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
Martha Warachowski at the OPALCO display at the County Fair.

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
Martha Warachowski at the OPALCO display at the County Fair.

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

Remove barcodes from county ballots

San Juan County should drop its ballot-tracking system until a better system is found. We have a right to cast a secret ballot, a right guaranteed by the state Constitution. While the current ballot-tracking system is well-intentioned, it is possible — improbable, yes, but not impossible — to identify a voter and how he or she voted. And that’s violates the secret-ballot provision of the state Constitution. How important is a secret ballot? Ask voters in Zimbabwe.

  • Aug 5th, 2008

Response to Orcas Fire Department coverage

To the Islands’ Sounder:

  • Aug 5th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

There were two letters concerning the upcoming election for our Superior Court Judge in the July 9th issue of the Sounder. One which commented favorably about our Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, the other was a mean-spirited attack on our Superior Court Judge John Linde. The former is the appropriate way citizens should express their opinion and support for any candidate running for elected office. The latter was nothing but character assassination and an attempt to interject partisanship in a non-partisan election.

  • Jul 30th, 2008

What can I do?

When a relative or friend is fighting cancer, we often feel limited in what we can do to help and support them. And our neighbors are a curious blend of relative (we don’t choose them) and friend (we do choose them).

  • Jul 23rd, 2008

Clarification to Fire/Medics Interim Division Chiefs proposal

RE: Editorial “Haste makes Waste”

  • Jul 22nd, 2008

Orcas Interim Division Chief plans a bad idea

The Fire District Commissioners should not authorize an interim contract to hire the Fire/Medics to assume the duties of Assistant Fire Chief. The interim contract, proposed to start Aug. 1, would organize the Fire/Medics as three Division Chiefs to undertake the Assistant Chief’s duties.

  • Jul 19th, 2008

San Juan County needs to enforce permit rules

San Juan County needs to make a priority of enforcement of its development regulations.

  • Jul 16th, 2008

High fire danger means only recreational fires

Robert Low, San Juan County Fire Marshal announced on June 30 that starting July 1, the fire danger in San Juan County will go up to high.

  • Jul 10th, 2008

Waldron Candidates Forum

On Saturday, July 12, from 2 to 4 p.m., the Waldron Community Meeting (WCM) will host a candidates’ forum for the Orcas West District of the County Council and Judicial Candidates. Those wishing to attend may arrange transportation by calling Waldron Freight at 360-317 8041 or provide their own. The WCM will provide transportation to and from the Waldron dock. Please confirm at 360-317-8380. Each candidate will have five to ten minutes to present their position, followed by a question and answer session. Candidates are asked to bring their latest donor list and any literature to distribute.

  • Jul 10th, 2008

Orcas Family Health Center to expand cardiology services

Less than a year ago, Bellingham-based North Cascades Cardiology (NCC) initiated an outreach program to serve the residents of the San Juan Islands by having one of their cardiologists see patients in Friday Harbor one day per month. With the success of that clinic, beginning July 18, NCC will now begin serving the residents of Orcas Island.

  • Jul 10th, 2008

Orcas Medical Center expands skin treatment

“Most skin conditions that cause Orcas Island residents to make appointments with mainland dermatologists now can be addressed at Orcas Medical Center,” said the Medical Center’s Dr. Anthony Giefer, “thanks in part to equipment such as our new palm-sized Dermatoscope.”

  • Jul 10th, 2008

Council hears from local transportation service

Representatives from Orcas Island Shuttle, Island Energy Systems and the Agricultural Resources Committee spoke to the County Council at its June 24 meeting on Orcas Island.

  • Jul 10th, 2008

Youngren tells County Council of energy alternatives

Eric Youngren, whose new business, Island Energy Systems, creates small-scale “kits” for home-use alternative energy systems, addressed the County Council regarding solar and renewable energy on June 24.

  • Jul 10th, 2008

ARC reports to Council on farm sustainability

Tim Clark, Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) Farm Preservation Coordinator, spoke to the County Council on June 24.

  • Jul 10th, 2008