Letters to Editor
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Friday, August 31st
Jim Nollman Art, Music, & Whales
Locals may know him as a gardener, a writer, a print maker, or a mandolin player, but Jim Nollman has long been recognized internationally as one of the top animal communication experts in the world. His work with whales and music has taken him to the Arctic several times, and to other exotic locations like the Azores, Tenerife, and the White Sea.
He has just returned from a trip to Tonga to conduct a musical interaction with humpback whales. Jim is best known for his 12 summers systematically researching communication with the orcas that reside off the northern coast of Vancouver Island, and on Friday night gave a presentation at the Whale Museum.
Rotary Bike Rest Ribbon cutting
President Jack McKenna and past president Diane Giesy cut the ribbon on the new Rotary Bike Rest located on Roche Harbor Road, near San Juan Vineyards. Local Rotarians and visiting Rotarians from LaConner, Anacortes and California were on hand for the ceremony.
This community service project is the result of Rotary volunteers, and the contributions of Bill Giesy, San Juan County Public Works, Jim Schuman, Schuman Excavating, Brad Gislason of Gislason Construction, Casey Baisch of Baisch Tree Service, Mike and Pat McKay of Island Concrete, John Evans of Evans Nursery, Joe Romano and Ace Hardware.
Pictured are Rotarians Phil Mayer, Mike Gallagher, Roger Frost, Ellen Johnson, Diane Giesy, Jack McKenna, Chuck Van Soye, Frank Fagan, Barbara Fagan, Jack Frisk, Tony Kubena and guest Judy Van Soye.
Thursday, August 30th
Is This The Current Agenda?
The County Council -and the Council Chairman in particular- have been criticized for not posting an updated agenda, and then while a meeting is taking place, changing the scheduled items that appear on the agenda.
The first to complain was Councilman Kevin Ranker, who mildly chastised Chairman Myhr for starting a Monday morning staff meeting prior to the published agenda time. As a result, members of the public -and Ranker- had to change plans and cancel scheduled meetings in order to attend the beginning of the Council meeting.
The criticism became angry, and came from all sides, when at a regular meeting of the Council a 10:30 discussion of “Council Budget Priorities for 2009” was changed by Myhr, and held prior to the scheduled time. The Council went along with the shuffling of the agenda, and did not seem to attribute significance to the fact that SJC Auditor Milene Henley and Deputy Prosecutor Karen Vedder had come into the Council room prior to the scheduled 10:30 discussion item, and sat down.
Westcott Bay Sculpture Park: "Artists In Action"
(Photo submitted by Westcott Bay Sculpture Park)
Sculptors Tom Small, Tracy Powell and Dave Haslett will be demonstrating their stone carving techniques and exhibiting and selling their artworks. This popular event gives viewers a chance to see the process of how stone carving is done and watch a sculpture in process.
Also view over 100 sculptures placed throughout the beautiful19 acre setting known as the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park. Many of the Sculptures were newly installed this spring and summer. Sculptures include works in bronze, stone, wood, metal, glass and ceramic by noted artists from around the Pacific Northwest.
Artists In Action takes place August 31, September 1 & 2, 10:00am - 4:00pm. The three day event is open to the public. ($5 entry fee, members and children under 12 are free.)
For information more call (360)370-5050, or click here: http://www.wbay.org/
Wednesday, August 29th
Work Begins On Legislative Building
(CC Chair Myhr tries out one of the hard hats presented to the Council by County Administrator Pete Rose)
Government abhors a vacuum, so it should come as no surprise that Council staff is already looking for additional space in the new Carlson Building to store the filing cabinets that did not make it into the final space planning for the new “Legislative Building.”.
The half-million dollar renovation of the former Carlson Building has started, with the demolition of the existing offices on the first floor, where a new County Council meeting room will be constructed that, according to the County, will be a “state-of-the-art meeting room for the County Council and County boards and commissions.”
The County’s administrative offices, including the County Administrator, Human Resources, Communications and Administrative Services, along with the offices of Council Members Peterson, Rosenfeld and Knapp are already located on the second floor of the building.
It had been anticipated that the Town may have an interest in joining in on the use of a new meeting space, and County Administrator Pete Rose has stated the Friday Harbor Town Council has expressed interest in using the new facility for its meetings as well,” but pointed out that “there have been no formal negotiations yet.” The meeting room is designed to seat 37 people, plus the council and staff. Where the Council will meet when there are more than 37 members of the public showing up for a meeting has yet to be determined.
SJC Planning Commission Receives UGA Input
The San Juan County Planning Commission has held a public meeting to receive input “to allow the Planning Department to identify issues, and then provide information” to at least four groups that will may be impacted decisions that are made on UGA (Urban Growth Areas) on San Juan Island. (background story)
Commission Chair Karin Agosta informed the few citizens that showed up for the meeting that the four groups are: the Town of Friday Harbor; service providers (e.g. water and sewer); citizens within the UGA, and those outside of the UGA.
CD&PD (Community Development & Planning Department) Director Ron Hendrickson said that all of the property owners within the proposed boundaries of the UGA had been sent notices of the meeting. Both he and Agosta reminded the public that the meeting was not a public hearing -that will come later- and was not about “affordable housing”, but only about UGA boundary lines.
Hendrickson explained goal of the meeting was to gain additional information that will help in updating UGA boundaries as required by State Law. Hendrickson had submitted a staff report and a Map - Friday Harbor UGA Proposed expansion that outlined the background and issues that were to be the starting point for the required ten year review.
Tuesday, August 28th
Garage Sale Items (?) For "Dollars For Scholars"
By Frank Penwell
Dollars for Scholars San Juan Island is a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging young people to enroll in education or training programs beyond the high school level. For the last 8 years, they have accomplished that by providing a scholarship to every San Juan Island high school graduate who documents the completion of 80 hours of approved community service during the 8th through 12th grades. About 150 students have shared $150,000 raised in this community through donations and fund raising events
The first event toward scholarship funding for the coming school year will be a garage/rummage sale on September 22 from 9 am to 2 pm. And they are asking the public to consider tax deductible donations of furniture, appliances, tools and other garage sale items.
Donations may be dropped off between now and September 21 at Consignment Treasures at 6739 Roche Harbor Road and mention they are for the DFS Garage Sale. You may also phone 378-6473 to have large items picked up.
We Dollars for Scholars thanks everyone who has supported their efforts in the past, and encourage the public to again consider gifts this year of your time; surplus items; and resources, to meet their scholarship goals. “If you think education is expensive – try ignorance.” -Derek Bok.
Watmough Campaign Passes $400,000 Mark
The San Juan Preservation Trust reports that it has raised more than $400,000 of the $500,000 it needs to raise from the island community to help purchase and protect a 7-acre property susceptible to development inside Lopez Island’s largely protected Watmough Bight.
“By September 1 we expect to have raised $450,000,” said Sven Haarhoff, director of charitable giving for the San Juan Preservation Trust. “After that, we’ll have to sprint as hard as we can to secure the last $50,000 needed to reach our goal by the September 7th deadline.” (background story)
Soccer Nights at Islands Community Church
Mike Speten of the Cascade Surge, an Oregon Semi-professional soccer team, will be the featured instructor at Islands Community Church's first soccer camp, August 27-30 from 6-8p.m. Children kindergarten through 5th grade are invited.
Billed as "Soccer Nights," each evening will focus on the fundamentals of improving your game at an age appropriate level. Skills include: juggling, dribbling, passing and shooting. Plus, the camp will feature World Cup scrimmages to practice those skills.
The $30 cost covers a camp shirt, a Nike soccer ball, snacks each evening and a closing party. Transportation is available for those who need it.
Monday, August 27th
Firefighters Deployed To Assist In Major Wildland Fire
Friday Harbor, WA – This last Friday, August 17th while locals and tourists alike enjoyed the festivities of our local fair, the San Juan Island Fire Department dispatched three firefighters and a wildland fire engine to assist firefighters attempting to contain a 43,000-plus acre wildland fire near Benton City, WA. The fire which was burning near the Hanford Site, threatened 250 structures including residences within Benton City.
Lieutenant Noel Monin was assigned to the incident as a Strike Team Leader. Lieutenant Tad Lean and Firefighter Michael Henderson responded in one of the San Juan Island Fire Department’s specialized wildland firefighting vehicles.
Over the course of their three day mobilization, they were assigned to assist with efforts to protect threatened structures. While some deployments could last up to 14 days, depending upon fire behavior, recent weather contributed favorably in this particular event and as of this morning, the fire, dubbed the “Wautoma” incident, has been contained.
San Juan Island Fire Department personnel are often asked to participate in wildland fires statewide. Local firefighters have earned a good reputation off island for being well trained and skilled, essential assets when it comes to battling the region’s wildland fires which rage each summer. All factors are considered when a request is received to ensure local needs are not impacted.
Sunday, August 26th
FH Port Director Steve Simpson Announces Retirement
Port of Friday Harbor Director Steve Simpson will retire from full time port service on November 30, 2007. At the regular Port Commissioner meeting on Wednesday in Friday Harbor, Simpson informed the Commission that he had had made the decision to retire for personal reasons related to his family and his personal health.
Simpson said he planed to remain on San Juan Island, and that after January 1, 2008, he was willing be available to assist the Port, on a limited schedule for project work, or in any other way that he can make a contribution.
In his formal letter to the Commissioners he stated "I have nothing but admiration for the Port Commission and Port Staff and will do my utmost in the next three months to help the Port make a smooth transition to new leadership and prepare for the challenges and opportunities the Port faces in the next few years," and added that the "The Port's staff is strong and dedicated and will keep up the tradition of providing a focused, excellent service to our community. I am excited by the prospect of watching continued development of the Port of Friday Harbor."
Director Simpson will be retiring from the Port after over twenty years of service.
Saturday, August 25th
9th Annual Steve Braun Memorial Triathlon
The folks at the the Orcas Island Recreation Program are gearing up for the 9th year of the Steve Braun Memorial Triathlon, and want to remind everyone that if they sign up now they save money, and it will help the event organizers with their planning.
Registration includes a hat, Frisbee, shirt, or coffee mug, and lots or fun! Call 360-376-5339 for a registration form or pick up forms at the Orcas Rec. Program office (Senior Services Bldg.), Wildlife Cycles, or download a registration form . Send in your registration form as soon as possible before the race to avoid the morning rush. Registration will be permitted on race day. If you pre-register, you save $5.
Pre-registration: $35 for triathletes $25 individuals (1 or 2 events or team member) $20 under 18
Registration on the day of the event will be: $40 for triathletes $30 individuals (1 or 2 events as a team or individually) $25 under 18
The race takes place Sunday, September 2nd, at the Cascade Lake Picnic Area in Orcas Island Moran State Park. 8:30 pre-race meeting/Race begins at 9:00
The race consists of a .4 mile swim in beautiful Cascade Lake; a 17 mile bike ride on a scenic country road and a 3.5 mile trail run around the lake.
Individuals can participate in one, two, or three parts of the triathlon. You may participate as a team if you wish. All age groups are encouraged to join in any portion of this good-spirited annual event. This is a comfortable and fun triathlon, open to serious triathletes, and those who want to challenge themselves to enjoy completing the course.
Proceeds benefit the San Juan Preservation Trust, Friends of Moran State Park,
& the Orcas Island Recreation Program youth programs.
Call (360) 376-5339 for more information.
Thursday, August 23rd
Do You Know These Men? The FBI Would Like To
(FBI supplied photos)
The Seattle FBI and the Washington Joint Analytical Center (WAJAC) are requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the two individuals pictured above.
Although the FBI will not state which boats the men have been on, or on which routes they have traveled, they are asking anyone who may be able to identify them, or know their whereabouts, to call 206 622-0460.
According to a FBI press release, the men have been seen aboard Washington State Ferries on several occasions and have exhibited unusual behavior, which was reported by passengers. While this behavior may have been innocuous, the FBI and WAJAC would like to resolve these reports.
Our Islands and the Sea
By Lincoln Bormann
“The biosphere…is essentially continuous in space, a single interwoven web of life covering the surface of our planet.” – Marston Bates, The Forest and the Sea
The Land Bank has always viewed the sea through the prism of human eyes. Everyone wants to see the water without obstruction, as though they had burst through the underbrush into the open and discovered the coastline. The sea has been something to take in, to savor without consuming. Part of our job has been to preserve some part of this feeling.
As we learn more about the connection between the land and water though, we start to think beyond this. Instead of being a vantage point, property becomes defined in terms of its ecological characteristics. Is there an intermittent stream? Does it connect to other conserved properties? Is it forested or prairie, degraded or in good condition? More and more, the emphasis changes toward extending or restoring physical and biological linkages, just as human infrastructure connects us to different places.
The SJ I Community Foundation Awards
(Charles Anderson presents a $1,000.00 check to Rotary Club Treasurer Frank Fagan)
The San Juan Island Community Foundations web page states they have “a simple mission: to ensure and enhance the quality of life on San Juan Island…by channeling gifts of money from private and corporate donors into a permanent endowment, professionally invested and managed through the Seattle Foundation.” That would be, so to speak:, their day job.
At their SJC fair booth this year they came up with a fun way to gain publicity, donations, and still give back to the community. The idea was to have an election based on, well not quite a democratic model -unless buying votes counts- but the idea was that the top three vote getters would receive a donation from the Foundation. Catch was, it cost $1.00 per vote; and with no limit on how many times one could vote.
Clever, fun and productive. The top three voter getters were EMS (Emergency Medical Services), the Home Trust and the SJI Rotary Club.
Wednesday, August 22nd
County & Town Discuss Town Dump
Friday Harbor’s town council members came to the court house on Tuesday for a lunch meeting to discuss agenda items ranging from transportation to dump sites.
Because some of the County Councilmen, and many of the Town Council members, wished to attended a one o’clock memorial service for former Friday Harbor Mayor Alan Carter, Chair Bob Myhr quickly worked through the agenda, but when it came to the solid waste Transfer Station update, the Town representatives let it be known they continued to be puzzled by County’s lack of action on buying the Town dump site.
Look For This Logo
There are still active farms in the San Juans, and thanks to an innovative program started by the Agricultural Resources Committee (ARC) of San Juan County, some local restaurants are displaying a logo that signifies the use of some locally produced farm products.
ARC created the Islands Certified Local (ICL) program to recognize the efforts of local food establishments that buy from local farm producers, and ask the public to look for the Islands Certified Local program decal in the window of their favorite restaurants.
ARC has also provided a list of participating restaurants, B&B’s, schools, senior centers, and other food establishments in the islands that have joined the program, The list can be accessed by clicking on“ICL Program”
Current participants are: Blossom Grocery, Lopez; Christina’s, Orcas; Garden Path Café, San Juan; Harrison House Suites & Tucker House Inn, San Juan; Inn at Ship Bay, Orcas; Longhouse Bed & Breakfast, San Juan; Shaw General Store, and Steps Wine Bar & Café, San Juan. Participating food establishments pledge to use a 5 % minimum of local farm products.
More information on this, and other ARC programs, can be found on the ARC website at www.sjcarc.org . ( Tif & Gif Creative of Friday Harbor designed and donated the logo for the ICL program)
Tuesday, August 21st
Joint Meeting Held By Town & County
The County & Town Councils meet on a fairly regular basis to discuss subjects of common interest, and to provide an opportunity for the Council members to have face-to-face dialog without the unintended filtering that is a part of staff reports and formal correspondence
Typically the meetings are at noon (which results in a halting dialog as the participants concentrate on eating their lunch) but the agenda on Tuesday (August 21, 2007) was loaded down with some serious topics that will have far reaching impacts for the town and the county. While a lunch meeting does not allow time to work through a long list in any detail, it is a list that should have generated some broad public interest, but few from the public were in attendance; but in any case, the floor was not open for public comment. The Agenda for the meeting included the following topics:
• Turn Point/Pear Point Road Alternatives
• Regional Transportation Planning
• Joint County/Town Meeting Room
• Solid Waste Transfer Station Update
• Friday Harbor Urban Growth Area
• Six-Year Transportation Planning
No Net Loss Of Farm Land Proposed To CC
The County Council has been asked to take the first steps toward adopting a policy, and enforcement regulations, that would insure there will be no further loss of “farm land” in San Juan County.
In 2006 the ARC (San Juan County Agricultural Resources Committee) adopted a resolution that called for a "No Net Loss" policy, and have now asked the County Council to adopt the resolution as their own, or one that has the same goals; which would include an oversight role for ARC.
While he Council has expressed a strong interest in the general protection of the rural character of the county, and specifically to help agricultural uses of the land, they had some serious concerns about the practicality and legality of goal numbers three through five of the ARC resolution, which states that:
Monday, August 20th
Will SJC Lose Control To DNR?
County Council approves letter of intent for Aquatic Reserve nomination. The County Council has voted five to one to send a Letter of Intent to the DNR (Department of Natural Resources), nominating all of SJC (San Juan County) as an Aquatic Reserve; with “possible exclusion areas.”
The question of what this may mean for SJC is not quite as clear as it could be, and those who support the nomination -which at this point are primarily federal, state, and county governmental organizations- testified to the Council that the purpose of the nomination process is to “initiate an exchange between DNR” that will help clarify the question.
San Juan Marine Resource Committee Coordinator Mary Knackstedt submitted a draft copy of the letter and a staff report that included letters of support from NOAA Fisheries; US Fish and Wildlife; People for Puget Sound, and the Friends of the San Juans.
Knackstedt led off the discussion with the Council, and was then followed by David Palazzi (DNR’s Planning Unit Supervisor for the Aquatic Reserves Program); Ken Sebens (U of W FH Labs); Peter Dederich (National Park Service), and Jacques White (The Nature Conservancy), all of whom spoke in support of the nomination.
Councilman Rich Peterson had researched an existing program on Maury Island , and started off the Council discussion by reading portions of the plan. Peterson said that for just this one small island, the plan was 142 pages long. He also noted that it was a 90 year plan. Peterson asked DNR Supervisor Palazzi if the County can get out of a 90 year plan, once in it.
Sunday, August 19th
Watmough Wild Campaign Requires $200,000 More
The San Juan Preservation Trust today announced that it is $200,000 short of the $500,000 it needs to purchase and protect a 7-acre property susceptible to development inside Lopez Island’s largely protected Watmough Bight.
$175K Matching Grant in Effect Until September 7, 2007: Eight Lopez Island families have offered to match every individual donation made to the Campaign to Keep Watmough Wild, up to a total of $175,000 dollars. This means that each dollar donated will earn an additional dollar from the matching grant. Qualifying donations include gifts made to the campaign and payable before the September 7, 2007 deadline.
Thursday, August 16th
CC Discusses “Spin” & Press Releases
A recent San Juan County press release entitled “Prosecutor Comments on Decision to Drop Referendum Lawsuit”, in which " Gaylord Warns SJC May Be Sued Over Referendum" was produced by Gaylord’s office, and then released by the County as a County press release. The possibility of the public assuming that it was a County Council release, has generated some concern from the County Council..
Some, if not all, of the Council were unaware of the press release, and Councilman Alan Lichter said he only learned about it when he was contacted by the media for a response. Lichter said when the letter was read to him over the phone he was surprised by it’s content, and noted that Gaylord was extensively quoted in the release.
Lichter expressed his concern that if a press release relates to Council business, someone, perhaps the Chair, should sign off on it. He said that he believed the press release was an attempt to “spin” a report on the facts around the Council Drops Law Suit Against Referendum action; and a press release for spin-control under the heading of a “San Juan County press release” is not acceptable.
Wednesday, August 15th
SJI Grange Suspended By State Master
(file photo of David Waldron presenting drawings of a Grange property (CarQuest) remodel for use as a farmers market)
Members of the San Juan Island Grange have been informed by the State Master of the Grange, Rob Horgen, that “Based on past actions of the San Juan Island Grange and it's Officers' and members, I hereby suspend the Charter of San Juan Island Grange”.
This comes after the " Entire SJI Grange Leadership Resigns ", but State Master Horgen told The Island Guardian that he believed it necessary to formally suspend the Charter due to the holding of meetings outside of the Grange; an act which is expressly forbidden.
Some of the members have suspected the crack down on not following the rules, may be related in some way to the move by some of the members to explore the possibility of taking over the Grange commercial property that is now rented out, for the use by a farmers market. Based on Horgen’s statements, the only connection would seem to be that some of those conversations were held outside of the Grange, which, ipso facto, excluded some members.
“Let's Talk!” In The Ag Tent
The “Ag Tent” has a lot going on in it (see story below), and one of the things the public is invited to participate in, is being billed as “A new way of talking about issues important to all of us.”
The public is invited to join in on a lively, but respectful, conversations during the San Juan County Fair from August 15th to 18th in the Ag Tent (next to the Sustainable San Juans (outdoor triangle) exhibit).
The goal of the "Conservation Cafés" is to foster good conversation (not conversion or debate) that will help to guide the San Juans in a good direction. Conservation Cafés will be held throughout Fair time on topics such as: *What is good STEWARDSHIP? * What do you think is the most important action to take to move the San Juans towards a more sustainable future? * How can we better support our local economy (e.g. farmers)? * Can we consume less and still be happy? And more!
Bloom It & Groom It In Ag Tent At SJC Fair!
SJC Agriculture Tent Presentation Schedule:
The SJC Fair Agriculture Tent (a.k.a. the Ag Tent) is the place to be to learn all about San Juan County Agriculture!
Bloom It with our exhibit on the Orcas Island origins of the NW tulip industry, see how bees see blossoms, and learn how to get the best blooms from our State flower!
Groom It with our exhibit on SJC’s edible landscape and the many benefits of buying, eating and growing local agricultural products. Learn all about reducing our carbon footprint, preserving our farmland and open space, improving our health, and increasing our emergency preparedness.
Cooking With Local Foods: daily presentations and taste all the delicious ways to prepare local foods.
The Ag Tent is also the home of the Grains & Forage Department. Bring your entries and come see and learn about all the grain and forage crops that can be grown in San Juan County!
Tuesday, August 14th
CC May Take Second Look At Survey Policy
Richard Durhack and Virginia Norgaard had their successful day in court when Whatcom County Judge Steven Mura Ruled Against CC On Land Division Appeal", stating that the County must look at the history of past surveys when determining the size of property.
The problem for Durhack and Norgaard started in May of 2006 when the three member council voted to use one method to determine land size for property tax purposes, and another method for permitting purposes. Councilman Lichter and Myhr voted for the two method system, and Councilman Ranker abstained, citing the need for additional information.
But Durhack and Norgaard may have their case discussed again by the full County Council. Based on comments and questions asked by some of the new members of the County Council, the whole issue may be looked at again.
At the Monday Council staff meeting , Councilman Rosenfeld said he was concerned on the impacts of using the modern GIS technology to overturn the past determinations of land size. “Can’t these people be grandfathered”? he asked. Deputy County Prosecutor Karen Vedder was attending the meeting. and responded that it was a council policy decision “made by the three member council”.
Councilman Rich Peterson turned to Rosenfeld and said “The full council can revisit this if they wish”. Vedder then reminded the Council that “we intend to go back to court with new information about a survey and ask the Court to reconsider… but regardless of how the Court decides, the Council can always decide what they want to do”.
Councilman Ranker said he had questions about it when they first voted on it, and he still had questions and fairness concerns, but pointed out that the use of GIS sometimes will show a parcel to be larger, and sometimes smaller, but that he is still in favor of discussing it further.
At the heart of the issue is that when the more accurate GIS system is used, some properties are shown to be smaller, and as a result cannot be divided. In the real world this has the potential of wiping out a large percentage of a property owners investment; in some cases resulting in losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Councilman Bob Myhr was adamantly for the two system approach, having stated after the May 2006 council meeting that “The County has enough lots now, we don’t need any more.” For some of the Council members, and for former County Assessor Paul Dossett, who had brought the matter to the attention of the three member council, the question appears to be one of fairness.
In FH: Seattle Chamber Brass Quintet
Wednesday, August 15, 7:30pm Five talented young people from the University of Washington will be featured on the next Performing Arts Society concert, 7:30pm at the Benefit Players Theater, Tucker Avenue and Guard Street in Friday Harbor.The Seattle Chamber Brass will be performing Thursday and Friday as a participant of the Fair.
Josiah Boothby is a graduate student studying the French horn; Joh Hill is the recipient of the Yamaha Young Performing Artist currently a sophomore studying the tuba; Rachel Moore is a senior trumpet performance major; Colby Wiley is a senior studying the trombone; and Toby Penk is a junior studying the trumpet.
The Seattle Chamber Brass Quintet will be at the SJC Fair, performing works of J.S. Bach, Malcolm Arnold, Victor Ewald, John Cheetham and Ingolf Dahl.
As always, the PAS concerts are presented without charge; however, donations are graciously accepted. Windemere Real Estate is making this concert possible with a sponsorship.
Get Your Disaster T-Shirt At The Fair
As part of an ongoing effort to remind islanders that disaster preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, limited edition “Tsunami T-Shirts” will be available at the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) booth at the 2007 County Fair.
Shirts come in a range of colors this year: orange, green, yellow, red, and white, to name a few.
To be eligible for a tsunami shirt, county residents must take a picture of themselves with their one week’s supply of food, water, and other essentials. Bring a copy of your photo to the Fair, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then come pick up shirts for your family at our booth.
Shirts are available until supplies run out. Photos will be used in a display in our booth at the Fair.
Being prepared is the island way. Do the smart thing, and get a t-shirt in the process.
Questions? Call 378-9932 or email http://sanjuandem.net/
Volunteers Needed For FH 8.8k Loop Run
Volunteers Needed for the Friday Harbor 8.8k Loop Run. A dozen or so volunteers are needed the morning of August 18th to assist with registrations, traffic control, timing and water stations.
If you want to be part of an island tradition and have a few hours in the morning to spare call Sally at Island Rec at 378-4953. If you are not interested in volunteering but want to run in the race get your registration in by August 1st and save $5.
Registration forms are available from Island Rec, San Juan Island Fitness and on line at www.islandrec.org or www.active.com
Monday, August 13th
With, or Without, Prejudice?
Words are important, and phrase can be confusing. Some more than others. When the County Council voted five to one to let the stormwater referendum appear on the ballot by instructing SJC Prosecutor Randy Gaylord to drop the lawsuit they had filed to keep the measure off of the ballot, it seemed like a simple order.
After Gaylord learned of the Council’s action, he informed them he would go to Superior Court and ask for an “order of dismissal without prejudice”. At the time no one seemed to give too much thought to the fact that such an order would allow the County to take up the lawsuit again -or to join in with someone else- and go back to court to try and keep the Referendum off of the ballot.
You Gotta Love Those Spin Doctors
By Ray Bigler
Now that our County Council has hired their own Spin Doctor I guess we have officially reached the big leagues (or at least we are pretending that we have).
The most recent spin comes from the Prosecutors office, specifically the Stormwater Funding Ordinance. The issue is and has always been about the method that was chosen to fund
the Stormwater Utility, not the Utility itself.
Therefore, referendum 2007-1 will ask for a vote of the citizens to repeal the entire Ordinance so that we can send it back to the County Council to rethink the funding vehicle. That is the purpose and the intent of this referendum, nothing more.
The Prosecutors Office has consistently tried to link this issue of funding as a GMA mandate from the state. There is nothing in the States mandate that requires the County to charge the taxpayers a fee/tax to fund this Ordinance.
Sunday, August 12th
SJI Fire Department Welcomes New Chief
San Juan Islands Fire Department welcomes their new chief: Steve Marler
A Pacific Northwest native born in Mission, B.C., Chief Marler has 30 years experience in the fire service which began as a volunteer firefighter in Tuolumne County, near Yosemite National Park.
Highlights in his background include service as the only paid firefighter with the Ceres Fire Department in California for four years, before serving in the scenic California Wine Country for the past 24 years. While there he worked through the ranks to Division Chief in charge of ambulance billing and membership, fire prevention, public education, fire investigation and administrative operations, etc.
Married to wife Karen for the past 25 years, Chief Marler says “When I met her, she was my dispatcher. I knew it would be the perfect marriage, because she was always telling me where to go.” They have one adult daughter and a teenage son.
Chief Marler has attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland numerous times for continuous training and recently completed coursework for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Bringing the handy hobby of amateur radio operation, Chief Marler also loves camping getaways with Karen. Both of which they will have opportunity to enjoy here in and around the San Juan Islands.
Please look for Chief Marler around town and take your opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the islands.
Gregoire Proclaims Aug. 12-18 Wa Farmers Market Week
San Juan County is not the only County in Washington to enjoy the benefits of Farmers markets. The number of markets in Washington has doubled in the last decade, increasing from 60 in1998, to more than 120 in operation today.
The markets are sprouting up around the state as consumers show increasing interest in purchasing fresh local foods. The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) join Gov. Chris Gregoire in proclaiming Aug. 12-18 as Washington State Farmers Market Week -a time to recognize the benefits of local farmers markets.
Statewide, farmers markets reported $38 million in sales in 2006, up more than 50 percent from the previous year. Most of those dollars go directly to Washington family farmers. "Farmers markets play a key role in rural and urban locations and are increasing in popularity every day," said Kira Doley, treasurer of the WSFMA.
New Requirements For Immunizations
Summer’s end is rapidly approaching -- just 2 short weeks away! One way to prepare your child for school is by finding and checking your child or teen’s immunizations. There have been many changes in the recommendations and a whole new schedule for the 11 to 12 year old group.
For some vaccine preventable diseases the vaccine protection starts to wear off in the early teen years making it necessary to have a booster vaccine. “Immunizations not only protect children, but they also protect the people they come into contact with, including other kids in school,” said Dr. Maxine Hayes, state health officer and a pediatrician. “Getting children immunized is the best way to protect your family and other children from getting sick.”
There is a new requirement for this school year involving the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.
Saturday, August 11th
The Mother of All Parking Lot Sales!
Early morning fog did not deter the early set-up on Saturday morning at the Mullis Center parking lot, as the first of 48 spaces were set up for the artisans -along with the usual flea market type sellers- and some non-profit organizations, all of whom had booths to earn money for their organizations.
There was furniture, tools, house wares, etc., AND, a delicious BBQ with hamburgers, kielbasa, turkeyburgers, etc.
Friday, August 10th
$120K Matching Private Grant To Keep Watmough Wild
(Steve Horn photo
The San Juan Preservation Trust has announced that six Lopez Island families are offering to match every individual donation made to the Campaign to Keep Watmough Wild, (Background Story) up to a total of $120,000 dollars. This means that each dollar donated will earn an additional dollar from the matching grant. Qualifying donations include new gifts made to the campaign and payable before the September 7, 2007 deadline.
“Together, these six families will contribute a one-to-one match for all contributions made to the effort to prevent development inside Watmough Bight,” said David Perera, co-chair of the campaign steering committee. “It is this kind of generosity that will help us reach our $500,000 goal by September 7th of this year.”
Sign Up Now: Summer Bike Ride on Shaw Island
Join the Orcas Island Recreation Program for a bike ride and a day on a beautiful, sandy beach on Shaw Island, Thursday, August 16. Call 376-5339 to reserve a spot on the "Shaw Island bike ride".
This is a good beginner ride for all ages, moderately flat 5.3 miles roundtrip with one hill. The main destination is South Beach County Park, one of the largest sand beaches in the San Juans. Parents and other riders are welcome, as are off-island visitors. Riders must wear a helmet, and all riders must have a signed permission form.
Meet at the covered shelter at the Orcas ferry terminal. 9:30 for the 9:45 ferry. Return at 3:50. For ages 8 – adult (under 8 and riders with special needs must be accompanied by a parent or guardian) $20.
Ecology Awards SJC 45K For Litter Cleanup
San Juan County Public Works will receive a $45,300 grant from the Community Litter Cleanup Program (CLCP), administered by the Department of Ecology (Ecology). The county will use the money to continue to operate litter pickup crews consisting of juvenile and adult offenders, and also youth volunteers.
The state program provides funding every two years to local governments to clean up litter and illegal dumps and to provide anti-litter education in their communities. Funding comes from the Waste Reduction, Recycling and Model Litter Control Account. The account is funded through a litter tax on industries whose products are related to the litter problem.
Thursday, August 9th
Gaylord Warns SJC May Be Sued Over Referendum
Having originally advised the Council to sue to resolve a question on the legality of the referendum, Gaylord has now warned that “If this referendum should pass, the county could be open to a lawsuit by a third party.”
Gaylord does not name who that third party may be, but The Friends of The San Juans have a history of entering into lawsuits to stop County actions and legislation they do not agree with; even when citizen support is overwhelmingly in support of the action or legislation.
Based on some correspondence from the Friends to the County, it is clear they are already looking at ways to fight the referendum, both through normal legal means and through the shaping of public opinion.
The County has now issued a Press Release that claims that “Gaylord had already initiated meetings with County staff and individual members of the Council to discuss various options, including that ( dismissal of its lawsuit ) possibility”.
This has come as a surprise to at least two of the Councilmember. We called Councilman Alan Lichter, who had originally voted for the suit, and Councilman Rich Peterson, who had voted against it, to ask if they had been contacted by Gaylord about the possibility of dropping the suit.
SJC & Gaylord Still Subject Of Civil Rights Lawsuit
The San Juan County Council and Prosecutor Gaylord received another set back this week, when the Washington Supreme Court rejected their request for a reconsideration of their unanimous April ruling in the San Juan County v. No New Gas Tax law suit.
San Juan County had argued before the Court that media commentary does not qualify as an “in-kind” contribution, and therefore must be reported to the state under campaign finance laws. They lost the case .
Despite these landmark victories for free speech and freedom of the press, the local governments that originally sued Yes912.com, for failing to report supposed “in-kind contributions” from talk radio hosts, asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling in May. And now they have lost again.
With the latest rejection, the Court's 9-0 opinion stands, and San Juan County will now find itself back in trial court, as the other side pursues it’s constitutional counterclaims against San Juan, Seattle, Kent, and Auburn.
Tuesday, August 7th
Council Drops Law Suit Against Referendum
In an unexpected move at the Tuesday County Council meeting, Councilman Alan Lichter made a motion to drop the law suit the council had filed to obtain a judicial determination on the legality of a referendum on stormwater funding. The referendum will now appear on the ballot, and will ask the voters if they approve of the method used to fund stormwater programs.
Lichter surprised the Council at the beginning of the council meeting by saying he had obtained new information on the lawsuit, and that he wished to make a motion on the matter. It is unusual for the council to follow a formal procedure of making a motion, hold discussion, and then vote, but in this case Lichter made the motion with little explanation, and before the Chair could ask for a second, Councilman Rich Peterson made a second, which caused Chairman Bob Myhr to ask for discussion on the motion.
Lichter then explained his concern that, after having read a Supreme Court case sent to him by Prosecutor Gaylord that was presented as a legal basis for the County case, Lichter said it involved four appeals and took ten years. Lichter said that while the County may prevail in the lawsuit against Alex Gavora , that “for me, that our County, dragging one of it's citizens possibly through an endless round of litigation is absolutely repugnant; absolutely repugnant", and then added, "I would much prefer...to stand on solid ground with our citizens in this county, rather than continue down the path with very uncertain legal maneuvers". (see related story below)
Gene Knapp had made the tie-breaking deciding vote when he had joined Myhr, Lichter and Ranker to enter into a law suit against Gavora, but said that he now favored the Lichter motion, and that one of the things that had troubled him from the beginning was that there had been no warning given to the sponsor of the referendum that it might not be an appropriate area for a referendum. He said the County needs to change their rules so that once a an initiative or referendum is filed, the Prosecuting Attorney gives an opinion whether he thinks it is legal or not.
Councilman Myhr said we need to have the question of legality decided by the courts, so did not support the motion. Councilman Ranker agreed with Knapp’s comments, and Councilmen Peterson and Rosenfeld had previously been opposed to the lawsuit, so when Lichter called the question, only Myhr voted against it.
Court Sides With Gavora, But Gaylord May Obtain Restraining Order To Stop Election
(Gaylord, Gavora and Higginson listen to Judge Churchill deny Gaylord motion)
SJC Prosecutor Randy Gaylord’s attempt to stop a vote on how the county collects money for stormwater got a setback on Friday. Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill denied a motion by Gaylord to shorten the time for Alexandra Gavora to respond to the lawsuit brought against her by the County Council.
Stating a need to clear of “certain matters”, Gaylord informed the Judge that if necessary, he may file for a temporary Restraining Order against the SJC Auditor to stop the election. Judge Churchill denied the motion
In a split vote, with council members Gene Knapp, Bob Myhr, Alan Lichter, and Kevin Ranker for, and Rich Peterson and Howie Rosenfeld opposed, the County Council instructed Gaylord to enter a lawsuit against Gavora for the purpose of obtaining a judicial determination on the legality of the referendum on the funding of an adopted ordinance that sets a mandatory “fee” on all developed property in San Juan county
When Gavora agreed to be the one to take over 2,000 signatures (20% of the registered voters in SJC), she did not expect to be sued by the Council because of it, and she certainly did not expect an armed deputy to show up at her house at 10:00 p.m on a Wednesday night, and serve her with a summons demanding her to be Court on Friday of the same week.
Gaylord asked the Court to shorten the time for Gavora to respond due to an “issue of timeliness with regard to the upcoming election and ballot”. Gaylord explained to Judge Churchill that the issue was in “regard to the referendum getting on the ballot”. The issue at hand is the Council and Gaylord’s desire to make sure the referendum does not get on the ballot, and if it does, that it fails.
Gavora showed up at the hearing with local attorney Carla Higginson, who explained that while she does not legally represent Gavora (Gavora has not yet hired an attorney), she had been asked to explain to the Court why Gavora was opposed to the reduction of the normal 20 days to respond to Gaylord.
Who Pays The Cost Of Development?
Who pays the cost of development in Urban Growth Areas if, and when, they are developed to serve many of the projected 7,400 people expected to move here by 2027? More or less, that is the number that the Washington Office of Financial Management projects San Juan County’s population will increase by the year 2027; a nearly 50% increase. San Juan Island is projected to receive approximately 3,545 of those new full time residents.
The question of where this new population will live, and who pays the bills, is part of ongoing discussions between the County and Friday Harbor as they work on the expansion of the town’s Urban Growth Area boundary. Town planning staff has projected that a smaller percentage of the new residents will move into Friday Harbor than the County planners have projected.
Regardless of who is correct, there is still the question of who -and how- pays for the development of water line and sewer extensions, and the associated costs of infrastructure improvements to supply roads, water, and treat the sewage.
The staff of SJC Community Development & Planning Department (CD&PD) have projected housing patterns will be partially influenced by an increase in workers that replace local employees who retire, and who then either remain on the island, or sell their homes at prices beyond the means of those new workers who either did not have homes to sell, or were unable to sell their homes at a comparable price to values in the our county, and now find they cannot afford to buy in the county.
State Conservation Programs & The SJ Islands
While San Juan County takes a look at signing a letter in support of making all of San Juan County an Aquatic Reserve, it may come as a surprise to learn that Cypress Island is the last largely undeveloped island in the “San Juan group”; even if it is located in Skagit County.
Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland announced that, for the first time, the public has the opportunity to nominate aquatic ecosystem sites as state aquatic reserves. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will work with groups or individuals to develop their reserve proposals for state-owned lands anywhere in the state.
There is more than one way to define the boundaries of something, so while Cypress Island may not be within our governmental boundaries, it is part of our geographic group, and DNR has announced that Cypress island has received some new protection status.
“Cypress is the largest undeveloped island in the San Juans. Today we put the final pieces in place as we ratify the comprehensive conservation plan for Cypress and its surrounding waters,” said Sutherland. “The nominations process we announced today opens the door to additional opportunities like this one throughout the state.” That may mean more additions to the programs from San Juan County
Monday, August 6th
County & Town Councils Adopt Rd Plans
(Dr. Chris Clarke observes Attorney Amy Trainer testifying to County Council)
With few in attendance, and even less comment from the public, two six year road plans were adopted this week that have set the stage for possible action. The plans set the goals that will guide the public works departments of the two governments.
The six year plans are a list that identifies those projects that government has decided are the ones that they expect to work on in the six year period; if they actually do or not, will be determined by any number of factors, such as environmental permitting, engineering considerations, and of course, obtaining and budgeting funding.
While the Town of Friday Harbor was able to pass their plan quickly, and with little discussion, the County Council had a little harder time of it, due to public comment on a proposal by Public Works to build a road down to LaFarge Beach, (aka “the gravel pit”) for a future barge landing.
Chris Clarke, representing a home owners group, and the Griffin Bay Preservation Committee, reminded the Council members of the controversy and legal actions surrounding the proposal for a barge landing site (Project No. 17 on the list) at the site. Dr. Clarke submitted a published report on the sensitive environmental nature of the LaFarge beach, and expressed his concerns that since the proposed site is a man-made beach by of gravel fill extended into Griffin Bay, the fill was now eroding, and will continue to erode. He also questioned the wisdom of doing any development on a Class-1 beach, let alone using it for paved road and a barge landing. He also questioned why it was now being put forward as a project to be discussed, since it has been under discussion for over three years.
His comments were expanded on by Friends of the San Juans attorney Amy Trainer. In her prepared remarks, she also questioned the inclusion of the LaFarge road on the list, and responded to staff comments that the list of projects simply signified they were projects selected for future planning, and were not permit proposals, and at that time would again be a public comment period.
Trainer pointed out that the LaFarge project had been in the planning stage for years, and questioned why a Public Works SEPA Checklist for the project had received a “determination of non-significance” by the County’s Planning department. In her written comments she stated: “The SEPA Checklist submitted by Public Works is inadequate and wholly fails to comply with the intent, letter or spirit of SEPA”. Trainer said the County “must remove Project No. 17 from consideration”
Speaking in support of the building a road on the beach, and in favor of a commercial barge landing site, was Patricia McKay, Co-owner of Island Concrete Products. The McKays’ have used the beach to bring in sand and gravel in the past, and she expressed her concern that San Juan County is the only major island that does not have a public barge landing site.
Councilman Lichter and Peterson both expressed some concern about leaving the project on the list, but in the end it remained, with Lichter casting the lone dissenting vote. It is expected the LaFarge barge landing issue will continue to be topic of discussion and debate when Public Works presents their budget in November.
Sunday, August 5th
Water Main Springs Leak On Spring Street
(Town Crew works to repair water main on Spring Street)
Why it always on a weekend? A horizontal split in one of the 10” water mains under Spring Street in Friday Harbor has been repaired by town crews. Early Saturday morning before the stores and business had opened, evidence of a possible problem (”please don’t let be the water main!”) surfaced on Spring Street, but when town crews dug down to find the source of the leak, they released the break was elsewhere, and the surface water was only evidence of what may be a major problem.
More holes were dug, backfilled, and new ones dug, until they located the leak near a shut-off valve in front of the Coldwell Banker building. Once the pipe was exposed, Mike Deegan -the man in the hole- quickly located a long split in the pipe, and set in motion the repair plan,
Mike had a number of sidewalk supervisors helping him out with insightful comments and suggestions. There was one woman who observed the pipe spraying water, watched for a bit, and then turned to her friend and informed her “They are still working on it”. When Mike pointed out the remains of the old original wood water pipe to us, we suggested that perhaps all repair work should be stopped until an archeological study was completed. This suggestion was not taken, but it got a smile from one of observing tourists.
Problem identified, the crew picked a new pipe from their ready supplies, cut out the old, and after a few hard hours the town was back in businesses by the end of the day; just in time for all of the restaurants and bars to once again have running water. One immediate result of having running water was the sound of flushing toilets up and down the south side of Spring Street.
Friday, August 3rd
Care Package Donations 1st Saturday Ea Month in FH
(Minnie Knych, Ed Grimes, Bob Walters, and Karl Mueller pack donations for local service members serving overseas -not shown are B.J. Miner & Debbie Tully))
Market Place in Friday Harbor will be the location on Saturday to make donations to Care Packages that will be sent to the men and women of the Armed Forces serving overseas.
A table will be set up on the first Saturday of every month at Market Place as the collection location for donated items to include in the packages.
Below is the list of items that will be collected This list will be expanded when feedback is received about what they want or need. The public can also donate money that will be used for postage, or to purchase more of the items on the following list.
Thursday, August 2nd
CC Subcommittee To Explore Need For “Financial Incentives”
The question of “financial incentives” as an additional compensation for council members to attend meetings was once again a topic of discussion by the County Council on Tuesday
In the staff meeting on Monday the Council had discussed forming a three member sub-committee to review how the council can best promote their priorities at the state level, and how they should address the question of “financial incentives”. One of the questions that needed an answer was if incentives are needed, how should additional money be provided, and by what authority.
The issue of “financial incentives” was first brought up by Councilman Howard Rosenfeld in April in response to complaints by Councilman Ranker that the travel allowances the Council grants itself were insufficient to pay for his frequent trips on County business. Rosenfeld said the matter needed to be discussed while the current members of the Council were still serving.
Wednesday, August 1st
Town Road Improvements
The Town of Friday Harbor will hold a public hearing this week on a Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan for the years 2008 through 2013, and Town Councilman Wally Gillette has taken the unusual action of sending out a letter to the local news organizations requesting public comment on the Plan.
In his open letter, Gillette stated that “If you appreciate the recent road changes near the Senior Center, Spring Street School and Guard St. (between Tucker and Marguerite); then you will no doubt approve of the impending change to Guard St. between Marguerite and Park St. The travel lane is designed to be only 11 feet wide. With 9 ft. wide trucks, motor homes, etc. what safety factor is given to bicyclists? This is the main route for kids visiting the Library”
Gillette advises that the proposed road work, has “not yet cast in concrete!, and “The travel lanes should be wider and accommodations should be provided for bicyclists. Only with your voices heard, will these design changes be made”.. “
The Council will hold a Public Hearing to review the Six Year on Thursday, August 2, 2007 at 6:00 PM, at Town Hall, 60 Second Street,.
Copies of the plan can be downloaded by clicking on: priority list of roadway improvements , and are also available for review at Town Hall, between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Written comments may be addressed to PO Box 219, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.
CC Holds Off Nominating SJC As “Aquatic Reserve”
The County Council has decided they need to review what it could mean to designate the entire county as an “Aquatic Reserve”. (previous story) At the Tuesday council meeting Councilman Rich Peterson said he was uncomfortable with the county supporting such an action without first reading the background information necessary to understand what the possible impacts may be.
Peterson said that the document containing the criteria for evaluation was 88 pages long, and there were additional documents that may address what potential impacts could be. Councilman Knapp asked “what is the effect of the Reserve on the average citizen?”. While he did not receive a direct response, the question opened up additional discussion on what had been scheduled to have been approved as a matter of course.
Councilman Alan Lichter joined Peterson when he said “we should move a little more slowly..I see no reason not to table this”. Lichter said they were still waiting for a written outline of what committees were working on shoreline, aquatic, salmon, and other related areas. Peterson said “I agree with Alan that we need to know who is doing what”, and that he would like to see a matrix that visually showed the information, and where the groups may overlap in what they are doing, before we sign onto another program.
Ranker said the action was important because “it gave the County a seat at the table” when DNR makes decisions on state tideland leases”. He also said that he was unclear what additional information was being asked for, and that the amount of information available was overwhelming and would take weeks to review.
Councilman Bob Myhr was supportive of moving forward, and said that anything we can do now -even some restrictions- to keep our waters pristine..”; but in the end it was agreed that additional information on what the possible impacts, both positive and negative, might be, would be presented to the Council for further review and discussion at the August 14th council meeting.