All should study Constitution

There have been rumors flying around that the Constitution Seminar in Friday Harbor on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 8:30 in the morning to 4:30 p.m., is Republican propaganda. While the Republican Party is flattered that people would think the Republicans were responsible for the studying of the Constitution, I must confess that the San Juan County Republican party has done nothing more than volunteer to sponsor five student scholarships to the seminar which is being put on by the Friday Harbor American Legion Auxillary.

  • Oct 14th, 2008

Dog park shelter okayed

Thanks to a wide variety of generous donors and conscientious users, the new Eastsound Off-Leash Dog Area is seeing a lot of use and well on its way to meeting the mission to provide a place for dogs to exercise and socialize and for their owners to do a bit of the same!

  • Oct 14th, 2008

Increase funding to control weeds

By state law, each county is required to control the spread of noxious weeds; invasive and/or dangerous plants which threaten animal, humans, and native plant communities. In the six years since the Noxious Weed control Board has been functioning under this mandate, the two hard-working staff members have provided many services to our citizenry. These have included free land surveys to identify noxious weeds, advice based on research to show best how to eliminate those weeds non-toxically, public educational events to help indicate which plants are “good” and which one should NOT be put in our gardens. They themselves have done a tremendous amount of cutting, chopping, and pulling harmful plants.

  • Oct 14th, 2008

Skater calls attention to importance of a new generation

The Islands Sounder recently reported that there are plans formulating to close the Orcas Island skatepark because it does not “benefit the local kids.” I can hardly believe that such an inadequate reasoning is being cited. In San Juan County over the past ten years the Orcas Island skatepark is one of the only successful community projects funded and approved to benefit primarily the younger generation. The islands have agreed to multiple other community undertakings for seniors and middle-agers, but the Orcas Park represents a real triumph for the kids, an acknowledgment that the new generation is important in our community.

  • Oct 14th, 2008

The obligations of stewardship

On Orcas Island, we are fortunate to have recently acquired two outdoor attractions for our pleasure that also bring visitors to the island –Turtleback Mountain Natural Preserve and a world-class skatepark.

  • Oct 14th, 2008

Water franchise in Crow Valley defended

Over the past year, I have been helping Woody Van Valkenburgh, his wife Nancy, sister Blaire, and brother-in-law Bob (collectively known as RHBR, LLC) wade through the myriad of regulations and permits necessary to proceed with a nine lot plat on 80 acres on Dolphin Bay Rd. The first part of this long process is now before the County Council for a request to locate a waterline within the public right-of-way along McNallie Ln. and Dolphin Bay Rd.

  • Oct 14th, 2008

Orcas Fire District’s budget should be scrutinized

The understatement of the year may have been Fire Commissioner Jim Coffin’s when he said last January that they “would probably take a lot of heat” for assigning and funding the assistant battalion chief at $90,000 a year salary plus benefits. Since then, many in the public and in the department have protested the procedures and policies of the Orcas Island Fire Department, as witnessed by two petitions circulated in the community in February and March.

  • Oct 8th, 2008

Letters to the?editor

What a heart Orcas has!

  • Oct 7th, 2008

Ms. Brownell and Ms. Kline go to Olympia

On Sept. 16, Barbara Kline and I went to testify before the Legislative Joint Task Force for Basic Education Finance.

  • Oct 7th, 2008

Lessons for the islands from Hurricane Ike

I’m just back from South Texas and as is always the case when I find myself working on a disaster response, I wonder how our own community will fare when it’s our turn.

  • Oct 7th, 2008

What is ‘Quality of Life’ on Orcas?

As Jeffri and I expanded Crow Valley Pottery in early 2007, from our long-time, solo-location at the Cabin in the valley, to our second shop in the heart of Eastsound, our perspective – on Orcas as a whole and Eastsound in specific – changed. As expected, the new location brought many great new things ... a warm and dry year-round location, increased shop traffic and the opportunity to expand our offerings. But what we really did not expect to find was perhaps a clearer reality of life on Orcas Island. Maybe we were a bit insulated out at the Cabin (we were) and perhaps we really did not want to acknowledge some of the changing realities of Orcas (also true). But one thing is for sure ... our eyes were opened wider recently when a group of Orcas teenage girls were caught in the middle of a shoplifting spree. They had victimized numerous shops in Eastsound, including ours. And I’m told that some of their haul was quite substantial (not that it should matter).

  • Oct 1st, 2008

Help protect property with San Juan Initiative

As a builder, I work with people every day who want to enjoy their property without causing harm to the natural beauty of the islands. As a long-term resident of the San Juans, I feel the same way. Unfortunately, I have found that often the laws and programs designed to protect the environment actually make it harder for people to do the right thing.

  • Sep 30th, 2008

Respect and expression: two sides of good voting

The national election and the financial market crisis have focused our attention on the political process and the importance of our vote as never before. It is a good development that more of us than ever feel we have a personal stake in government, law and policies.

  • Sep 30th, 2008

Turtleback Management Plan nears completion

As the season turns and we hope for just a few more golden days of sun, perhaps you will find yourself on Turtleback Mountain Preserve, soaking up its calm and majesty. We are fortunate to have this property available to the public.

  • Sep 30th, 2008

San Juan County should penalize vigilante builders

The county is wrestling with enforcement of land use and building code regulations as the incidents of flaunting of those laws come to light. It would appear that some builders and developers now proceed on the philosophy that forgiveness is easier (and cheaper) to obtain than permission.

  • Sep 23rd, 2008

Legislators consider basic education funding – School board suggests levy lift in the meantime

Our schools are off to an excellent start for a new school year.  For the past two years, the staff, the administrators, the school board and the community have been working on getting us to a healthier place financially. Additionally, the Orcas Island School District board has appointed our current high school principal Barbara Kline as a half-time superintendent. Barbara has been the middle school/high school principal here for more than 15 years and has served our students and staff well. She will continue to be the principal of the high school on a half-time basis, with the result that she will be on campus full-time.

  • Sep 17th, 2008

Letters to the?editor An open letter to the San Juan County Council

Two weeks have passed since I first questioned the rationale behind San Juan County’s application for the surface water rights (rainwater collection) covering every parcel on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw and San Juan Island. In the interim I have learned:

  • Sep 16th, 2008

Our taxes, our schools, our sustainability

Orcas Islanders do take care of their own, to use the words of Joe Cohen, Development Chair for the Orcas Island Community Foundation.

  • Sep 16th, 2008

Orcas shared battalion chief position clarified | Guest Opinion

I submit this article to clarify the job proposal, sharing the duties of the vacant battalion chief position, being made by the three OIFD Fire/Medics, Lieutenants Val Harris, Patrick Shepler, and Mik Preysz. Plainly put, if these staff duties are not performed, the line cannot go on a call and the fire department cannot function as an emergency service.

  • Sep 11th, 2008

San Juan County’s water catchment plan a bad idea | Guest Opinion

San Juan County’s application to the Washington State Department of Ecology for the acquisition of rainwater catchment rights for all parcels on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw and San Juan Islands should be rejected or withdrawn. The State’s position is that citizens who catch, store and drink rain water falling on their property must be first granted water rights to the condensation and falling rain. Farm and orchard owners in Washington are not required to obtain water rights for the rain precipitating out of the air passing over their land even though selling it in their produce. This is a clear violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution, 14th amendment. Power to violate citizens’ 14th amendment rights transferred to San Juan County instead of transferring “rain water rights” to the property owner is absurd.

  • Sep 11th, 2008

San Juan County’s 172 islands can — and should — work together

San Juan County is made up of 172 islands at low tide, four of which are linked together by the Washington State Ferry Route.

  • Sep 10th, 2008

Orcas man forfeits $10,000 in bail following no-show in court

The whereabouts of an Orcas Island man accused of multiple felonies and of misdemeanor assault remain unknown.

Auto theft prompts 10-day jail term for Orcas woman

An Orcas Island woman whose spin in a stolen car came to a abrupt halt when the brother of its owner spotted her behind the wheel was sentenced to 10 days for auto theft.

Ranker endorsed by State Senator

With nearly all primary election voted tallied, results show that San Juan County Council Member Kevin Ranker won in all three counties of the 40th Legislative District by 11 points overall. This week, Senator Harriet Spanel, whose district seat Ranker hopes to fill, and Representatives Kelli Linville and Dave Quall all endorsed Kevin Ranker.

  • Sep 9th, 2008

Orcas Island citizens hold the most important public office

It seems that no sooner had the school funding crisis eased, than Rosario’s future became more uncertain than ever.

  • Sep 2nd, 2008

Rosario Resort auction will test mettle of Orcas residents

As Labor Day approaches, we are about to be profoundly impacted by the auction of Rosario Resort and the attendant lay-off of nearly 200 island employees, about half of them full-time.

  • Aug 26th, 2008

A stealthy and obscene growth in county government control

Imagine you pick up your weekly Islands’ Sounder and the headline screams “County Acquires Rights to All Breathable Air in the County.” You would think: it must be the “Flounder,” the annual April Fool’s Day edition.

  • Aug 26th, 2008

EPA’S ocean survey vessel “Bold” studies Puget Sound

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) contaminated orcas, dwindling dissolved oxygen and deep Sound sediments are but a few of the research targets of the Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) Bold, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) floating marine laboratory, which is making its debut in Seattle beginning July 31.

  • Aug 20th, 2008

Liquor Control Board and County Sheriff’s Office cites Orcas business

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Friday cited two businesses in San Juan County for alcohol violations following an Aug. 8 joint undercover operation conducted by the two organizations.

  • Aug 20th, 2008

Kline fit for Orcas schools superintendent role

It suddenly seems as if our public schools’ administrative structure is back on kilter. Only time will tell, of course, but in the absence of certainty, there’s nothing wrong with hope.

  • Aug 19th, 2008

OPALCO fights energy vampires

The county-wide electric company, OPALCO, is promoting a vampire-energy awareness campaign with bat rings and whistles and vampire teeth.

  • Aug 19th, 2008

SJ man gets 30 days for selling two grams of pot

A San Juan Island man who sold two grams of marijuana to an informant during an undercover sting will serve 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to a felony drug-related offense.

USCG decision may impact ferry service

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) last week directed Washington State Ferries (WSF) to amend its procedures for assigning crews to operate the ferry boats. Those changes will necessitate a comprehensive review of ferry schedules on every route in the system. The route most impacted by the rule changes will be the San Juan Islands.

  • Aug 19th, 2008

Common-sense solution to diverse county groundwater protection guest Opinion

The San Juan County Critical Areas Ordinance Review Committee has already tackled a number of tough issues and will shortly complete work on another important issue upon which, happily, there is agreement among the diverse members of the committee.

  • Aug 19th, 2008

Gaylord explains Parks Bay case

I write to set out the facts in the Parks Bay case,…

  • Aug 15th, 2008

San Juan County Fair comes when we need it most

It seems like the San Juan County Fair always comes just when we need it most. With elections behind us and before us, with summer racing by and a school year racing toward us, with school district budget woes following us and a county budget crisis lurking in the shadows, we need the fair.

  • Aug 13th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

I’m writing this to ask your support for Judge Linde’s candidacy for Superior Court Judge. I’ve known John for many years and in many capacities and consider him the outstanding candidate. While he and I might have differing political views, we align perfectly on non-partisan judicial issues. For example, we both believe that serving and supporting our youth is the key to our society’s betterment.

  • Aug 13th, 2008

San Juan County Elections Office explains barcode confusion

There seems to be some confusion as to why there are barcodes on your ballot. Some people think that San Juan County has a list of which ballots are given to which voter, and someone could find out how your ballot was voted. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of us who work with your ballot in San Juan County respect and protect your right to vote a secret ballot.

  • Aug 12th, 2008