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Saturday, November 29th

LETTERS ON SJI COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING


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Thanks To You For Helping
To the Editor:

We have much to be thankful for, especially in this community. The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is a way of expressing that gratitude with more than 100+ volunteers working together in a manner that any fine dining restaurant would be proud of. These energetic volunteers prepared and served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to over 300 diners on Thanksgiving Day.

This was one of our most successful and smoothly running Community Thanksgiving Dinners and we are very grateful for to all the volunteers who bake pies, cook turkeys, peel potatoes, prepare and serve food and drinks, and wash a ship-load of dishes; both on the Wednesday day before and on Thanksgiving Day itself. All of this is possible because of the volunteers who are so plentiful that sometimes you have to elbow your way into the kitchen. The dinner was a great success enjoyed by everyone.

Special thanks to Kerwin Johnson, who always cheerfully gives a large financial contribution to get us started (and then comes in to help peel 100 pounds of potatoes), and to Verne Howard of King’s Market for the contribution of 24 turkeys. John Stimpson, at Market Place always helps us with special food orders and gives a discount on the food purchase.

The service clubs: American Legion Auxiliary, American Legion, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Sons of the Legion, and the Soroptimists, each donate $50 toward the cost of the food and provide many of the volunteers.

In addition, this year the 4-H "Bits and Spurs" group provided wonderful, home-made table centerpieces, while the Leos club and the Boy Scouts helped with table set up and clean up and the Girl Scouts donated pies. Time Warner donates free cable TV for the day so that diners can enjoy football games at the Grange. For the past two years, this effort has been masterfully coordinated by the LLB. There are many more individuals who cheerfully give their time, expertise and energy to this event. The list would be too long to print if we mention them all. But we are grateful to each one. Each volunteer and each group is an essential piece of the grand Thanksgiving puzzle.

It is very satisfying to participate in an event that has voluntary attendance, voluntary contributions, and voluntary effort that brings people together to recognize and give thanks for all we have. This is a labor of love for us and we are already looking forward to the 2009 Community Thanksgiving Dinner which will mark a decade of Community Thanksgiving Dinners at the Grange.

Jim and Minnie Knych
Friday Harbor
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Thank You For Serving!
To the Editor:

The San Juan Community Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Grange was truly an impressionable and memorable event.

Thank you all for such a wonderful day, meal, and camaraderie given freely in the spirit and tradition of the holiday.

I am in awe at the organization, smoothness of operations, and community effort demonstrated by all of you, both before the event in preparation, and during, making the dinner such a success. The cooperation of all of the individuals, organizations, clubs, and businesses was truly impressive.

My understanding was you provided almost 400 meals. I can not count the compliments of your work and the meal I heard all day. Not one negative comment or cross word all day! The willingness of everyone to jump in and help wherever needed was commendable. The help of the kids & young adults should be regarded as an inspiration for the future.

I was additionally impressed with all of the individuals who had other plans for the day but nonetheless participated in the decoration, food preparation, baked pies, cooked and delivered turkeys, and helped out is so many other ways.

Such an outpouring of effort makes me very proud and appreciative to be a member of this community.

Thank you so much!
Michael Nachlinger

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Sunday, November 9th

LETTERS ON 2009 BUDGET


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Different Philosophies
Dear Editor:

It is interesting to observe different philosophies used by a couple of our public entities during these times of economic challenges. During the past few weeks, we've seen the San Juan Island School Board struggle to make cuts to their budget while trying to preserve services to their students and families. The School Board has proposed making cuts involving ALL levels of their organization, from principals down to regular employees.

Contrast this approach to the one taken by the County Council. The result of the budget cuts done last year is to cut only the employees that work daily with members of the community, such as public health workers, the WSU extension office and senior service employees. No managers were cut.

Does this remind you of the preservation of top jobs in bank, the car industry and insurance comopanies on a national level?

Remember this approach when you go to the ballot box.

Cathy Eggenberger
Friday Harbor
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An Open Letter to the County Council
To the Editor:

There is no doubt that San Juan County’s $1.8 million shortfall will impact the quality of life that we all enjoy. Some people will lose jobs, others will have their work hours reduced and even more will lose services to which they have become accustomed. The big question facing our community now is what goes and what stays.

As members of the Orcas Recreation Advisory Board we have always been frugal with the money we get from the County. We have also worked hard to honor the donations and grants that have kept the Orcas Island Recreation Program (OIRP) alive for the past 14 years. We believe that a ‘belt tightening” can be a good thing. We are willing and committed to be as fiscally responsible as we have always been in the past.

Briefly, the OIRP receives $16,500 from the County, a number that has not changed in 14 years! $4000 is returned to the Parks Dept. to pay for administrative costs. The “administrative costs” include an office space, computers, insurance, processing payments and help with contracts, etc. .This is the best $4000 we spend! The $16,500 is about 15% of our budget. We raise $40,000 annually with donations and fund raisers while collecting $50,000 in user fees.

We want to respectfully clarify some of Pete Rose’s assumptions in the budget narrative he presented to you on October 20th. Mr. Rose suggests that in cutting the $16,500 from OIRP it would represent a 13% cut of our budget. The $16,500 cut actually represents a 100% cut of our funding from the county! No other county agency is being cut more than 27% and of the 15 agencies listed in the budget narrative, the average cut is 14.84%.

As a board we have worked diligently to raise funds while respecting any money we receive by growing the program responsibly and with great success. Unfortunately, even though $16,500 represents only about 15% of our budget, loss of this funding will effectively be killing this incredible program by destroying it’s foundation. Since 1993 the OIRP has built an organization that serves hundreds of families on Orcas. Thousands of children have experienced sports, art and other activities and thanks to scholarships, no children have been denied access.

Former Commissioner John Evans identified a problem in 1992 with the children of San Juan County having very few healthy recreational alternatives and an inordinate number ending up in juvenile court, costing the taxpayers money to process. John, along with his fellow commissioners at the time, found a solution by funding the San Juan County Recreation Program instead. Their solution was to give positive attention vs. reactionary/negative attention to the youth of San Juan County.

Finally, to eliminate 14 years of developing OIRP into the amazingly strong community family asset that it is today would be appalling. Even in a time of tight budgets and cut backs, $16,500 is a small price to pay to keep our kids on the right side of the law while maintaining our high quality of life. We believe the citizens of Orcas agree.

Respectfully Submitted by the Orcas Island Recreation Program Advisory Committee

Bob Phalan,
Joe Gaydos,
Emilie Gincig,
Bob Eagan,
Lynsey Smith,
Kevin O'Brien,
Vicki Vandermay
Valerie Harris




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