Wireless is critical for public safety | Guest column

When I first began my work as the Lopez Island Fire Chief July 1, 2008, I was challenged to improve communications for our first responders and thereby improve public safety for all.

  • Jul 8th, 2015

Housing crisis may force change | Editorial

Last year people in our community were desperate for housing. Now a full year has passed. Has anything changed?

  • Jul 8th, 2015

Sex trafficking: A local survivor shares her story | Guest column

Waking up at 3 a.m. is not unusual for me. Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are a recurring part of my life as a survivor of domestic sex trafficking in my childhood and my young adult life.

  • Jul 1st, 2015

It’s going to be a dry, hot summer | Editorial

For thousands of years we mostly upright humans have prayed to it, started wars over it, killed people in it and with it, built fancy huts to be close to it and tried to figure out ways to get out of it or get more of it.

  • Jul 1st, 2015

Jail reforms past due | Editorial

Keaton Farris should not have died. At age 25, he should be hanging out with his friends on Lopez Island or in Coupeville. He should be teasing his sisters or traveling the world.

  • Jun 23rd, 2015

Con: ferry reservations

The reservation system was created because the demand for car space on peak sailings vastly exceeded the supply, causing congestion and long waits. The reservation system helps spread demand to off-peak sailings, which should allow more cars to be transported.

  • Jun 19th, 2015

Pro: ferry reservations

Our family move to Orcas in the early 1990s began with missing the ferry. We arrived in Anacortes, waited two hours for the boat, only to see it come, load and go.

  • Jun 19th, 2015

Suggested changes to ferry reservations | Opinion

We’ve been hearing mixed reviews on the new ferry reservation system. Some love the convenience of ensuring a spot on the ferries and say that travel is being spread out more evenly. Others are seeing a downturn in summer business from those unable to get a reservation.

  • Jun 16th, 2015

Fireworks are on the way – be safe

They glisten across the night sky and symbolize Independence Day. But they are also dangerous when handled by amateurs.

  • Jun 11th, 2015

Passing on the freedom

Did you know that today there are 21-36 million people enslaved around our modern world? Did you know that means there are more slaves today than there ever were before? Did you know that human trafficking, only one of many forms of slavery, affects 2.4 million people worldwide each year?

  • Jun 9th, 2015

Where should you spend your dollars? | Editorial

As we navigate our first summer with the ferry reservation system, social media is rife with complaints about how it’s faring. But what we’re taking away from that discussion is something entirely unrelated: islanders are spending quite a bit of time and money on the mainland.

  • Jun 2nd, 2015

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s | Guest column

Q: Sadly, my wife Margaret, age 81, has dementia. Our doctor has her on medications that work extremely well to keep her more alert – she plays scrabble several times a week, enjoys her favorite TV programs and will interject a comment occasionally.

  • May 27th, 2015

May is mental health awareness month | Editorial

Living with a mental illness can be a deeply private, painful experience. It is difficult to talk about or know how to get help. And for the family members of an ill person, the emotions range from sadness to anger to guilt.

  • May 19th, 2015

We stand with Orcas Island teachers

We think it’s the responsibility of state Legislature to fully fund K-12 public education.

  • May 19th, 2015

What we learn from our mothers | Editorial

The love we are given by our mothers can set the course for the rest of our lives. Whether it is something as easy as baking cheesecake or understanding the importance of loyalty, our readers shared some of the lessons they have learned from their mother.

  • May 5th, 2015

Change the world by changing your light bulbs | Guest column

In my eighth grade class, we had an assignment to do a study of one of our world’s problems. I chose to research the problem of energy-wasting light bulbs.

  • Apr 30th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Are you allowed to ‘age in place’? | Guest column

None of us gets old overnight. We don’t go from, say, age 60 to age 80 in a day. There are years in between and steps we need to take while we’re healthy that will allow us to age with grace. The first rule: live in the right house.

  • Apr 30th, 2015
Liz Taylor

The next generation of print journalists | Editorial

We couldn’t be more proud to feature a very special section within this week’s paper: the Viking Voice.

  • Apr 29th, 2015

The key to salmon recovery is demolition | Guest column

The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office recently reported that nearly half of the 15 salmon populations listed under the federal Endangered Species Act are increasing.

  • Apr 22nd, 2015

The First Amendment matters | Guest column

Having recently fought and won a war against a government that had repressed dissent, arrested colonists without warrants and incarcerated them without trial, the authors of our Constitution were determined to ensure that citizens of our newly invented nation would have the liberty to express any view, even to a powerful government.

  • Apr 14th, 2015

More dialogue between community and OPALCO | Editorial

If you’re having trouble making sense of the many facts, figures, moving parts and the overall financial state of the union at Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, you’re not alone.

  • Apr 14th, 2015

Tourism season is here | Editorial

When we received an email alert last Friday that the ferries to Orcas were full until the 8:55 p.m., we knew it signaled something significant: the start of the tourist season. And those high traffic numbers will continue with the Shakespeare Festival starting this week.

  • Apr 7th, 2015

Time to get informed | Editorial

Wouldn’t it be swell if you could forget about all those complicated issues of the day, ignore the campaigns of this candidate or that one, and just remain steadfastly unconcerned and uninformed about any upcoming election or about what direction would be best for your ballot to be cast?

  • Mar 31st, 2015
Rate increase graph.

OPALCO’s ‘shock treatment’ | Guest column

Be warned. Some of us, particularly small electricity users, might be in for an electrifying shock treatment. Electricity prices are going up to the point where some may no longer be able to afford it.

  • Mar 27th, 2015
Rate increase graph.

Kevin’s time at Orcas Fire will be remembered | Editorial

It is with a heavy heart that we write about Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien’s leaving Orcas Fire and Rescue for a chief position in Lake Stevens.

  • Mar 25th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Can we protect our parents?

My grandmother is vicious to my father, her son. He has heart problems, so I’m afraid for his health. She’s 85 and can’t live alone anymore. He tried taking care of her at home, but she complained constantly.

  • Mar 24th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Local police going too far? | Guest column

I was intrigued to read the Islands’ Sounder recent story about the sheriff’s survey. My immediate reaction was that surely those on Orcas Island who gave poor marks to the police were NOT just referencing the incident on San Juan last Christmas.

  • Mar 18th, 2015

Staying balanced in the age of technology | Editorial

We’ve seen the positive side of the internet: connecting friends and family, sharing knowledge of the world around us, doing business from afar, spreading social awareness – the list goes on.

  • Mar 18th, 2015
Chief Kevin O'Brien

Orcas Fire Chief’s report

On Jan. 1 at 3 a.m. the Shaw Island Fire Department requested assistance with a structure fire on Shaw Island. Four OIFR firefighters responded with a WASP fire engine and a water tender truck.

  • Mar 5th, 2015
Chief Kevin O'Brien

What do you think of the medical care system on Orcas Island?

Dr. Gottman, with input from the members of the OMF board, Orcas Island Fire and Rescue, and others, has developed a rigorous survey that she hopes will be completed by everyone on the island.

  • Mar 3rd, 2015

Smart planning is needed for Eastsound | Editorial

Eastsound is the hub of activity for retail, dining, foot traffic, community events, parades and more on the island.

  • Mar 3rd, 2015

Rock Island: why it makes sense for OPALCO | Guest column

The news last week that Orcas Power and Light Co-op and Rock Island have joined forces to deliver Internet services to islanders in San Juan County is the latest in a long chain of thoughtful decisions and deliberate action on the part of the OPALCO leadership.

  • Mar 3rd, 2015
Liz Taylor

Is a poor appetite dangerous? | Guest column

I once consulted with a company to evaluate the health of people over 80 who had applied for long-term care insurance. The goal: to ensure they were healthy enough not to use their insurance benefits right away.

  • Feb 27th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Don’t ignore the threat of tsunamis | Editorial

Be afraid, but don’t be too afraid, and above all – be prepared. That is essentially the message that Brendan Cowan of the San Juan County’s Department of Emergency Management wants to get out to island residents.

  • Feb 25th, 2015

Is spring here? | Editorial

Yes we live on an island. Many of us moved here for the temperate climates. The founding American pioneers came here to escape the grueling snowstorms and freezing temperatures in the east and the extra inches of rainfall on the mainland.

  • Feb 17th, 2015

Power of love | Editorial

Working in the newspaper business, you grow accustomed to churning out tales on the daily.

  • Feb 4th, 2015

More than 50 years later, MLK’s dream is still just a dream | Editorial

Reporter Samantha Pak, from one of our sister papers, the Redmond Reporter, wrote the following piece. We thought it was too good not to share.

  • Jan 28th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Staying young while we’re old | Column

After four decades working in the aging field, I’ve discovered something interesting: we each get “old” at our own unique pace. This is different from any other time in our lives.

  • Jan 28th, 2015
Liz Taylor

Orca survival depends on humans taking action

That the local orca whale population, known as southern resident killer whales, is in dire trouble is not in dispute, even as recent widespread press reports have focused on the positive news of the birth of J-50, a new calf in J-pod (J, K and L pods together make up the endangered southern resident orca).

  • Jan 27th, 2015
Chief Kevin O'Brien

Orcas Fire Chief report

On Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Orcas Island firefighters responded to reports of a large fire with dark smoke in the area of Mt. Woolard.

  • Jan 27th, 2015
Chief Kevin O'Brien