Opinion

A brighter future for solid waste | Editorial

It looks like the tradition of “reduce, reuse, recycle” will be carried on despite a shift in how solid waste is handled. We couldn’t be happier.

  • Jul 3rd, 2012

OPALCO at the crossroads | Guest Column

Perhaps no institution has done more than Orcas Power and Light Cooperative to significantly improve the lives of the people of San Juan County. For 75 years OPALCO has been a beneficent monopoly. OPALCO boards have made many good decisions. It has many great employees and the quality of service is excellent.

  • Jun 29th, 2012

Sounder to hold short story contest | Editorial

Hiking in the woods, swimming in the lake, watching the sun go down – all made better when you have someone to share it, especially if they have four legs, a fur coat and a wet nose.

  • Jun 28th, 2012
On June 6

Initiative 2012-4: A few steps closer to being GMO-free | Guest colum

On June 6, 2,261 signatures collected in support of Initiative 2012-4 to ban the propagation of genetically modified organisms in San Juan County where handed in to the county auditor. The initiative, formulated by a group called GMO-Free San Juans, has support from a wide spectrum of individuals, including farmers, within our community. Education, outreach, and financial support continue as the group prepares for the measure being placed on a county-wide ballot in November.

  • Jun 25th, 2012
On June 6

The power of nature | Editorial

Take a close look at our island foliage, and you’re bound to see clusters of furry, skinny, orange caterpillars wrapped around branches in what looks like a spiderweb.

  • Jun 18th, 2012

Move over, Anna Deavere Smith | Review

Written and performed by Seattle-based artist Amontaine Aurore, "Free Desiree" is a disciplined, passionate and rollicking story of a young black woman growing up in the ‘70s.

  • Jun 12th, 2012

A letter to the class of 2012 | Editorial

Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your life. As you stand on the threshold of adulthood, prepared to take on the world, here are some things you should know.

  • Jun 11th, 2012

Literature opens the door to another world | Editorial

Roald Dahl immortalized the importance of books in “Matilda,” when he wrote “[her] strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

  • Jun 4th, 2012

Community immunity: taking care of each other | Guest column

Here’s what we islanders do for each other. We make meals when a new baby arrives or when someone goes through chemotherapy. When a family’s house burns down, we give shelter and help build a new one. Some of us mentor school kids, others drive shuttle buses for seniors, and many serve on the boards of nonprofits.

  • May 30th, 2012

‘The Butterfly Effect’ is a must-see | Editorial

Orcas Center’s new play “The Butterfly Effect” is inspired by a worldwide movement of anti-bullying video messages and adapted from local stories. It was created as direct response to the “epidemic of gay teen suicides across the country,” says director Jake Perrine.

  • May 30th, 2012

A draft of possibilities | OPALCO Guest column

We want to thank everyone who attended the five community forums we recently held in partnership with the San Juan County Economic Development Council on Orcas, Shaw, Lopez, and San Juan Island to discuss the countywide broadband initiative. As we said at the forums, this broadband initiative is still a work in progress and no final decisions have been made but, we were excited to share with you a draft of a possible system design and we’re grateful for the comments and suggestions we heard.

  • May 25th, 2012

Memorial Day is not just a three-day vacation | Editorial

Memorial Day is Monday. The American Legion Post 93, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion will hold a Memorial Service, 11 a.m. at the Mt. Baker Ceremony. “Taps” will be played on trumpet and the Honor Guard will fire 21 rounds in a tribute to the fallen.

  • May 22nd, 2012

Better broadband equals jobs: a clear equation | Guest Column

Unemployment in San Juan County is higher than it’s been in nearly 20 years. If you include folks who have exhausted their benefits, those forced to work part-time jobs and those who have lost their “under the table” employment, we’re looking at over 10 percent of the workforce.

  • May 15th, 2012

Roll out red carpet for our island visitors | Editorial

The first step is getting visitors out here. The next task is creating such an incredible experience that they will return – and maybe bring some friends.

  • May 15th, 2012

CSA’s response to editorial | Guest column

I am writing on behalf of the Common Sense Alliance (“CSA”) to correct the misconceptions that led to the claim in your recent editorial (“War of the press releases,” May 8, 2012) that CSA bears responsibility for the “mess” in the County’s Shoreline Master Program (“SMP”) update, including the “hoax” story concocted and circulated by the county’s communications director.

  • May 15th, 2012

Playfest 2012 is ‘astounding’ | Theater review

The Actors Theater of Orcas Island’s Playfest 2012 opened at the Grange last Friday to an audience eager for entertainment. Seven plays, written, directed and performed by Orcas Islanders, offered glimpses of talents that seem astounding for a community our size.

  • May 9th, 2012

War of the press releases | Editorial

San Juan County and the Common Sense Alliance have created a mess. For those not deeply entrenched in the Critical Areas Ordinance, here is what recently occurred.

  • May 8th, 2012
Richard Fralick

Fralick not seeking re-election

Now that an eminently qualified candidate, Rick Hughes, has declared his intent to run for the District 4, Orcas West Council position, I am happy to announce that I will not seek a second term as a member of the San Juan County Council. On Orcas Island we are very fortunate to have people of the caliber of Patty Miller and Rick Hughes willing to represent us.

  • May 3rd, 2012
Richard Fralick

Sounder joins school fundraising effort | Editorial

Many facets of the community have been part of the effort to raise money for the school district. Now the Islands’ Sounder is doing its part. We are holding a subscription drive that benefits the Orcas Island Education Foundation.

  • Apr 30th, 2012

International ocean mapping conference on Orcas | Guest column

A group of scientists from around the world have been gathering annually to share findings and technology in something called marine geological and biological habitat mapping, a discipline that tries to answer some basic questions: what do our sea floors look like, what kinds of marine life do they sustain, what factors influence that marine life, and how can we use that knowledge to minimize human impact?

  • Apr 24th, 2012

Remember crime victims this week | Guest column

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 22-28. This event is meant to increase public awareness of victim rights and available victim services.

  • Apr 24th, 2012

Happy 75th, OPALCO | Editorial

Door prizes galore, brunch on a boat, loads of free stuff and election results, too? It appears Orcas Power and Light Cooperative is pulling out all the stops to make its 75th Annual Meeting, May 5, a “can’t miss” event.

  • Apr 24th, 2012
Kim Bryan

It’s not that we don’t care | Guest column

This is the third of four articles submitted by DVSAS for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

  • Apr 23rd, 2012
Kim Bryan

Generating green energy | Guest column

OPALCO is in a time of major changes. As most of you know technology drives many of these changes. Changes less obvious to our members involve regional supply of power. The northwest regional electric use is reaching the peak of Bonneville Power Association’s capacity to generate power. Any energy beyond what BPA can provide from within their existing systems will be available to us at a much higher rate than we are accustomed to paying. This means that the energy each of us does not use, becomes an asset to the whole co-op in achieving our goal of together we save.

  • Apr 23rd, 2012

DVSAS discusses the ‘six stages of the grooming process’ | Guest column

This is the second of four articles submitted by Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

  • Apr 17th, 2012

Council needs to look at the real problem | Guest column

I’ve been visiting the San Juans since 1956, and moved to Orcas permanently in 1976. I started in the excavation business in 1978 and I’m still working on it today.

  • Apr 16th, 2012

Money Smart week prepares kids for future finances | Guest column

It is never too late or too early to begin teaching children about money. Creatively exposing children to age appropriate concepts about money is how a financial education takes hold. I am sure there are many of us who heard our parents exclaim, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” But what on earth does such an abstract cliché mean to a child? It certainly made no sense to me. However, my younger brother was curious about this phrase and spent many Saturdays in our local park hunting for money trees. I should mention this younger brother of mine is now a partner in an accounting firm in New York City.

  • Apr 16th, 2012

Walking a mile | Editorial

For those of us who do not live with a disability, we go about our day oblivious to some of the smallest things that can be the biggest challenges: door handles that are too high to reach from a wheelchair; slippery stones on a pathway; getting up a flight of stairs; taking a shower; getting dressed.

  • Apr 16th, 2012

Tsunami debris reminds us of life’s vulnerability | Opinion

When a local reader sent us images of what appeared to be a survey stake with Japanese writing, it looked like possible debris from the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Japan. We searched the Internet to find what other fragments have been coming toward the Pacific Northwest coast, and what we found was troubling.

  • Apr 11th, 2012

Update on Charter Review Commission

The next meeting of the San Juan County Charter Review Commission is Saturday, April 7 at Grace Episcopal Church in Lopez Village, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a break for lunch. Public input is welcomed and there is time set aside for comments at 8:30 a.m. and at 12 p.m. The CRC is charged with reviewing the charter to determine its adequacy and suitability to the needs of the county. Proposed changes will be put on the ballot for the public to vote on in Novembe

  • Apr 6th, 2012

A word on OPALCO’s broadband initiative | Guest column

For 75 years OPALCO has met the prime directive for which it was created: to provide the electrical service that is now essential in our lives. Electricity is so ingrained in our way of life we take it for granted. Internet and other data communication services, collectively called broadband, are rapidly becoming just as essential.

  • Apr 5th, 2012

Military training could be hurting the orcas | Editorial

When the bloody, battered body of a young killer whale washed ashore north of Long Beach, Wash., it was clear her death was not from natural causes. The orca, known as “Sooke,” was a member of the Southern resident killer whales, which make their seasonal home in the San Juans and were declared endangered under federal law in 2005.

  • Apr 3rd, 2012

Caring communities save children’s lives | Guest column

“How many kids have I failed?” This unlikely question haunts Kim Bryan, Prevention Coordinator of San Juan County’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services. At a recent training for certification to work with children victimized by sex traffickers, she listened to Alex, a 26-year-old who had been sold nightly, by her parents, as a prostitute for 11 years starting at the age of nine.

  • Mar 29th, 2012

What does Earth Day mean to you? | Editorial

So we urge you to start thinking about ways to make our island more beautiful on April 22 – the one day of the year when citizens around the globe make the planet sparkle.

  • Mar 27th, 2012

Hand over the car keys, please | Editorial

With approval of the Legislature, changes to the state’s driving under the influence laws are now parked on the governor’s desk and, with the stroke of a pen, will become effective beginning in August. Expectations in Olympia are that Gov. Gregoire won’t hesitate to sign those changes into law.

  • Mar 19th, 2012
Kim Bryan

Caring communities save the lives of children | Guest column

A look at why Kim Bryan is haunted by the question "How many kids have I failed?”

  • Mar 16th, 2012
Kim Bryan

Women’s history marches on | Editorial

We’re excited about a documentary film that will be shown here this weekend. And it’s all thanks to a high school senior who is hoping to make a difference for women.

  • Mar 13th, 2012

Art: a therapeutic touch | Guest Column

The arts offer community participation, but they also give our lives meaning, provide opportunities for self expression and offer a way of viewing the world from a different perspective—enriching both individuals and society and reaching people who may be stressed and/or often not otherwise easily engaged with their community.

  • Mar 6th, 2012

Community Council to meet in Deer Harbor

The Orcas Community Council holds a space for us to explore what is on the hearts and minds of Orcas Islanders. These monthly gatherings are an opportunity to share and learn more from one another.

  • Mar 6th, 2012
Milene Henley

Quarterly review of county finances | Guest column

I breathe a big sigh of relief at the end of each fiscal year. The struggles to meet last year’s budget are over; the wrangling over next year’s budget has been (largely) resolved; and the new year seems full of promise. It’s a good time to step back and take stock of how we’re doing.

  • Feb 27th, 2012
Milene Henley