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Monday, November 23rd

United Way of SJC Helps Family Resource Center

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 Rental Assistance Program. 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 Music with Nickie classes and 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.

And if a family is unable to pay the rent, is threatened with homelessness, the fabric of the family can fall apart. Even with two parents working -sometimes more than one job- there are hardships faced when there is a medical emergency, or the car brakes fail. Decisions must be made about paying the rent or fixing the car.

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. Thank you.

Joyce Sobel and Staff
SJI Family Resource Center


Sunday, November 15th

County Commissioners Knew Their Pay Scale

I had to double check the calendar after reading the article today where by present and past commissioners voted themselves a raise in benefits. It wasn’t April Fool’s Day, but it certainly is Fool’s Day when we don’t speak out on this matter.

When our County Commissioners run for their office, they knew the rules and what was expected of them, their pay scale and other concerns. If they cannot do their job in their proscribed and allotted time, they should resign, with no retirement benefits, or work on their own time to solve the problems they probably created anyway. Island contractors, of which I was one for over 20 years, “bid” on projects according to their experience and knowledge of their trades. If it takes longer than expected, the contractor usually ends up working for free to complete the job.

These Commissioners are debating and bringing to light issues that are not necessary to run the business of running the county, especially in the context of current economic conditions. On the contrary, too much of their valuable time concern such controversial issues as the CAO which hurts the construction industry and property owner rights; Orca buffer zone (I love the whales, but also our tourism industry); and any other thing they may dream up to leave their mark on the island economy, all at the cost of island workers and taxpayers. I suppose the only job openings in the future will be in government.

I can’t hardy wait until the County follows the Town’s lead and mandates “traffic bubbles” on the corners of all county roads.

Ever read the Employment ads for County work? Most are part time, with no benefits. This is obviously a great example of fixing a problem by starting at the top.

It is a sad day for San Juan County. Problem created.

Peter DeLorenzi
San Juan Island


Wednesday, November 11th

Mary Blevins Retires from The Whale Museum

For more than 27 years, Mary Blevins has been a significant member of The Whale Museum staff. She began as the bookkeeper in July of 1982 and quickly became a trusted teammate. With her bright smile and kind, competent manner, Mary has held various roles from Interim Director (twice!) to her most recent role as the Associate Director of Business and Finance.

Since she began her tenure, executive directors have considered her as their right hand -and this director is no different. As Mary retires from the Museum, we are all saddened and will miss her tremendously. It does come as a great relief that San Juan is a small island and Friday Harbor is a close-knit community. (Our great loss is the Community Theatre’s gain!) We look forward to seeing Mary somewhere in town every day and will always consider her a part of our Whale Museum family.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 17 (4 p.m. until 6 p.m.) at The Whale Museum as we celebrate Mary and wish her well on her “retirement.” (Sharing of “Mary” memories, gifts and good wishes are appropriate!)

Jenny L. Atkinson
Executive Director
The Whale Museum

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