OPALCO member bylaw change initiative | Guest column

A group of co-op members on Lopez Island, organized as the Lopez Chapter of Citizens for Safe Technology, recently submitted a petition asking for a change to the OPALCO bylaws related to the construction of wireless facilities.

  • Mar 5th, 2013

Funhouse Commons commends work of Newtown Committee | Guest column

The board and staff of the Funhouse Commons would like to thank Fred Klein and the 35 other community members who took part in the discussions regarding gun safety in our community, inspired by the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary.

  • Feb 26th, 2013
John Manning

What are essential public services? | Guest column

Many of you joined us in the first round of Community Conversations to discuss what makes the quality of life in the islands so special. The next round of meetings will focus on defining what public services are essential to preserving that quality of life.

  • Feb 26th, 2013
John Manning

Update on re-use at Orcas Transfer Station | Guest column

If you have been wondering, pondering, musing over and/or otherwise asking yourself and others about the status of site clean-up and a new reuse center at the Orcas Island Transfer Station, here’s the latest.

  • Feb 26th, 2013

You are a partner in community journalism | Editorial

In the past three years, we have brought home awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for our coverage of news and the arts, website reporting and editorial writing.

  • Feb 26th, 2013

Get the giggles with ‘Hot Bed Hotel’ at Grange | Play review

Prescription for a winter evening on Orcas Island: “Hot Bed Hotel,” Doug Bechtel’s latest offering on stage at the Grange. New seats that are probably more comfortable than your couch offer plenty of leg room to thrash about as you try to control yourself during this comedic farce written by Michael Parker and staged by the Actor’s Theater of Orcas Island.

  • Feb 22nd, 2013

One more election ahead of us | Editorial

You wake up, pour yourself a cup of coffee and head out to get your newspaper, the Islands’ Sounder, which you love reading in the morning. What you love less are the cards in the mailbox with local candidates’ photos, the endless letters to the editor, the signs along our rural roads and all the political confusion surrounding these multiple county council elections.

  • Feb 19th, 2013

Behind the scenes of Orcas Has Talent | Reporter’s notebook

The lights come up, the crowd is silent, the air still. We sing, exposing truths we usually hide. We play the sax, letting the notes hang like fog. We make people laugh from the depths of their bellies. We dance with joy. We let our fingers glide across the ebony and ivory keys. We dazzle with magic and its mysteries and we infuse life onto the stage through voices, drums, violin and guitar.

Valentine musings | Reporter’s notebook

Candy hearts that taste of chalk, cheesy greeting cards, glassy-eyed teddy bears. These are the images that come to mind when I think of the upcoming holiday of Valentine’s Day.

Myth of coal jobs | Guest column

Much has been made, in these pages and elsewhere, about the many new jobs to be created by the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Cherry Point. But this is largely a public-relations myth being vigorously promoted by coal terminal advocates, for obvious reasons. Here’s why.

  • Feb 5th, 2013
Jamie Stephens

We should talk | Guest column

My fellow county council members and I hope you will join us in a Community Conversation about the future of the San Juan Islands and the role of its county government in the years ahead. This is an opportunity to consider doing things differently as we begin to climb out of the economic downturn.

  • Jan 30th, 2013
Jamie Stephens

Newspapers stay relevant in ever-changing world | Editorial

“Nobody reads newspapers anymore.” “It’s time for newspapers to go all digital.” We’ve all heard those comments. Perhaps some of you reading this agree with those statements. We’re going to step out on a limb and say of these doom sayers, “They’re wrong.”

  • Jan 29th, 2013

Keeping the spirit of words alive | Editor’s notebook

The words showed up only when I closed my eyes. With my eyelids pressed down tight, I could see the letters clearly, their sequence emblazoned across my imagination.

  • Jan 22nd, 2013

Pay attention | Editorial

Something very curious happened at the election forum last week. After the Orcas candidates spoke and answered questions, a fair amount of islanders left – before the San Juan candidates could even start their opening sentences.

  • Jan 22nd, 2013

What we can learn from Galileo | Editorial

History. It’s the map that those of us – still filled with optimism – use as a guide, a resource, a reference to navigate through the present and the future.

  • Jan 15th, 2013

Pay attention to upcoming elections | Editorial

Make a New Year’s resolution to get involved with, or at least pay attention to, the coming elections for the San Juan County Council.

  • Jan 10th, 2013

Simple decisions to save power | Guest column

Imagine that all 130 million American homes heat their hot water with electricity. If each swapped out its electric hot water heater with a heat pump equivalent, each household woul

  • Jan 8th, 2013
Bill Evans

Lessons learned in Sandy Hook tragedy | Guest column

My heart is broken as I reflect upon the tragic events of Dec. 14, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn. That such innocent lives could so quickly and brutally be ripped from the tight fabric of that community and that school, is unimaginable to me.

  • Jan 7th, 2013
Bill Evans

The Exchange: Charting the course ahead for the Orcas Island Transfer Station | Guest column

The Exchange will be assuming responsibility for managing the Orcas Island Transfer Station in its entirety; this change from County to community-based management of the OITS is scheduled to take place by March 31. In order to provide users of the Orcas transfer station with a sense of what to expect in the months ahead, we would like to compare and contrast current and future services and fees and outline the changes that are core to our management plan.

  • Jan 7th, 2013

Looking to 2013: readers’ resolutions | Editorial

We have officially jumped into the year 2013. It’s a time for reflecting on the past 12 months and setting goals for the days to come.

  • Jan 2nd, 2013
Chief Kevin O'Brien O

Fire Chief’s report | Guest column

From Nov. 13 through Dec. 11, the following calls came in: EMS – 42 (562 year to date) and Fire – 16 (183 year to date). Year to date responses have increased 12 percent.

  • Dec 27th, 2012
Chief Kevin O'Brien O

Steel, speed and spirits do not mix | Editorial

The most chilling noise in a drunk driving collision comes after the crash. When you tell someone that terrible news, that their son or daughter is dead, they make a certain mourning sound. It sounds like their heart is coming through their ribs.

  • Dec 26th, 2012

Be prepared before it’s too late | Editorial

That’s what many on the East Coast thought about experiencing a major natural disaster. Sheila Gaquin, an Orcas Islander who volunteered with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, said she encountered residents who donated to the Red Cross throughout their lives, but never imagined help would be needed in their own neighborhood.

  • Dec 20th, 2012
Rick Hughes

A community moving forward | Guest column

I would like to thank the voters of Orcas West for their amazing support in the recent November election. With over 68 percent of the vote, I feel confident that Orcas Island champions forward thinking vision, from locally involved, dedicated and passionate leaders.

  • Dec 20th, 2012
Rick Hughes

We love what we do | Editorial

A lot of life can be about repetition. You wake up, you work, you love, you breathe. It’s a routine. But a good routine. It’s not every day that you pause to consider your life’s work. You do what needs to be done. And if you’re lucky, you enjoy it.

  • Dec 11th, 2012

‘Tis the season to shop on the island | Editorial

Before you prepare to brave the mainland for your lengthy Christmas shopping list, we want you to take a moment to think about where your dollars are going. Or rather, where they are not going.

  • Dec 6th, 2012

Grief in a small town | Editorial

When tragedy occurs in a small town, it’s a ripple across the delicate surface of our community.

  • Dec 4th, 2012

What are hydroponics? | Guest column

Although the word “hydroponics” evokes space age images, the process has been employed for thousands of years. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, are widely understood to have been an elaborate water sequestration system directing channeled flow from the Euphrates River over vegetation landings using hydroponic techniques.

  • Dec 4th, 2012
Rick Larsen

Pulling the brake before we go over the fiscal cliff | Guest column

A hundred thousand fewer kids in Head Start. Thousands of fewer agents securing our borders. More than 2,000 fewer research grants to combat cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. And a $2,200 tax hike for the average American family.

  • Dec 3rd, 2012
Rick Larsen

Just my feet and me | Reporter’s notebook

Hitchhiking is the subject of many tales of terror around the campground. It’s also the focus of one of my favorite authors David Sedaris, who tells of awkward, hilarious and downright frightening tales of being a young man on the road with his thumb stuck out.

Parks and Rec Update | Guest column

It has been a busy startup for the Park and Recreation District and we want to let everyone know how thankful we are for all the support and assistance we have received as we get the district up and running.

  • Nov 23rd, 2012
Kyle Loring

Of coal ships and critical areas | Guest column

On Nov. 3, more than 400 community members gathered for a coal scoping hearing where over 95 percent of the public testimony energetically expressed concerns about a proposed coal shipping terminal at Cherry Point.

  • Nov 22nd, 2012
Kyle Loring
Milene Henley

Charter changes usher in more elections | Guest column

If adopted, Proposition 1 would return the county from six district-elected council members to three council members elected county-wide. As supervisor of elections, my interest in the election is ensuring that the process is understood, regardless of the outcome.

  • Nov 13th, 2012
Milene Henley

Lessons from the East Coast

Disasters are in the news again, and for good reason. On the night of Oct. 28, a massive 7.7 earthquake struck off the coast of northern British Columbia. And then a few days later, Hurricane Sandy devastated a major swath of the East Coast.

  • Nov 7th, 2012

Looking ahead after the election season | Editorial

It has been a divisive election season – both for our island communities and as a nation.

  • Nov 6th, 2012

Legalize gay marriage in Washington state | Editorial

As a progressive, intelligent state, it’s surprising it has taken this long for gay marriage to become a reality.

  • Oct 30th, 2012

Rock climbing and war

We all break into laughter as the driver swears his undying love for Lady Gaga. Then something explodes beneath us. The vehicle swerves to the right. The truck commander radios to the rest of the convoy that we’ve got a flat tire. Suddenly other armored vehicles encircle us and the tire is changed instantly, as if we were at a NASCAR race.

Gaylord weighs in on marijuana initiative

I will be closely following the results of the Initiative 502 concerning marijuana laws. I urge everyone in the county to study that measure and vote. Even if the measure conflicts with federal law, I will use the results to revise my policies regarding the prosecution of marijuana offenses.

  • Oct 23rd, 2012

Domestic violence from the criminal justice perspective | Guest column

The dispatcher recognizes the victim’s voice. The deputies know the address. The prosecutor remembers the prior incidents. The advocate knows the victim. The defense attorney, judge, probation officer, counselors, domestic violence perpetrator treatment provider know the abuser.

  • Oct 19th, 2012
Meredith M. Griffith

Under 30 and diagnosed with cancer | Guest column

It is a rare gift to be told you are dying. In May 2006 I was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma and given a 25 percent chance of being alive in five years. I was 26, and our baby girl was 10 months old.

  • Oct 19th, 2012
Meredith M. Griffith