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Thursday, July 31st

Ballots In The Mail



ig_08_Ballots-1 (42k image) Doris Schaller Loads Ballots

Wednesday afternoon, San Juan County Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller and her staff loaded trays of envelopes containing ballots to be metered and sent to the Post Office Thursday. She reports that her department will mail 11,005 ballots for the August 19th primary election by the end of day July 31.

Letters have also gone out to the last known addresses of 1,229 voters termed “inactive” because the last ballot or voter registration card sent to them was returned as undeliverable.
[more..]


Stormwater Ord Bogs Down



The County Council Stormwater Subcommittee has presented a new draft ordinance to the County Prosecutor’s office for legal review.

At the Monday County Work session, Subcommittee Chair Rich Peterson informed the rest of the council that “we are not going to meet our self imposed deadline of having a stormwater ordinance ready for circulation” by the end of July.

Peterson cited one reason for the delay is “the draft of the new ordinance rests in the Prosecutor’s office, and they have simply not found the time to get back to us.”

Councilman Bob Myhr expressed his concern that “this has been going on for eight months now” and said he “would like to see at least the key bullet points of the draft” so he could see the direction the subcommittee is going.

[more..]


West Coast Governors Ocean Action Plan



The Governors of California, Oregon and Washington today joined together via satellite to launch a historic action plan to address challenging ocean and coastal management issues along the West Coast.

The West Coast Governors’ Ocean Action Plan is the result of a 2006 agreement signed by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

The regional agreement, known as the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health , forged a long-term partnership to tackle obstacles facing the Pacific Ocean and its coastal communities.

To support the states’ agreement, a federal working group, co-led by the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been established and will work with the states in implementing the actions.

[more..]


Wednesday, July 30th

SJC Proposed As: Critical Aquifer Recharge Area



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(Representation of an aquifer system (Jones, 1999))

A Public Hearing is scheduled to take testimony on a recommended proposal to make all of San Juan County a Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA), and may result in a number of new, and/or changes to, land use regulations, including “prohibited land uses”

On Friday, August 8, 2008 the Planning Commission held a public hearing on proposed code changes that have been recommended to “improve the protection of groundwater in the County.”

The hearing is just one of a number of steps in the ongoing process of updating the controversial Critical Area Ordinance that the County is currently working on.

The proposed ordinance updates terminology to be consistent with the County Charter and current Critical Area laws and regulations; designates all of San Juan County a Critical Aquifer Recharge Area (CARA), and in so doing will:


[more..]


Tuesday, July 29th

Engine Fire Forces Water Landing Off Stuart


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(A West Coast Air deHavilland -file photo by "Tom")

On Monday a call came into the Sheriff’s dispatcher that a boat was on fire off of Stuart Island. Close, but not quite right. According to reporting Officer Under Sheriff John Zerby the report was changed to “a plane down in the water with an engine fire.”

Although the news seemed to be going from bad to worse, the reality was that a deHavilland Twin engine Otter plane operated by West Coast Air out of Vancouver had, in the words of pilot Tyler Simpson, lost one of the engines when “the right engine just blew and caught on fire.”

The good news was the deHavilland was equipped with floats, and the pilot was able to safely land the plane on the states largest landing area, the water.

When the first responders arrived they found the plane sitting in the water with no fire or smoke, and the two passengers on a sail boat that had observed the landing, and then had come to the aid of the crew and passengers. The Friday Harbor Fire Boat and the Coast Guard also were on scene.

First Officer Cullen Worth remained on the plane as it was towed to Roche Harbor by Vessel Assist. The pilot and the two passengers were taken by the Sheriff’s boat to the Roche Harbor Customs office, and then left aboard another West Coast Airplane to continue their trip.


[link]


New Fund To Support FH Anniversary



The San Juan Island Community Foundation’s Board of Directors has created a designated Centennial Fund for the Friday Harbor centennial celebration that will be held in 2009.

The Centennial Fund will help focus donors on ways they can support this community-wide historic milestone by supporting local non-profits working on projects and events related to Anniversary celebration

“There are a growing number of projects and grant requests being brought to the Community Foundation related to the Centennial. We decided to create this Fund to emphasize and coordinate the need for philanthropic support,” said Barbara von Gehr, Foundation Board Treasurer and SJICF Coordinator for Arts & Culture.

[more..]


Monday, July 28th

SJI Transfer Station EIS Released



The 266 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the San Juan Island Transfer Station Replacement Project will be released -drum roll please- at approximately 11 a.m. at the regular Monday Council/Staff Work Session Meeting of the San Juan County Council.

The release is being called “a landmark in the process begun by the County Council in 2006 when it tasked the Public Works Department and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, a citizen’s committee appointed by the Council, with studying the replacement of the current transfer station.”

The existing site currently does not meet health and safety codes after the cover over the dumping area was removed, and not replaced.

[more..]


Guest Editorial



ig_Vickie_Churchill-2 (35k image)By Vickie I.Churchill

As one of two former judges in San Juan County Superior Court, both Judge Hancock and I have been in a unique position to watch and to evaluate Judge John Linde, both as an attorney and as our judge pro tem.

There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Linde is the best person for this job. You have the chance to make history with your vote. After 100 years of being in a judicial district with another county, you now have your own court.


[more..]


Orcas Island HS Class Of 1988


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Orcas Island High School, Class of 1988 Celebrated its 20th Class Reunion Saturday, July 26th on Orcas Island.

Jennifer Owens organized events on the island and many class members traveled from across the country to attend (while many others were with us in spirit).



[link]


Saturday, July 26th

Islanders Helping Out At Homes For Islanders


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(Front row: Bianca Tobon Back row: L to R: Jim Cox, Dave Vandaveer, Ary Hobbel, Jim Knych, Dan Sorgen, Rex Stickle, Lynn Motko, Mike Nachlinger)

This group has been volunteering regularly to help David Tobon’s family fulfill the required 35 hours per week of work to maintain their eligibility for their Homes for Islanders Home. David’s National Guard Unit has been called up to serve in the Middle East and he is away in his final training before departure.

Any other islanders wishing to help volunteer can go to the Homes for Islanders site on Guard Street. You can volunteer any time Wednesday through Sunday. Either Fred Marracci or Susan Ross will help you sign up. Time commitment can vary according to your own schedule.



[link]


Friday, July 25th

Harriet Spanel Endorses Ken Henderson



ig_Harriet_Spanel-1 (33k image)(official photo)

Harriet Spanel has announced that she is endorsing Ken Henderson over Kevin Ranker in the race for the 40th District Senate seat.

Ranker may feel like he is sitting on a seesaw, first he is up with the endorsement of his party, then down when one of the big dogs in the party, Dave Quall endorses opponent Henderson, but back up again when Jeff Morris came on board.

Now that Spanel has joined in with Quall, her considerable political weight may be enough to keep Henderson elevated above Ranker. Then again, kind of like the weather around here, not happy with it, wait a day; things are bound to change again.

[more..]


Thursday, July 24th

Land Bank’s Shoreline Preserve Benefits



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(Students from Orcas Island Elementary School’s 5th grade classes participate in beach seining and exploration of the tidelands at Deer Harbor Waterfront Park with the San Juan Nature Institute.)

Press Release: Two acres with over 650 feet of marine shoreline in Deer Harbor have undergone a transformation under the ownership of the San Juan County Land Bank.

Slated for residential development in 2004, the property was on the market and caught the attention of members of the community and the Land Bank because of its potential for public shoreline access and preserved open-space in the active heart of the Deer Harbor Hamlet.


[more..]


SJI Firefighters Deployed To Wildland Fire



Friday Harbor: Late last evening, Tuesday July 22nd, the San Juan Island Fire Department dispatched two firefighters and a wildland fire engine to assist firefighters attempting to contain a 1,500-plus acre wildland fire near Trinidad near the Grant-Douglass County line in eastern Washington.

At one point, more than 200 people had been evacuated from the path of the fire, which has been fed by dry grass and strong winds.

Lieutenant Jason Wood and Firefighter Kyle Davies responded in “Brush 312”, one of the San Juan Island Fire Department’s specialized wildland firefighting vehicles. They are scheduled to be assigned to the “Stuhlmiller Road” fire.

[more..]


Wednesday, July 23rd

Guest Editorial



ig_Alan_Hancock-2 (29k image)By Alan R. Hancock

The contested August 19 primary election for Superior Court Judge is an issue of vital public importance. I fully support Judge John Linde and urge everyone to vote for him.

I had the privilege of serving as a Superior Court Judge for San Juan County for 19 years. It was a great honor and one of the best experiences of my life. I care deeply about San Juan County, its people, and its environment. Though my wife Elizabeth and I live on Whidbey Island, we recently built a small home on San Juan Island and love spending time there.

Naturally, I have a strong interest in who my successor will be.


[more..]


Council Hearing On $3M Dock Purchase



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(Land & dock proposed for purchase next to Orcas Ferry Landing)


The County Council has moved to purchase water front property and a dock for public marine access next to the Orcas Ferry landing.

The proposed purchase would be funded by road fund money. Public Works Director Jon Shannon presented a report to the Council that explained the purchase can be accomplished by “borrowing $3,000,000,00 from the State Treasurer’s “local option Capital Asset lending )LOCAL) program” by selling a bond. The terms are 4.48% interest for twenty years.

Shannon said Public Works has applied for a state grant, and hopes to receive $500,000 or more that would be available in 2009 to help off-set the cost of the purchase. With respect to county debt, Shannon reminded the council that Public Works is currently spending $212,000.00 a year (2% of the annual budget) in debt service for past bonding projects, such as the purchase of the La Farge defunct gravel pit property on San Juan Island, that was purchased by direction of the council..

Shannon made it clear to the council members that the Orcas land and dock purchase will increase the annual debt service (i.e. paying for the right to have borrowed the money) by $228,000.00 -or 4% of the annual budget; but the debt will be less if grant money is obtained.

[more..]


Tuesday, July 22nd

Appeal Filed on Fireworks Ban



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(Don Burkhart of Blakely Island files appeal)



The recently passed ordinance banning all “safe & sane” personal fireworks in San Juan County has been challenge. Don Burkhart has filed a formal appeal with the County Auditor under section 5.40 of the home rule charter.

Mr. Burkhart and his Advocacy group’s "Fireworks Unrestricted" appeal now goes to the Auditor and Prosecuting Attorney for formal review and wording, followed by a 120 day signature-gathering period. (See related story "4th Of July Traditions")

If successful in gathering the necessary signatures, the voters will be afforded an opportunity to vote down the ordinance banning fireworks.

"It took six County Commissioners a mere 45 days to snuff out two centuries of American tradition", says spokesperson Don Burkhart, "Who's in charge here anyway, our paid professionals or the people who pay their salaries? Three of the six are up for election this year, so I guess "We the People" know where to start."

[more..]


4th Of July Traditions



(The following statement was given to us as background on the appeal of the fireworks ban, [story above] and we felt it worth sharing with our readers. -Editor)

By Don Burkhart

A funny thing happened on the way to the 4th of July celebration. Our employees, whom we have hired to serve our interests, protect our way of life, and assist in our collective health and safety, now turn the tables. No longer are they taking orders from us, but instead issuing them to us.

San Juan County Ordinance 28-2008 (the fireworks ban) is surely an example of such hubris. How did this come to pass? By our passivity. By our simple acceptance without objection. By not standing up and saying, "No, you work for us. You will perform your duties within the construct that we as a collective people define desirable for our way of life"

This ordinance was crafted by our Fire and Medical personnel, under the banner of "public health and safety", reasoning reserved for those instances where no other viable reason can be found, and one that is secondary in suspicion of motive only to "The Whales". "One injury is one too many", testifies San Juan Island Fire Department Chief Steve Marler.

[more..]


Monday, July 21st

SJ & B C Coroners Looking At Feet



Officials in British Columbia have asked for information which could determine if there is a connection between human remains found in San Juan County in 2007 and a human foot recovered with a shoe on Valdes Island more than a year later.

On July 17, 2008, the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) requested DNA analysis of skeletal remains that were found on Orcas Island in March 2007.

According to San Juan County Coroner Randy Gaylord, the partial skeleton - with feet, hands and an arm missing - was found by a hiker on a remote beach west of Point Lawrence in March 2007. At that time records noted the missing feet.


[more..]


Today: Puget Sound Partnership Workshop



The Puget Sound Partnership is hosting another round of public workshops, this time to solicit input on local priorities for an Action Agenda to restore and protect Puget Sound. The workshop in Friday Harbor is from 1 to 4 p.m. The meeting will be held at the SJI High School, on Blair Ave.


“Whether you live, work or play on Puget Sound, or just enjoy its undeniable beauty, you have a stake in its recovery -and I hope, feel a sense of responsibility to pass on its legacy to future generations,” said David Dicks, executive director of the Partnership.

“The broad, enthusiastic public participation in the development of the Action Agenda has been overwhelming so far, and we look forward to further conversations throughout the month of July,” Dicks said.


[more..]


SJI Transfer Station EIS Draft Out 7-28



The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the San Juan Island transfer station project will be released to the public on Monday, July 28. The release marks the beginning of a 45-day public comment period.

The County has scheduled two public information meetings in August, followed by a public hearing on September 4 to take oral and written comments on the plan. Written comments and questions about the DEIS will be accepted until the cut-off date of September 12, 2008.

The Environmental Impact Statement analysis was initiated in late 2006 after the County Council, responding to recommendations from the Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) =a citizens’ advisory committee- directed Public Works (PW) to work with the advisory committee as PW began studies on the siting of a solid waste facility to replace the current San Juan Island facility. The existing facility is located on Sutton Road on property leased from the town of Friday Harbor.

[more..]


Saturday, July 19th

Fire Camp Class On Orcas


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(Front Row: Connor Dean, Dimitri Pence, Bryce Hohn, Arianna Dean and Ariahan Tidrignton. Back Row: Rich Harvey, Kelsey Whitaker, Alex Grantham, Cassidy Donaldson, Violet Kissel, Bailey Johnson and Maxx Jones.)

YMCA FireCamp Students took a field trip to the Orcas Island Fire Department to learn about Wildland Firefighting. It was part of an outstanding new Fire Wise program teaching young people ways they can to prevent wildfire from burning homes.


[link]


Morris Endorses Kevin Ranker



ig_RANKER-7 (31k image)The campaign of 40th District Democratic Party Nominee for State Senate, Kevin Ranker, bounced back from the blow of Quall’s endorsement of Ken Henderson this week when Representative Jess Morris countered with his endorsement of Ranker.

Ranker’s committee sent out a press release stating that Ranker “continued to build momentum this week with the endorsement of longtime 40th LD State Representative Jeff Morris (D-Anacortes.)
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Friday, July 18th

Quall Endorses Ranker Opponent



ig_Ken_Henderson-1 (33k image)40th District representative Dave Quall’s endorsement today of 40th District Senate candidate Ken Henderson (photo left) may represent a fatal blow to the aspirations of County Councilman Kevin Ranker’s bid to represent the 40th district Senate seat.

The endorsement may make Henderson the front runner against Republican Steve Van Luven, who has been making trips to San Juan County in his bid for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Harriet Spanel.

[more..]


Open letter to Parliament Member Keith Martin:



ig_MP_Keith_Martin-1 (34k image)(The following letter from Gordy Petersen was sent to Liberal Minister of Parliament Keith Martin -photo right)

Dear Mr. Martin,

From the recent coverage “ “Victoria sewage raising a stink on San Juans” and a video that was broadcast in the local news, I understand that you wish a public apology from me for saying that the plastic feminine hygiene debris I found on the beaches of neighboring San Juan Island was flushed down Victoria’s toilets. I am truly sorry. Yes these items are gross. I am not absolutely certain they came from your toilets. The evidence is circumstantial.

I think you may have missed my point. My point was that there are people living just 10 miles across Haro Straight that are very concerned about the untreated sewage that comes our way on the tide. I don’t understand why some of your top scientists and health professionals think it is pure and natural to pollute the sea with raw sewage.

[more..]


Stay Current On Immunizations



Several recent disease outbreaks in Washington and across the country show the importance of keeping immunizations up-to-date. Three vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in the last four months in our state serve as an example that we can’t let our guard down. They include whooping cough (pertussis), measles, and chickenpox; with Island County whooping cough the most recent example.
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Cole Certified As A Chief Medical Officer



ig_SJI_Jim_Cole-1 (30k image)(SJI EMS photo
San Juan Island EMS Chief Jim Cole has been designated a Chief Medical Officer by the Commission on Professional Credentialing of the Center for Public Safety Excellence. This national certification is awarded by the Commission as confirmation of the education, professional contributions, leadership and management skills required for the most senior positions in the emergency services profession.

“We congratulate Jim on achieving this professional milestone,” said Lenore Bayuk, chair of the San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 Board. “Jim’s vision and exemplary professional skills are assets we all appreciate and benefit from.”

[more..]


Thursday, July 17th

Art Museum & Westcott Bay Unite



For the past seven months, WBI & VAM have been discussing ways in which they could better serve the community by working together.

In a retreat held July 13th, the Boards of the Westcott Bay Institute for Art & Nature (the Sculpture Park and the Island Museum of Art) and the Visual Arts Museum (VAM) agreed to a full “merger” to be effective January 1, 2009.

They will, however, begin partnering immediately. The two groups will share a booth at the upcoming San Juan County Fair and continue with all their planned exhibitions, lectures, shows, and educational programs.


[more..]


Wednesday, July 16th

Petersen Has Stirred It Up In Victorian



A story by Times Colonist Rob Shaw headlined “ “Victoria sewage raising a stink on San Juans”, (and a related story in the Vancouver Sun) focuses on a You/Tube video made by Mr. Petersen, which suggests if we “apply economic pressure on the residents and leaders in Victoria” they may take greater action to treat their sewage.

Petersen is quoted in the Colonist story as telling the reporter: "The more people who understand the problem, the more tourism is going to suffer in your town." The story also contains quotes from some of the other candidates that had responded to the question on what they would do to “influence the government of B.C to stop the release of raw sewage.”

[more..]


Report Derelict Fishing Gear



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(Otter in net -NSI photo)

In the San Juan Islands, there is an average of 13 derelict fishing nets per shoreline mile, with much higher local concentrations in heavily fished areas. Nets continue to catch marine life indiscriminately and can significantly smother and/or damage marine habitats.

In San Juan county in August 2006 a fishing boat suffered mechanical problems and had to be towed in to port. The net was cut because the boat equipment could not function to bring it on board. The boat captain reported the incident and provided the location to the derelict gear hotline hosted by WDFW (Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife).

The net was removed seven days later, but after only a week in the water, the impact of this single net was astounding. Found in the net were:

[more..]


Tuesday, July 15th

Candidates For Judge Sign Pledge



The Washington Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns (Committee) has announced that 14 of 15 candidates for the state Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals have signed a pledge to conduct their campaigns with integrity and in a manner that promotes the election of an independent judiciary.

San Juan County Judge John O. Linde announced that. “To make it clear where I stand and reaffirm my commitment to fair and ethical conduct in the non-partisan campaign to elect our Superior Court Judge, I am joining many appellate court judicial candidates in taking the Washington Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns Candidate’s Pledge.”

The Linde campaign has expressed concern about “A recent letter in the Sounder and damage to campaign signs indicates an unfortunate turn in the campaign for Superior Court Judge.” In a press release, Judge Linde said “Neither I nor any member of my committee will impugn the dignity, integrity or independence of my opponent.”


[more..]


SJC Democrats Ready To Go


//Press Release//: The San Juan County Democrats are at it again! As the 2008 Presidential election cycle gears up they are opening a headquarters which will be known as "Democracy Corner". The headquarters, located at 28 N. 1st Street, is just down the hill from the Whale Museum.

Opening hours are 12:00n until 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week. The office, run entirely through volunteer efforts, is designed to be a place to pick up campaign material, talk politics, watch debates and plan efforts for the Fall campaign season. Those wishing to get involved should drop in to Democracy Corner.

There are two scheduled closings of note: from June 17 through the 20th for a private event (Lummi art show), and during the County Fair from August 13 through the 17th.


[link]


Sunday, July 13th

What Gorgeous Weather!


ig_Barn_G_Bay-1 (42k image)
[link]


Saturday, July 12th

WSF Wants Your Opinion



Over the past several months, the State Transportation Commission has been involved in a comprehensive effort to gather data on ferry customers to help the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Ferries Division (WSF) and our state’s decision makers identify comprehensive solutions that will meet the needs of its customers in the future.

As part of this effort, beginning in mid-July and continuing through mid-August, Opinion Research Northwest will be conducting a second survey of ferry riders on-board more than 150 randomly selected ferry trips. All routes will be surveyed as part of this comprehensive survey effort.

[more..]


Friday, July 11th

SJC Fire Firefighters In E. Wash


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(Northwest Strike Team at a fire last year on the Handford Reservation -OFD file photo).

San Juan County fire departments from the Orcas Island Fire Departmen, San Juan and several local fire districts have responded to fires now burning out of control in eastern Washington.

Firefighters from all over the State are sending what help they can to help in the effort. One fire, east of Wenatchee, is now considered a threat to the Bonneville Power lines.

Firefighters Tad Lean and David Howitt from San Juan Island plus Chad Kimple and Perry Pruett are manning brush engines from both islands. Noel Monin from San Juan Fire District 3 is the Strike Team Leader.

[link]


Regulation Concerns On BC Aquaculture




Lack of adequate regulations to control salmon farming in BC have grown since the recent escape of 30,000 Atlantic salmon from a fish farm, and concerns are not allayed by compliance with weak regulations.

The BC Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA) has denounced the BC Government’s 2007 salmon aquaculture regulatory compliance report that was released on Thursday.

Regulations of the salmon farming industry are woefully inadequate and even full compliance would not adequately protect our marine ecosystems from the negative impacts.

"High industry compliance with inadequate regulations that fail to protect wild salmon and the marine environment is nothing to celebrate", says Michelle Young , Salmon Aquaculture Campaigner.

[more..]


Thursday, July 10th

Swimming the Crossing for Breast Cancer


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(Ready for July's swim (left) and Damien swimming in Eastsound, May 8, 2007 (photo by Dick Rudd)

20 Hours in 50 degree F water, swimming over two days in support of the Breast Cancer Treatment Support Mission Project, Orcas Island resident and photojournalist, Damien Stark will swim a 19.5 mile route from the Anacortes ferry terminal to Orcas Island and then Orcas Island to San Juan Island over the weekend of July 26th and 27th.

The swim is to raise awareness, and funds, for the Breast Cancer Treatment Support Mission Project (360/378-4474). This San Juan County Health and Community Service, funded by the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation (Puget Sound Affiliate, www.komen.org ) since 2002, provides travel cost support in the form of ferry tickets, and gas and mileage reimbursement to San Juan County residents with breast cancer seeking diagnostic or treatment services on the mainland.

During 2007, with the assistance of the Komen Foundation, the Breast Cancer Treatment Support Mission Project served 29 San Juan County-based women by covering $20,000 in travel expenses.

Read full story
[link]


Wednesday, July 9th

Small Grass Fire On Mt. Dallas


At approximately 3:00 pm Wednesday, a fire started in the 700 address area of Mt. Dallas on San Juan Island. Fire Fighters are on scene, and are expected to have the fire under control this afternoon. The size of the area is estimated to be 3/4 of an acre

We will post photos and additional information once it becomes available.
[link]


Septic System Inspection Classes Fill Up



ig_Bob_Myhr-5 (55k image)



County Councilman Bob Myhr (pictured above) recently joined other San Juan County property owners in signing up for a class that upon graduation allow them to have a choice when it comes to meeting the new requirements of septic system inspections.

Making the choice to take the dlass can save them $350-$550 in costs to have their septic tanks inspected by a licensed professional, or take a free one-day, two-and-a-half hour course given by the County Health and Community Services Department, then perform the inspection themselves. Since the program began in March, septic tank owners have filled almost all of the classes on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Islands to capacity and the participants have given the program rave reviews.

[more..]


Lopez & Orcas Wildland Firefighters



ig_SJ_FIRE-WildFireClass-1 (45k image)(Fire department photo)
A live fire exercise capped the San Juan Island Fire Department’s annual wildland firefighter class that was held during the last two weekends of June.

Members of the Orcas and Lopez Island fire departments joined new and current members of San Juan Island Fire in earning their “Red Cards”; the nationally recognized certificate of competency in wildland firefighting.

New San Juan Island Fire members include Evan Anderson, Slava Caireac, Kate Hunter, and Jessica Merlino; department members Daven Holzer, Pat Merlino and Julie Owens joined them. Jason Madieros of Orcas Is. Fire and Heather Harris of Lopez Is. Fire also completed the training.


[more..]


Tuesday, July 8th

Reduced Bonding Proposed For Development



Community Development & Planning Director Ron Hendrickson gave an explanation at the Monday morning County Council meeting on what a performance bond is, and why they are used. The presentation raised more questions than it answered, and led to some strong comments from Councilman Gene Knapp on the need for fairness and equal treatment of everyone.

Henrickson began the presentation by explaining the bonds were used to insure work required by a permit would be completed on a project by having money held -by bonding or cash- that the County could use to complete a project if the owner failed to act.

Henrickson said a proposed change in the regulations would allow the Administrator to “make a reduction or different amount for affordable housing.” Henrickson said it was acceptable to do this, because affordable housing is a goal in the Comprehensive Plan.

There are a lot of goals in the Comprehensive Plan, and Councilman Gene Knapp asked Henrickson “is this for a specific project? Is this why it comes up now?”

[more..]


Beware Blue-Green Ponds



Now that summer is officially here, so is toxic blue-green algae in lakes. The tainted water can make children and adults sick, and even kill pets and livestock.

This year the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) freshwater algae control program offers an online, searchable database that allows people to find out which lakes have had outbreaks of toxic algae. The tool helps local health agencies and the public keep up to date with the latest testing information.

"Local health departments and lake residents are out there testing lakes, and we are collecting a lot of data. We decided to put all of the results in one location so everybody could see them," said Ecology's lakes expert, Kathy Hamel. "Now everybody can get up-close and personal information about local lakes to keep their families and pets safe."

[more..]


Monday, July 7th

Governor Spends Day On Orcas


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(Governor Christine Gregoire with kids at Orcas July parade -D.N. Kinsey photo)

Governor Gregoire and First Gentleman Mike Gregoire flew to Orcas for a full day of events as part of the 4th of July weekend. Shortly after the parade Governor Gregoire held a Town Hall meeting at the Orcas Center.
ig_Gov_Orcas_Linde-01 (43k image) (C. Linde photo)
Following the parade.the Governor took time from her busy schedule to have a private meeting with Judge Linde to discuss his campaign and to wish him well

Judge Linde had a full day of campaigning and meeting with friends and supporters on Orcas Island on Saturday, July 5th.

The day started with the Pancake Breakfast put on by the Orcas Fire Department, followed by Judge Linde’s participation in the traditional 4th (5th) of July parade in Eastsound sponsored by the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce.

Shortly after the parade Governor Gregoire held a Town Hall meeting at the Orcas Center.

Judge Linde finished the busy day with a delicious smoked salmon dinner put on by the Lion’s Club. When Governor Gregoire arrived there was yet another opportunity for her words of encouragement. The Governor is the Honorary Chair of the Committee to Retain Judge Linde as San Juan County Superior Court Judge.

[link]


Atlantic Salmon Escape From Pens



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(Marine Harvest Canada photo)

If it’s not one thing, it’s another when it comes to trying to protect the west coast salmon runs, and 30,000 Atlantic Salmon getting out of their pens in Canada is no help at all.

“These are adult fish and we know that they compete with the Pacific Salmon for food, habitat and spawning opportunities,” noted Ruby Berry of the Georgia Strait Alliance.

Georgia Strait Alliance and Homalco First Nation have expressed their dismay and anger about the Canada Day escape of 30,000 Atlantic Salmon from the Fredrick Arm Marine Harvest farm in the northern Georgia Strait.

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Sunday, July 6th

Orcas Island July 4th 8:15 P.M.



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(D. N. Kinsey photo)

On just hours before the fireworks display in Eastsound,
the Orcas Island Fire Department was called to the
area of Orcas Road and Dolphin Bay Road

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Saturday, July 5th

4th Of July 2008


ig_08_4th-1_374 (89k image)
The Grand Marshall of the Friday Harbor Parade was Dodie Gann

Click Here For Parade Photos
[link]


Thursday, July 3rd

Fighting Polio & Rocking The Dock On 4th


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(Rocking The Dock in FH last year with the Timebenders)

Friday, July 4, The San Juan Rotary Club once again packed them in as folks got out their blue suede shoes and showed up to dance to the popular show band Timebenders of Victoria B.C. that returned to the Friday Harbor waterfront with their All-Ages Rock and Roll Revival, to help Rotary fight polio.

Proceeds from this years “Rock the Dock” will go towards polio eradication. Rotary International and its global partners are committed to reaching every child with the polio vaccine and ending this disease worldwide.

Polio cases have declined 99 percent since the 1980’s when the program began. 2 billion children have been immunized, 5 million spared disability, and over 250,000 deaths have been prevented.

The ticket purchases -and donations that can still be made- will help to continue this work.

[link]


Wednesday, July 2nd

Twin Checks For Twin Sisters


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Dispatcher Gary Gibbons and Deputy James Tyrrell of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office had the privilege of awarding two scholarships from the Washington Council of Police and Sheriff’s (WACOPS) in the amount of $1,000.00 each to twin sisters.

Ursula and Amelia Stegman of Friday Harbor were presented the scholarships, on the lawn of the County Courthouse. The girls are the daughters of Dave and Yolanda Stegman.

Dave is a Dispatcher with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Tyrell represents the San Juan County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild in WACOPS and Dispatcher Gibbons represents the San Juan County Communications Officers on the Council.

The Council works with elected officials in an advisory capacity for issues affecting Law Enforcement Statewide. This is an honor, to have a couple of young ladies selected from our community, for such recognition.

[link]


Whales May Help Marine Birds



What do gray whales and ducks have in common? Not much, but recent research suggests that growth in gray whale populations may have unexpected benefits for other marine animals in trouble, such as diving sea ducks.

The recently published research was funded by the University of California at Davis SeaDoc Society.
SeaDoc Society Director Joe Gaydos, based on Orcas Island, Washington, said the finding was made in 2006 by Eric Anderson and Jim Lovvorn of the University of Wyoming as they studied the feeding ecology of ducks called scoters.

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Tuesday, July 1st

July 15 Cut-Off For Conservation Program



Washington’s most popular agricultural conservation program, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), now has a new application ranking cut-off date of July 15.

EQIP is a voluntary, cost- share assistance program that helps conservation practices including those aimed at helping farmers and forest land owners improve irrigation efficiency; manage nutrient run-off and/or animal waste; improve the health of native plant communities; and reduce soil loss.

In most instances, producers who participate in the program pay for roughly half of the costs of the conservation measures or practices.


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