Opinion

Letters?to the?editor

Windermere agents beautify school grounds

  • Jun 24th, 2008

Wrightsman counsels middle and high school

Like many of the teachers at Orcas Island High/Middle School, Nancy Wrightsman constantly changes her job “hats.” Arriving on Orcas Island in 1995, she already had many years of teaching experience behind her. She taught as a substitute for one year and then accepted the job of school counselor. Wrightsman remains in that position, but also teaches classes both in the middle and high school.

  • Jun 24th, 2008

Superintendent sets the tone for district

School’s out for summer, but not for the Superintendent, Glenn Harris. His desk, as usual, is covered with paperwork for 15 to 20 projects demanding documentation, decisions, consultation, research, communication, or all of the above.

  • Jun 24th, 2008

Stewards of the future

In thinking about and reporting on the school budget situation, we’ve gone into the records from last year, and those from the Sounder archives two, three and four years back. And we’re struck by the progress that has been made.

  • Jun 24th, 2008

More thoughts on the Border Patrol protecting the U.S. from San Juan Islanders

I have often been prompted to write concerning the Border Patrol actions at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, but others have already expressed excellent points of view over the past four months. But two recent events have finally spurred me to action. The first was that I ran across a lead article on the subject in this week’s Seattle Weekly, with the great cover “Rough Seize – kicking Juans out of the San Juans,” in which several Orcas Islanders told their stories. The second: today (June 18) getting herded into the customs enclosure in Anacortes yet again (fifth time) for a citizenship check. So here goes.

  • Jun 24th, 2008

A time to fly for Orcas graduates

At the graduation ceremonies signaling the beginning of a new era for 22 Orcas High School graduates, it was difficult to leave, not only because of the celebration and happiness, but also because the time when we could look out for them, guide them and watch over them is ending.

  • Jun 17th, 2008
Orcas Elementary Principal Tom Gobeske

Orcas principals see both big picture and details of education

Continually visualizing the “big picture” while supervising the academic infrastructure to meet the needs of the individual students is the on-going charge for the Orcas Island School District school principals. Tom Gobeske oversees the K-6 elementary school program while Barbara Kline cares for the Orcas Island Middle School, High School, OASIS, and Waldron Island schools. They are both visible in their schools and strive to know their students. Both have many years of teaching and principal experience, although Kline has been with the district for about 20 years and Gobeske has just completed his first year at Orcas Elementary.

  • Jun 17th, 2008
Orcas Elementary Principal Tom Gobeske

County helps deliver veterans’ aid

The recently established San Juan County Veterans’ Advisory Board (VAB) has completed its initial planning and is pleased to announce the availability of San Juan County’s Veteran’s Assistance Fund (VAF).

  • Jun 11th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

The following Letter to the Editor articulates the position of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington regarding the Border Patrol’s questioning of passengers at the Anacortes ferry terminal.

  • Jun 10th, 2008
Business office staff Sara Morgan

The paper chase keeps the business office busy

When Sharron Mierau began her work as the Orcas Island School District (OISD) Administrative Secretary in 1987, the district did not own a computer. Board minutes were typed on a typewriter and the monthly enrollment reports were done by hand. Mierau is now the Human Resources Officer, and along with business and district office co-workers Sara Morgan, Ben Thomas, and Amber Johnson, she finds that a computer is essential to the organization and execution of daily work.

  • Jun 10th, 2008
Business office staff Sara Morgan
OIPP emphasizes the positive with lattes, treats and parent surveys

OIPP emphasizes the positive with lattes, treats and parent surveys

The Orcas Island Prevention Partnership (OIPP) is continuing its “Spotlight on the Positive” campaign for the parents of Orcas 6th-12th graders.

  • Jun 10th, 2008
OIPP emphasizes the positive with lattes, treats and parent surveys

Only the beginning

Their reasons for not completing high school until now are as varied as their futures undoubtedly will be – from needing to work for a living, to international travel interrupting senior year, to hospitalization, to personal family matters, to “not being able to get it together.”

  • Jun 10th, 2008

Orcas’ Coldwell Banker closure heralds end of an era

It is not being overly-dramatic to say that, with the closing of the Coldwell Banker Orcas Island (CBOI) office, an era has ended: the era when the real estate business flourished on Orcas Island, when prominent Realtors and Brokers such as Wally Gudgell, Stu Stevens and Rusty Post started their careers with Pat Pomeroy and Coldwell Banker Orcas Island.

  • Jun 6th, 2008

Stolen Olga flamingos were on display for breast cancer — Islands Letters to the Editor

If you are the individual who kidnapped the small flock of pink flamingos from my property on Olga Road, just past the south park entrance, you may not have realized that you flocked yourself. The birds were there to support a very important cause, Breast Cancer.

  • Jun 5th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

Immigration

  • May 27th, 2008

We shall never forget them …

Since the war for independence from Great Britain 232 years ago, almost 1.5 million Americans have died in wars and skirmishes: the American Revolution, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Iraq War. Spread over the life of the United States, that’s equal to 6,465 military deaths a year.

  • May 27th, 2008

Border Checkpoint at Washington State Ferries’ Anacortes Terminal

Dear Senators Murray, Cantwell, and Representative Larsen,

  • May 21st, 2008

Public school deserves all islanders’ support

We are at a crossroads as a school district and a community. Through declining enrollment, cost increases, state underfunding and, yes, past instances of spending beyond our means, our school district is facing record shortfalls. We cannot easily change inflationary factors, nor can we effect legislative changes overnight. We can, however, work on enhancing enrollment through outreach to our friends and neighbors. And we can work on ways to more efficiently provide the programs and opportunities we want our kids to enjoy. I believe our current School Board is committed to “righting the ship” responsibly and creatively.

  • May 21st, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

By now I trust all Orcas residents have had a chance to pick up one of the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 Visitor’s Guides. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to do so. The content may surprise you.

  • May 20th, 2008

Memorial Day: wars past and present and our Veterans

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day has its origins in May of 1866 in Waterloo, New York, where its citizens honored the Union war dead with flowers and flags placed at gravesites. First resisted by the South, the holiday gradually became a national “Decoration Day,” and, finally, our national official “Memorial Day” in 1967, with its traditional date of May 30 changed, in 1971, to the last Monday in May.

  • May 20th, 2008

It takes a district to run a school

While the federal and state governments fund Basic Education and “Title I” elements of public school programs, Orcas Island School District (OISD) has known for about a month now that their budget faces a projected $667,000 shortfall for the 2008-2009 school year.

  • May 20th, 2008

Vote for directors for OPALCO Editorial

Democrats in seven more states and two territories will vote or caucus in primaries by June 3. On Aug. 19, San Juan County residents will vote for candidates for three County Council positions, for Superior Court judge and for state legislature. On Nov. 4, we’ll make our final choice for those positions and for president.

  • May 12th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

  • May 6th, 2008

Appreciated police protection Beauty and the Beast remembered Deadly ivy Spurge laurel purged Oil leak shrugged off Center pride in community musical Pulling together for the long term The bully on the porch

We were recently subjected to a pleasant and gratifying experience at the hands of a United States government agency, specifically, the Border Patrol in Anacortes, as we disembarked from a domestic sailing of the WSF arriving from my home island, Shaw Island.

  • May 6th, 2008

Open letter to the O. I. community and the O. I. School Board

The Executive Board of the Orcas Education Association, on behalf of our membership, would like to express our concern about the Reduced Education Program Resolution passed by the school board on Wednesday, April 30. Our position is that budget cuts need to be kept as far away from the classroom as possible. The proposed drastic reduction of 21.6 percent of the certified teaching staff , as well as the cut of one principal are untenable.

  • May 6th, 2008

Economic Stimulus checks: Give where you live

The Economic Stimulus checks will start flowing to Orcas residents sometime in the next few weeks. Individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive $600 and couples earning up to $150,000 per year will receive $1200. The theory is that these checks will have a trickle charge effect on the economy. The hope is that you will spend your check when it hits your account. Multiply this spending by millions and this increase spending should jump start the lagging economy.

  • May 6th, 2008

An open letter to the Orcas Island School Board

As the coverage in the Sounder stated, and the editorial reiterated, “with a $667,000 deficit, everyone is going to be hurt.”

  • May 6th, 2008

Anybody paying attention?

A public petition and much outrage was expressed following the Fire Comissioners’ decision in January to formalize the salary of a Battalion Chief/Assistant Chief at $90,000 a year.

  • May 6th, 2008

Heroism island-style

Why is the Orcas Island School district facing a $667,000 projected deficit for the coming school year?

  • Apr 30th, 2008

Letters?to the?editor

Hardy souls clean up park

  • Apr 29th, 2008

Musician-in-residence sends letter to Orcas Island friends

Now that I am back from my travels of the past two months, many of my Pittsburgh friends are asking about the places I’ve been and the experiences I have had.  Berlin, Munich, San Diego all get their fair share of comment, but then when it comes to Orcas Island, the storytelling begins. New stories, new experiences, and above all: transforming ones. Ironically, it’s always the “others” who hear the stories, but I thought maybe you also might be interested to know how very much the week spent on Orcas meant to me.  

  • Apr 29th, 2008

Snow in April: hope emerges at Conservation Summit

It snowed Saturday April 19 on Lopez. That may have been appropriate for the day of the Conservation Summit which brought together at least a dozen local environmental groups and about 85 interested citizens. The environment and its supporters have been on-the-run in the San Juans lately, ironic in a political climate where supporters of environmental protection will likely make substantial political gains at the state and national level in the fall.

  • Apr 29th, 2008

School budget a valuable lesson

Guest opinion by Andrea and Hugh Hendrick

  • Apr 29th, 2008

EDITORIAL – TIME AND MONEY: A SENSE OF URGENCY AND RESTRAINT

Time and money: a sense of urgency and restraintWhen Franklin Roosevelt firsttook…

  • Apr 26th, 2008

GUEST OPINION – IS THE STATE ADEQUATELY FUNDING OUR SCHOOLS?

BY GLENN HARRISSpecial to the SounderHaving worked in public education for over…

  • Apr 26th, 2008

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Trail defenders miss pointThe recent spate of letters about the bicycle trail…

  • Apr 26th, 2008

EDITORIAL – A HELPING HAND

A helping handWorking together to accomplish goals – such as formulating a…

  • Apr 26th, 2008

GUEST OPINION – Open letter to the County Council

By PATTY PIRNACK-HAMILTON

  • Apr 26th, 2008

EDITORIAL – Taxpayers, tradeoffs and growing pains

The Orcas Island Fire District is not a democracy. It is a…

  • Apr 26th, 2008