- Subscriber Center
- Green Editions
- About Us
- Sign Out
Once upon a time a Country Girl met a City Boy. Let’s see what they had in common and find out if opposites really do attract.
Awhile back I took a friend to the food bank and got to snooping into the windows of the large green OPALCO generator buildings, my god, what a great untapped piece of island history.
I note that the new county budget proposes to:
Affording preschool for their children is becoming increasingly more difficult for families on Orcas Island. Preschool provides an environment where children have many opportunities to be part of a community of peers, learn social skills, and experience many enriching learning opportunities. Research continues to show that children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, stay out of jail and off drugs. Here at Orcas Montessori, with the help of a grant from United Way, we were able to help a family this past year make tuition affordable. The benefits to our children and families are far reaching. The growth and development made by the children within our community of peers and dedicated teachers over the course of a year is rewarding to observe.
On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the 2008 Library survey. We received 228 responses, including 202 full time residents. For the Board members, who collected 72 of the responses between raindrops at the Library Fair, it was a valuable opportunity to talk directly to community members about how they feel about Library services and the possibility of expanding the facility.
As a community member and small business owner, I would like to present both my own views and those of my peers regarding the proposed moratorium on street vending in Eastsound, and offer what we feel is a more copacetic solution.
There is no doubt that San Juan County’s $1.8 million shortfall will impact the quality of life that we all enjoy. Some people will lose jobs, others will have their work hours reduced and even more will lose services to which they have become accustomed. The big question facing our community now is what goes and what stays.
While most of us are experiencing some sort of budget shortfall, the good news is there is no budget problem at the Orcas Fire Department.
In these tough times giving is even more important. United Way of San Juan County funds over 30 organizations. This year as our country experiences major financial collapse local communities are seeing the effects. As families struggle trying to figure out how to make ends meet the agencies that serve these families are being stretched. As energy, food and gas prices are increasing so are the needs of families and community members.
I recently read in the Sounder that the Orcas Island skate park could possibly be closed and was very upset to learn of this. If some foolish individuals have been making inappropriate choices at the park, and it has reached the level of public concern, there must be some other solution than closing the park. This seems to be a drastic response. Was the skate park not initially conceived as a place for the youth of Orcas Island to gather and enjoy the sport of skateboarding? Where are we supposed to go? The skate park is a place to chill, relax with friends and experience the insane thrill of riding a park such as this one. I have skated here since the beginning and never witnessed any inappropriate behavior. It is a knee-jerk reaction to consider closing the park - the local skaters need this park, plus it draws tourists who desire to be challenged by its vertical drops. I am disappointed that the community that worked so hard to make this skate park a reality cannot come up with a better solution. I think that this decision needs to be weighed very carefully, and its impact on the youth of Orcas taken into account.
Dear friends and community members,
The Orcas island community is amazing. After weeks of enormous economic uncertainty, and a day after the DOW went down 500 points, OPAL Community Land Trust had its most successful fund-raiser ever on October 11. We want to say Thank You to everyone whose generosity made such an evening possible.
I hope that the tremendous turnout for the assessors briefing on Thursday was proof enough that population growth in the county is very expensive for taxpayers. As our population increases their demands on infrastructure provided by the county and state increase. The tax assessor simply sees that property owners share equitably in the cost that the County and State will have in supporting the increased demands for that infrastructure. We are somewhat fortunate as many people own vacation homes and do not greatly impact our infrastructure. However, on the mainland, it has been calculated that, on average, every new home costs that community in excess of $30,000. So it takes a good many years to recover that amount in taxes unless you have $30,000 in impact fees.
You face very difficult decisions in the current budget crisis. I am writing to urge you to maintain funding for the Orcas Recreation program.
San Juan County has just begun its annual budget process and the outlook for all County services is grim. The County has felt the pressure of the weakened economy and needs to make adjustments to its spending. Many of us are already cutting back on discretionary spending like travel and entertainment, economizing on necessary expenses such as transportation, shopping more diligently for bargains and, for some, reducing spending on essential requirements like food, heat and medication. For many people, reduction in spending on essentials is the only recourse available. These are the same people who must also depend on the County to make their lives bearable. These people are the most vulnerable in our community, generally elderly, often not in good health, in need of medications, lacking transportation, occasionally requiring assistance for daily tasks and frequently unable to make ends meet. These are the people who will be severely affected by the proposed 23.1 percent reduction in Health and Community Services. The County has proposed to reduce the few services it now provides to these members of our communities. For example: elimination of transportation for seniors; reduction of congregate senior meals; reduction of nursing staff/clinic hours: elimination of immunizations/vaccinations; reduced nurse home visits and travel assistance to Medicaid clients; and finally, reduced staffing at our Senior Centers. Each of the items I mention is a line item for reduction in the County Administrators 2009 Budget Proposal.
While water may be a scarce resource on Orcas Island, controversy over water seems plentiful. Of course the scarcity has a great deal to do with the controversy. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of both vagaries of Washington water law and our island hydrogeology also play a role.
Everyday heroes are rarely acknowledged, and often, when they are singled out for credit, the response is “I was just doing my duty.”
To our new Rosario caretakers, in my letter to the editors (Sept.24, 2008 issue), regarding the re-visioning of Rosario to reflect a community dream, I neglected something. I failed to convey what I understand to be the Rosario/Moran Legacy. Largely ignored by previous owners of the Rosario Estate, the vision-as-resort has been unsuccessful for numerous and practical reasons. Now, with a plummeting economy, the challenges can only be magnified.
I was saddened by the death of Natalie White of Deer Harbor. She has been a valued friend of my family for many years and an important part of our community for all the years I’ve ben here. I was positive her passing would be acknowledged with an obituary worthy of her visit here on planet earth, in our tiny island community.
2009 Annual Budget Message: Washington’s Shrinking Counties
With reference to Guest Opinion by Shawn O’Bryant in your Oct 15 issue, I want to express my strong support for Shawn’s article which I think is well done and expresses very sound argument to keep the Skate park open.
First, there is a ballot drop box at the Orcas Senior Services Center in Eastsound. It is free to use (no postage required). The box is located at the north end of the driveway that directly abuts the lobby doors.
When I agreed to work on Richard Fralick’s campaign for county council, it was the first time I had participated actively in a political campaign. I did so because of my conviction that he was a man of unique abilities and character. Now that I have watched him work for this office, I am more convinced than ever that he is of the best that our system can seek in a representative. He has worked tirelessly, personally attending to details, studying issues, attending meetings, calling voters, distributing signs, giving parties, and writing letters. If he works this hard to get elected, imagine how he will conduct himself if elected.
Last week we hosted a “meet Kevin Ranker” gathering at the home of Christina and Bruce Orchid in Westsound. Kevin spoke to a varied group of neighbors, young and old, liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat alike. He ably showed each one of us that he is ready to be state senator. Kevin does his homework, staying on top of the issues. He is heartfelt and smart, dedicated to his chosen causes and open-minded. He listens. His priorities include education, the environment, transportation (particularly ferry issues), and the local economy. He knows how to work constructively with fellow politicians to make a positive impact. He has what it takes.
I am expressing a personal view of the measure 1000 having attended my late wife’s death from stomach cancer 20 years ago. Plese be patient with the following comments. It is difficult for me to know the answers.
These are troubling times, and more clouds loom on the horizon.
The decision by the OPALCO Board of Directors to spread the wealth of its $1,000,000 settlement among the 10,000 cooperative members on the island is not just a happy surprise, it’s a model of the simple but true island ethic of working together.
Could you please explain how newly issued property assessments are higher in a plunging real estate market?
With the passing of Darlene and now Dana, I am reminded of how valuable each human life is and how close knit Orcas islanders really can be. I am particulary hopeful that all of us will realize that regardless of our political, religious, or philosophical differences, we have more in common as human beings than our conflicts with each other.
We are lucky to have Richard Fralick willing to run for County Council! The job that this position entails is so tremendous that it’s a wonder any one wants to take it on. Yet we all know that some one has to do it.
Dear Council Members,
With the annexation of the Rosario Utility Area and soon Orcas Village, plus the recent county issues, Eastsound Sewer and Water District (ESWD) is being inundated with issues to address.
Orcas Family Health Center would like to thank everyone who participated in our Dinner Winner Sweepstakes. We appreciate all the community members who gave us support as we use these treasured funds to assist in providing medical care for those who are unable to provide for themselves and for our new X-ray facility.
We have two great people I know personally who are running for the County Council seat for Orcas West. I am happy that the hard work that all of us (former) freeholders did in restructuring our county government has lead to the kind of candidates who are running.
I have already spoken with John Kulseth and Alan Lichter regarding my property valuation for 2009, which increased by $100,000, or nearly 40 percent. Obviously, economic times are tough for us all. I own a small yarn store on Orcas Island and business is down. I can barely pay my rent, nor all of my other expenses, and every month I fight to get my mortgage payment in on time. I cannot afford gas for my car, I cannot afford to go off-island for groceries (but I cannot afford to buy them here, either). I grow what vegetables I can, and we make do as best we can.
Hi. It does not sound like the school board has a complete picture of the damage that would be done by closing the skatepark.
I am so sorry to have to say goodbye to you.
There are some factual matters and a few points of view that might be carefully considered regarding the franchise for a water line from Crow Valley.
Re: “Land Bank acquires Judd Cove property, Sounder September 3, 2008.”
Please complete the “Ticketing Ordinance” as soon as possible. I am among the many citizens of San Juan County who are outraged by the clear-cutting of old-growth trees near Moran State Park.