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Saturday, March 31st

Financial Support Of United Way Has Been Helpful

Dear Editor,

The San Juan Island Family Resource Center has greatly benefited from the financial support of United Way of San Juan County. Support has included funding for the Prenatal through Four Program, the Mentoring Program, Readiness To Learn Program, the Preschool to Kindergarten Transitions Program, and the San Juan Head Start Primary Intervention Program (PIP). These programs are making a difference for the children and families in our community.

Providing opportunities for bonding is a protective factor that leads to a healthy community. Activities that promote opportunities for bonding are weekly Baby and Toddler Parent Groups. The Mentoring Program offers youth in our community the opportunity to meet one-on-one with community adults on a weekly basis. These volunteer adults provide an array of experiences that broaden horizons leading to an increased understanding of friendship, positive relationships, and intergenerational support.

Success in school is paramount in today’s world. The Transitions program provides a little extra boost to our young children about to begin their first public school experience. The Readiness To Learn Program involves families in their children’s education. We know that such support and encouragement for both children and their parents increases parental involvement in school. Family involvement in school translates to better grades, behaviors, and attitudes.

We hope you will join us with your contribution to this year’s United Way campaign. Your gift to United Way has a significant impact on the lives of our children, youth and families.

Joyce Sobel and Staff
SJI Family Resource Center


Tuesday, March 27th

The Case Of Sackett v. EPA Is Worth Reading

I recently read The Island Guardians report of a very important Supreme Court decision. The case of Sackett v. EPA is worth reading by everyone in this county.

One note of importance, and a rare occurrence indeed, this vote came down 9-0. That is right, our severely divided SCOTUS came down unanimously on this decision.

For those of you who haven't read the decision or followed the case, in short, a family in Idaho bought a parcel of land that had been subdivided and zoned for construction of a residence. Most of the land around them had been developed in a similar manner. Their parcel was several parcels removed from a large nearby lake. They got building permits and began construction (site work). In swoops the EPA and declares their property a wetland and them in violation of the Clean Water Act. They are given fines and a compliance order.

The crux of the case is not whether or not this is a wetland, or whether or not this is an are subject to the clean water act provisions, but rather, they were given a determination that had no path for appeal or remedy. In this matter, the court wholeheartedly agreed with the Sacketts.

How could this apply to San Juan County?? Well, lets start with the drawing of wetland maps for use by the county planning staff. It is clear from reviewing these maps and doing a random physical sampling of the "possible or likely" wetland areas that someone basically took satellite imagery and anything that appeared to resemble any amount of water was declared a "possible" wetland.

This action, should the maps be implemented as part of the new CAO would shift the burden of proof from the county to the citizens of the San Juan Islands. You are now presumed guilty until you can prove your innocence. This is fundamentally wrong, will be challenged in court, and regardless of outcome will cost countless dollars and hours. All this can be avoided.

I can speculate at the response from county staff in this regard, trying to make a comparison between this EPA case and ours. They will tell you "don't worry, you have avenues for appeal", or similar. While this may be true, it is a defacto admission that you are indeed "guilty until proven innocent".

I want to make something very clear. We are facing an massive incoming volume of new regulation of our private property. The County has chosen to rely on "experts", who are primarily "academics". What has been lacking in the "BAS" is the field experience gained knowledge. Let me make a brief analogy. If you were going to build a new house and hire a contractor, who would you choose? A) someone who got a 4.0 in college with a degree in business who went on to take a 2 year classroom course on "how to build a house", or B) A local successful carpenter who finished high school with average grades and since then has gone on to build 15-20 custom houses that could be classified as masterpieces??

We are faced with a very dismissive planning manager who regularly discounts any dissenting opinion and is plowing forward, in spite of overwhelming public concern.

We are faced with a council that, after hearing testimony from the planning manager that included a cumbersome new proposed "over the counter" approval process, voted 5-1 for it anyway.!!

Folks, we need to wake up and get involved. Some of you may disagree with me and come down on the side of the Friends of SJ. Some of you may agree and lean stronger towards the CSA. Some of you may be like me and have no leaning towards either of these groups, but should be concerned with what is coming. Regardless of how you feel, please engage. The time for this fight is now, before these changes are enacted.

Please get involved. Do some research and get engaged. This will affect most of us and potentially for a long time.


Harold Wilson
San Juan Island

(for the record, I am not affiliated with the CSA or FOSJ)


Orcas Blood Drive Thank You Letter

Here is a big thank you to the 89 donors who came out on March 15 to donate blood. The region's blood supplies were low and Orcas Islanders showed once again that they can help with the gift of life.

Also thanks to Rick Boucher of Orcas Online for providing the door prize, an hour of free computer consulting.

Finally, thanks to all the Lions Club members who volunteered to help.

Our next blood drive will be on Thursday, June 7th. Please mark your calendar.

Paul Losleben
Orcas Island Lions Club

Monday, March 19th

Thank You One And All


What Jet Lag?

With all the makings of a great adventure story, I was whisked off the mainland and delivered just in time to our lovely Friday Harbor for the sold-out Soroptimists 15th annual corned beef and cabbage celebration at the Mullis Center. I was in Auckland the night before and had promised to act as auctioneer.

When she found out why the urgency, pilot Jacki at Island Air not only gave me a lift home, but signed my check over to the Club. And the generosity continued to build over the evening. Thanks Verne, and all those paddles in support of our Cancer Treatment Transportation Program. The great bidding actually made me look good.

Becki Day and Debbie Staehlin, you rock! With all due credit to the legion of volunteers who made this evening such an enjoyable event, you have, time and again, worked so hard for the club.

And those of you who gave such wonderful items for the auction, we are grateful.

Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor is a 501c3 non-profit service club devoted to directly bettering the lives of women and children in our community and around the world. Our club is now the largest in the Americas with 107 active members. You want to see things getting done?! Learn more about this amazing group at

Farhad Ghatan
Friday Harbor


Monday, March 5th

Thank You Soroptomist

I just want to thank the Soroptomist for paying for my ferry tickets to go off island for radiaiton treatment everyday. Couldn't have done it with out their help.

Also wanted to thank all my friends and clients for their love and support during this time. It has kept me going. I am so grateful to live in such a loving community.

Andrea Berlatsky
San Juan Island


Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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