- Subscriber Center
- Green Editions
- About Us
- Sign Out
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.
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!
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.
An open letter to the County Council
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.
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.
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.
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.
What a heart Orcas has!
On Sept. 16, Barbara Kline and I went to testify before the Legislative Joint Task Force for Basic Education Finance.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Orcas Islanders do take care of their own, to use the words of Joe Cohen, Development Chair for the Orcas Island Community Foundation.
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.
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.
San Juan County is made up of 172 islands at low tide, four of which are linked together by the Washington State Ferry Route.
The whereabouts of an Orcas Island man accused of multiple felonies and of misdemeanor assault remain unknown.
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.
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.
It seems that no sooner had the school funding crisis eased, than Rosario’s future became more uncertain than ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The county-wide electric company, OPALCO, is promoting a vampire-energy awareness campaign with bat rings and whistles and vampire teeth.
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.
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.
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.
I write to set out the facts in the Parks Bay case,…
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.
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.
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.
To the Fire Department: