May 22nd, 2013, by Margie Doyle
The Mobile Dental Clinic from Medical Teams International will be returning to Orcas on May 31st and June 1st. The Clinic will provide care to qualifying community members. Services provided during the clinic will be free of charge, thanks to the donation of skills and resources by our local dentists and hygienists.
Applications are available on line at www.oicf.us , or can be picked up at the Food Bank, the Public Library, Orcas Family Connections or the County Health office at the Senior Center. Applications will be reviewed and prioritized based on severity of dental needs and pain. Completed applications can be dropped off in the Dental Box outside the Public Library. If you have questions regarding the application or available services, please contact Barbara Ehrmantraut, 376-3395.
The dental clinic is funded and coordinated through the Orcas Island Community Foundation. Both Dr. Ivans and Dr. Bailey and staff members are volunteering to provide care. Jim Biddick is coordinating volunteers to provide check-in support and can be reached at 376-2488. The Orcas Community Church is hosting the van and housing for the van drivers has been contributed by the Gudgell family. Breakfast snacks and lunch for the volunteers are needed on both days; if you are interested in contributing, please contact the Orcas Island Community Foundation, 376-6423. Working together, we keep the community healthy.
May 21st, 2013, by Margie Doyle
The public is invited to join family, friends and alumni in celebrating the graduation of Cohort IX, the 2013 class of Leadership San Juan Islands.
The event will be held on Friday May 31 at the San Juan Island Grange 152 First Street in Friday Harbor.
A local foods potluck will commence at 11:30 a.m. Guest Speaker is Jan Levy, Leadership Tomorrow.
Cohort presentations at 12:20 p.m.
Ceremony to conclude by 1:45 p.m.
May 21st, 2013, by Margie Doyle
The San Juan County Council announced their unanimous decision today [May 21] to offer the position of County Manager to Michael Thomas, currently the City Administrator for the City of Enumclaw, Washington.
Council member Bob Jarman praised Thomas for his background in economic development and community planning, citing that it will be critical in addressing the land use and planning issues the County faces. Jarman also said that Mike Thomas will be a great addition to the Council team.
Member Rick Hughes spoke of Mike’s experience and familiarity with the laws of Washington State – and said he was very pleased that Thomas will be moving here with his family, including two school age children.
Council Chair Jamie Stephens detailed the steps that had been taken in the recruitment process, citing the strong roster of finalists provided by the recruiter. Stephens thanked the members of the community and staff who participated in the selection process and said he hoped Mike will be able to join the County staff the last week in June. Stephens said Mike’s collaborative team approach will work well here, and that he appreciated that Mike’s style was to work with councils and department heads to help them get their work done, rather than directing them.
Michael Thomas will be the first regular County Manager under the changes to the County Charter approved by voters in November, 2012. Bob Jean has been the Interim County Administrator, then the Interim County Manager, since last June.
There were 44 applicants for the position, with 5 currently residing in the County. The recruiting firm of The Prothman Company screened the candidates and presented the County Council with a list of semifinalists. The Council selected a list of finalists to interview, including one local candidate who then withdrew from consideration prior to the interviews.
On Monday, May 13th, the five candidates visited County facilities and met with islanders and answered questions at open houses held on Orcas Island, Lopez Island and San Juan Island. On Tuesday, May 14th, the candidates were interviewed by separate panels made up of County residents, County staff, and the County Council. The Council then held an executive session on Wednesday, May 15th, to interview the two top candidates. The Council met today in executive session to discuss the qualifications of the top candidates and then moved into open session for their deliberations and selection.
May 20th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
From UW Medicine and PeaceHealth
UW Medicine and PeaceHealth have signed a groundbreaking Letter of Intent to create a strategic affiliation that will provide patients throughout much of Washington and Alaska with access to the most comprehensive care available in the Pacific Northwest.
The Letter of Intent, which was signed today [May 20] is expected to be memorialized in further definitive agreements by Sept. 30, 2013. The agreement will bring together two mission-driven, not-for-profit health systems – each with a focus on evidence-based medicine, community health improvement and cost effective care – to provide a full continuum of services as envisioned under health care reform.
The two organizations will remain legally separate and independent; governance will not be affected. No government regulatory approval is required.
“This affiliation allows us to coordinate care and services with a respected health care organization that has deep roots in the region and shares our passion for serving everyone in the community regardless of their ability to pay,” said Johnese Spisso, Chief Health System Officer for UW Medicine. “Together, our systems provide an extraordinary amount of charity care to patients across the state of Washington.”
May 20th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
Second “Take It Only” Days this week, May 24-26
All Orcas Islanders are invited and encouraged to attend Workshops for Community Design of the New Building(s) to House The Exchange, beginning Sunday June 2 from 1-5 pm at The Eastsound Fire Hall. The purpose of the sessions is for participating citizens to propose, discuss, analyze and reach a consensus on a design, the first step in rebuilding The Exchange. Fred Klein will facilitate the sessions, and present the results to the Board of Orcas Recycling Services in June.
There are four sessions scheduled at the Orcas Island Fire Hall, with the first being mandatory:
- Sunday, June 2, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm
- Tuesday, June 4, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
- Friday, June 7, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm
- Sunday, June 9, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm
Full information about the workshops is available at the Exchange/Orcas Recycling Services website, www.exchangeonorcas.org. Pre-registration is requested.To preregister, or for further information, call Michael Greenberg at 376-4118, or email email@example.com
Please also note that we will be holding another Take-It-Only event at The Exchange from May 24th – 26th. No items will be accepted.
May 19th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
Saturday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Village Green
Enjoy incredible, affordable food over Memorial Day weekend
An injured Bald Eagle receives treatment at Wolf Hollow
When a wild animal is in need, there is one place they can turn: Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
One of its primary sources of funding is the annual Bite of Orcas, a culinary event held in the Village Green. Money raised from the eating extravaganza helps Wolf Hollow continue to come to the rescue of birds, mammals and reptiles.
Now in its 18th year, the Bite offers a delicious menu of foods like seafood chowder, cupcakes, ice cream, sushi rolls, steak fajitas, steamed clams, chicken chipotle salad and Chicago-style hot dogs.
The wide sampling of flavorful and eclectic cuisine comes at a price that is hard to beat. Tickets are sold in $1 units and can be used at any of the participating restaurants underneath the big white tent on the Village Green.
A variety of local food purveyors are contributing delicacies (and donating 33 percent of their profits) to the Bite of Orcas.
Proceeds from the event go to Wolf Hollow, a nonprofit organization that not only rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife, but also provides public education and conducts non-invasive research. It is located on San Juan Island, but has served all of San Juan and Skagit County for the past 30 years. The 40-acre property hosts 40 animal enclosures, including an eagle flight enclosure, seal pools, a deer enclosure and a songbird aviary.
May 19th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
Challenges brought by groups from opposite ends of land-use spectrum
From the San Juan County Prosecutor’s Office
For three weeks the attorneys at the prosecutor’s office have been writing, revising and honing the response to the challengers of the county’s critical areas ordinances adopted in December 2012.
The county’s response, at almost 100 pages with about 1000 citations covering about 100 issues, is the most complete statement of the controversy over the critical areas ordinances. “Our objective,” said Prosecuting Attorney Randall K. Gaylord, “is to show the Growth Board that we followed the law, considered the science, and applied the policies adopted by the county council.”
The critical areas ordinances concern wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, frequently flood areas and steep slopes. The ordinances have exacting standards to protect these resources and assure that the species of concern are not lost due to development. The ordinance also reflects the county council’s choices to balance the regulatory system with a recognition that preexisting structures and uses should be allowed to continue.
The challengers have presented issues from opposite ends of the land use spectrum. Friends of the San Juans contend the critical area ordinances make too many exceptions and ask that the Growth Board use other scientific reports. Common Sense Alliance, P.J. Taggares, John Evans/San Juan Builders and William Wright also ask that the Growth Board follow the reports of other scientists and want a study of each property before it is designated a critical area. A request by Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) to join the case was denied by the Growth Board.
Gaylord said the challengers offer what each of them considers a better approach. “But that’s not the legal standard,” said Gaylord. The county’s response shows how the county council used and considered the “best available science” and explained why the county council departed from the recommendations of the scientists.
“The county council was not required to use specific reports. It could use a range of reports considered best available science or provide a rational explanation when it departed from that range,” added Gaylord. Regarding designation of specific properties as critical areas, Gaylord added that the law permits the approach which evaluates the harm to the critical area at the time a development is proposed.
At a prehearing conference the Growth Board created seven categories of issues regarding four ordinances that address the critical areas – places like wetlands, frequently flooded areas, steep hillsides and habitat for fish and wildlife.
“The most important issues are the procedures used to designate critical areas, and the performance standards used to protect critical areas,” said Gaylord. Other topics to be considered by the Growth Board include consideration of property rights and public participation. Read more…
May 18th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
From the Orcas Island Community Foundation
Orcas: this is the week to make history!
The Orcas Island Community Foundation and Partners in Philanthropy have committed over $106,000 to fund some amazing proposals in this year’s Community Grants program. Thanks to their support, seniors will continue to get home support through Hearts and Hands, there will be CPR training and a defibrillator available at Moran State Park, the Farm to Cafeteria program will continue to thrive, and so much more.
$106,000 is exactly the record amount distributed through the Community Grants program in 2012. We still have one more week to go before this cycle closes on May 24th.
Let’s set a new record! There are still many great opportunities on the list- enrichment programs for the Senior Center, weekend food for kids in need, funding a counselor for the school, and more. See all the opportunities at www.oicf.us. If there is one that you want to support, make a donation of any amount and make our community stronger! We can do it!
The Awards Celebration will be on Friday, May 31st, at 2 pm at the Orcas Center. Come celebrate the wonderful programs and donors who keep our community vital and vibrant.
May 18th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
To the Editor,
I would like to commend the Orcas Island Fire Department/EMS, Emergency Management, Airlift Northwest, Camp Orkila, the volunteers from Deer Harbor and all the others whose combined effort made the recent fire drill in Spring Point an outstanding success. Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien coordinated the activities of an impressively professional crew. Bob Connor had prepared a field for use as an alternate Landing Zone for helicopter evacuation. Sheila Gaquin organized Red Cross facilities at the Deer Harbor Inn, the designated Emergency Center. Altogether a fine example of professionalism, resourcefulness and community effort.
One problem that was readily apparent was with communication.The Fire Department was able to work around crowded radio frequencies. However, cell phone coverage in Spring Point and other areas on Orcas is all but non-existent. Reception is better through the local Canadian network than with our domestic ones in these dead zones. During the recent wild fires in California we saw numerous examples on the news of vital information being exchanged through Twitter or Facebook. And in our dead spots we cannot even make a 911 call.
OPALCO has reached out to the island community to support an improved Broadband through an expanded optical cable network. In my view this would be an outstanding development. However, contrary to rumor, it does not affect coverage for cell phones. The proposed antennas at the end of its lines would only provide Wi-Fi to expand the cable network’s coverage. I am told that these same antennas could also be used to enhance cell phone coverage but one or more of the carriers (ATT, Verizon, etc.) would have to be convinced of the economic incentive.
I believe it is incumbent on OPALCO, our County Council and all our cell phone users to explore and encourage multiple uses of these antennas before the opportunity is lost. Poor reception is not just an inconvenience. As demonstrated in the fire drill it is an avoidable condition that potentially affects the security of much of our islands.
May 17th, 2013, by Margie Doyle
The Funhouse Commons Teen Advisory Board meets tonight, Friday, May 17 at 6 p.m.
All are welcome to attend and become a part of the Teen Advisory Board. Pizza will be served and the group will plan fun events for Teen Nights.
And, your participation looks great on your resume!
Call 376-7177 for any questions.