prior to our trip, I received a DPT (diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus shot) and have returned in good health.

Diane Baxter


Support kids, vote for levy

I write in support of the school levy lift that is soon coming up for a vote, and to ask all residents of Orcas Island to join in supporting our public schools through a positive vote. We live on a uniquely beautiful island in a warm and loving community that expresses its care for our friends and neighbors in many wonderful ways, and we simply cannot fail to support our children. If you’re looking for one no-brainer this year, this is it – vote FOR the levy lift. Thank you.

Tom Welch


Molly Ivins Day

Just imagine the past year, and present electoral one, as seen through the much-missed lens of Molly Ivins’ weekly columns.

All the wit, bite and outrage focused on issues, all the words she might have coined to profile candidates, all the urgings to all of us to be the “deciders.”

It would have been quite a year for Molly, but on Jan. 31, 2007, the 62-year old Texan’s last column appeared, along with her obituary. She never bowed her head to cancer or a passionate cause and for this courage alone she is an inspiration.

This week, island bookstores and the Orcas Library will reacquaint you with Molly’s writing, putting some of her books on display along with those of other “whistleblowers” such as Naomi Wolf and Diane Wilson.

You may also want to refresh your memory of three children’s books that Molly loved. her inscriptions in each could not b more timely.

In a copy of “Alice in Wonderland,” given to a small boy, “Here’s to six impossible things before breakfast.”

From “Wind in the Willows,” she chose, “May you have Toad’s zest for life.” And from “The Little Prince,” she extracted, “May your heart always see clearly.”

Bookmarks and buttons that would have pleased Molly will be free when you drop in. Take one in happy remembrance of this vibrant voice.

Milly Vetterlein

Deer Harbor

More Voters for Rosario Annexation

It was originally thought by the SaveOrcasWater.org group advocating the annexation of Rosario Utilities to the Eastsound Sewer and Water District, that the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) limited those eligible to vote on the Feb 19 ballot, to only those who voted in last November’s election. After further review by the Prosecuting Attorney, Randy Gaylord, that is not the case.

While only voters who voted in last November’s election were eligible to sign the petition to put the issue on the ballot, Mr. Gaylord does not feel that limits the annexation vote to those same voters.

The SaveOrcasWater.org group, is thrilled that all eligible voters in the Rosario Utility District will have an opportunity to vote on this very critical Island issue, and appreciate Mr. Gaylord’s clarification so there will be no misunderstandings come voting time.

Rollie Sauer


Sewer Annexation to ESWD 
The San Juan County Council voted unanimously to place the annexation of
the Rosario Utility District (water and sewer) to Eastsound Sewer and Water District on the
Feb. ballot because it met all of the conditions of the Revised Code of WA 
(RCW) which are: It will be conducive to the public health, welfare and
convenience, and it will be of special benefit to the land.

Annexation to Eastsound Sewer and Water is vital for the upcoming sewer
needs of the Rosario area. The Rosario Master Plan includes the 
requirement of a large sewer treatment expansion for its development. The
aging septic tanks in the existing residential area could also then be
replaced by a modern sewer system. Dr. Richard Strathmann, of the Friday 
Harbor Labs, has repeatedly publicly stated that the Sound running in front of
Rosario and inland to Crescent Beach and the town of Eastsound will be at
risk of serious contamination if a state-of-the-art sewer treatment plant 
is not constructed and monitored.
The Washington Water Company is a water company, not a sewer company. Any
out-of area company hired by a Rosario developer would not be immediately
available for monitoring and maintenance, a problem that could also exist 
with water as the Washington Water Co. is located in Gig Harbor. Eastsound
Sewer and Water has the experience to build and maintain a plant which
will keep East Sound uncontaminated. They recently received commendation 
from the Dept. of Ecology for their project at Orcas Landing. Non-profit
and with a Board of Directors, the voters will be able to influence the
Board to manage costs for the benefit of the community.
Therefore annexation will show benefit to public health and welfare and 
special benefit to the land and waters of Orcas Island.
Andrea and Hugh Hendrick

Sustainable Orcas Island

I want to thank the 33 people who attended our meeting at the Library on Jan. 22, and to invite those who didn’t to join us in developing projects to demonstrate and practice sustainability on Orcas Island. Clearly, a good number of island residents are already doing this effectively in their work and daily lives. Now more of us are sharing our thoughts and energy towards building an increasingly self-sufficient, sustainable, and mutually supportive community. I see this kind of movement swelling through the San Juans and elsewhere.

After listening to comments from those at the meeting, I think that many of us are clearly on the same page, ready for specific actions. For example, ridesharing and growing more food locally are two clear initial priorities. We are working on collaborative internet tools for sharing suggestions and information about our various projects, as well as for networking local resources.

I’ve scheduled the Library meeting room from 3:30 to 5:30 on Feb. 5 to talk more about specific ideas. We’ll also be setting up various smaller groups to work out on their own schedules what works best geographically and based on interests. The Library will continue to offer its resources and collections in support of this important initiative—as well as demonstrating some “edible landscape” ideas.

To share thoughts or to join our email list, please contact me at pheikkinen@orcaslibrary.org or 376-4985.


Phil Heikkinen



On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the day after Martin Luther King day, 33 residents gathered in the library conference room to discuss living sustainably on Orcas Island. The atmosphere was lively and energetic, urgent, yet composed.

During the one and a half hours planned for the meeting, each person had a chance to bare their soul. Hope resounded in the room.

All agreed that the problems we face today, globally as well as locally, are unprecedented, that the time to act is now. But what will sustainability look like on Orcas Island? And, moreover, how will we get there? How can we teach our children, show them, what the word means? While cultivating a sense of place and continuity? Steps large and small were thoughtfully proposed.

As a group, we hope to bring together the energy, skills, talents, and aspirations of our community members in an organized shift toward sustainability. We all want to contribute to solutions and not be part of the problem.

The meeting hosted an extraordinarily diverse group of islanders. Teachers, landscapers, contractors, gardeners, farmers, mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers, long-time residents and newcomers, representing three generations.

All gathered in respect to one another, which allowed deep sharing of our common love for Orcas and our desire to live in a way that is happy and healthy. We encouraged each other to dare to hope that in our efforts, Orcas can be an exemplar of sustainability which nourishes us and inspires others.

As the meeting broke, quick plans were made, with a promise to pass on the information to others, for the next meeting, which will be held on Feb 5 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Please contact Library Director Phil Heikkinen, at 376-4985, who has been helping facilitate and feel free to pass on information by email and to participate in the next meeting.

Nancy Koenig


Costs of annexation

All too often emotion overrules intellect and basic curiosity suffers. An emotional pitch is being made for local water, local this, local that, local control. Sounds good! Eastsound Sewer and Water District is a non-profit and is compared in a rudimentary way to OPALCO. Sounds good! However, I am curious!

Isn’t a non-profit such as ESWD going to have to do the same thing Washington Water Services will have to do to replace the ancient water delivery system, expand the water purification plant, purchase additional acre feet of water and get a bond issue approved? It seems to me that the economy of scale possessed by Washington Water would be advantageous in spite of their having stockholders. I suspect the real dollar costs of going “local” will knock the socks off of us! For this reason, I would like to see the entire procedure, from annexation to actual acquisition, spelled out, complete with dollar costs, by someone other than a group of angry Highlanders. I believe we, in Rosario, are being hoodwinked by an emotional propaganda pitch utilizing the good old psychology of fear gambit.

Bruce L. Heller