Response from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue District

— from Acting Chief Scott Williams and representatives of San Juan County Fire District #2 — We are responding to comments from community members to recent news (see regarding the Fire District. We appreciate that several people took the time to offer their viewpoints. 1. Facilities Maintenance Contract: The … Continue reading

School Music Program Supporters Have Their Say at Board Meeting School finances in good shape; teachers retained; gift policies discussed

— by Margie Doyle — Members of the community spoke of the need and benefits of an adequate classroom to accommodate the growing School Strings Music Program, at the regular Orcas Island School District (OISD) board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25. Before nearly a dozen people made their comments, School … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Does Eastsound Still Need Architectural Design Standards? Envisioning what Eastsound will look like entails planning and standards

— by John Campbell, Chairman, Eastsound Design Review Committee– History: 25 years ago there was a general outcry in favor of minimum architectural standards in response to a big dowdy building that engulfed a treasured old landmark. There are two legal bases for community architectural design standards: good design and … Continue reading

Larsen Urges Action from Tesoro, American Petroleum Institute on New Safety Guidelines for U.S. Oil Refineries

— from Douglas Wagoner — Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) is urging the Tesoro Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute to take action on safety guidelines recently issued by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. “Ensuring the safety of workers, surrounding communities and the environment needs to be of the … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: OPAL Working on Local Home Mortgage Fund


— by Alexander Conrad — A recent guest opinion by Ken Wood suggested one approach to increasing the affordability of housing. The [opinion] illustrated how the cost of capital (i.e. interest rates and terms) impact affordability. Comments to the opinion also called for a local organization to step up to … Continue reading

Tea by the Tree with New Interim Principal

— from Orcas Island School District — The public is invited to meet the new interim Elementary Principal, Lorena Stankevich on Monday, August 29 at 3:30 p.m. under the Maple Tree. This “Tea by the Tree” will give parents, friends and relatives of the school the opportunity to socialize with … Continue reading

Entering Phase III: School District Starts Community Discussions Meetings on Aug. 15 and 16: presentation, discussion, tour, discussion. More meetings planned

— by Margie Doyle, updated Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. — Should the Orcas Island School District (OISD) ask the community to support a bond for improvements? But before deciding, what improvements are we talking about? The public was presented with a beginning draft of eight projects that might be … Continue reading

Hard Workers Abound on Orcas Island: Let’s Honor Them! Laboring Laboriously: in Italian "Opera" Means "Work"

— by Lin McNulty and Margie Doyle — For a tourist, vacation “paradise,” many year-round Orcas Island residents are renowned for their work ethic, which seems to be “Life is uncertain, get your work done first.” With many businesses and non-profits being entrepreneurial start-ups and artistic manifestations, islanders throw themselves … Continue reading

Deer Harbor Hamlet Plan Update Set for Public Review, Comments

Wednesday, August 31, 4 – 6 p.m., Deer Harbor Community Club — from Colin Maycock, SJC Community Development — On Wednesday, August 31, 2016 between 4 pm and 6 pm at the Deer Harbor Community Club, 4319 Deer Harbor Road, Orcas Island, San Juan County Department of Community Development is hosting a … Continue reading

Eastsound Visioning Statement Now Has a Survey Information Booth at Farmers Market on Labor Day Weekend

— from Jim Jonassen — The EPRC Task group  “to help enrich a community dialogue on the future to inform the [County Comprehensive] plan update,’ will again have an information booth at the Farmers Market on Saturday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day Weekend). That task group has created a report and … Continue reading

OPALCO Awarded Grant for $1 Million for Grid Modernization

— from Suzanne Olson — OPALCO’s spirit of innovation was recognized this week as the Co-op was awarded a $1 million grid modernization grant by the Washington Clean Energy Fund (CEF). OPALCO is the smallest utility to ever receive a CEF grant. Other recipients include Avista, Seattle City Light, Snohomish … Continue reading

Public Library Board to Hold Special Meeting Expansion project and levy measure on the agenda

— from Phil Heikkinen for the Orcas Island Library Board– The Orcas Island Library Board will hold a Special Meeting in the Library Community Room at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2016. The agenda includes the November 8 levy lid lift ballot measure, building project update, and public campaign. … Continue reading

Brigid Ehrmantraut Interns for the Chamber Music Festival

— by Emma Heikkinen, Orcas Issues Summer Intern — A concert is more than musicians performing — a great deal of organizational work is required, with a multitude of artists collaborating in order to create the final product. At Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Brigid Ehrmantraut is a particularly special … Continue reading

Eastsound Water Board Election Results

–from Paul Kamin, Manager EWUA– At the Eastsound Water Users Association (EWUA) Annual Meeting on Aug 16, 209 votes were cast. Voter turnout was approximately 20% and exceeded the 10% quorum requirement. Joe Cohen, Clyde Duke and Steve Miller were elected to the Board, and will begin serving 3-year terms … Continue reading

Sunrise Volunteers to Hear from Rock Island

— from Chris White — Sunrise breakfast meeting will on August 19th at 7:00 AM. As usual coffee is on the Orcas Island Lions club, order breakfast, get the Sunrise update report and finally, listen to Dan Burke, Sr. vice President of Sales & Marketing of Rock Island Communications. This … Continue reading

Library Fair: Past, Present and Future for Many Years to Come Whether to hold it on the Village Green or at the Library site?

Library Fair 2010 003

— by Madeleine Treneer, Orcas Issues summer intern — Mysteries, Classics, Fiction, History, Biographies, Humor, and many more genres were among the piles and piles of books on display at the Library Fair on Saturday in the Orcas Library parking lot. This Library Fair was about the thrill of the … Continue reading

An Earful on Orcas: Ferries’ Staff Comes to Orcas "Give 30-minute rule some time to work"

Ferry meet Lynn Griffin feature

— by Margie Doyle — In a county-style marathon last week,  top officials of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) system visited the four ferry-served islands over three days to hear from the communities. On Aug. 9, Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith met with a roomful of ferry-riders at … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Help Replace Oil Spill Assc. Landing Craft Matching funds to replace motor during County Fair days ONLY

— from Islands Oil Spill Association — Thanks to the generosity of the San Juan Island Community Foundation (SJICF), each of us has a special opportunity to help Islands’ Oil Spill Association purchase a much-needed new outboard motor for the Green Heron, IOSA’s landing craft that is staged at the … Continue reading

Sam Coleman At the Helm of the Chamber Music Festival


— by Margie Doyle — Sam Coleman has been a familiar face for over a decade on the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival Board and in the audiences, and, in 2013, he assumed the duties of President of the Board. He and his wife Cynthia have had a home on … Continue reading

Phase III School Bond Discussion Meeting in School Cafeteria Monday & Tuesday to discuss modernization

— from the Orcas Island School District — Modernization: Phase III, August 15th and 16th, 2016 Schedule: 9 a.m. – Introductions and Welcome (School Cafeteria) Goals o Community Input o Create Schedule o Create Project Needs History of Work: Phase II Scope Overview of work just completed: o Middle School … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Bond Proposal Will Impact School Music Program Phase III Plans for School Bond Present Music Program Crisis


— by Catherine Pederson — Our School Music Program is facing a crisis situation! You probably received a postcard in the mail last week thanking islanders for the completion of the last two years’ Phase II Building project. It included one music classroom – now used by the Band program. … Continue reading

“Con” Writers Needed for Ballot Measures

— from San Juan County Elections Office — Two local taxing districts have submitted resolutions to the San Juan County Auditor to place tax measures on the November ballot. The Orcas Island Library District is proposing to increase its regular tax levy from 30.34 to 45 cents per $1,000 of … Continue reading

Planning Commission Calls Special Meeting Aug. 19 meeting re-scheduled for Aug. 26

Friday, August 26, 8:30 a.m., Legislative Hearing Room — from Lynda Guernsey — The San Juan County Planning Commission will conduct a Special Meeting on Friday, August 26, 2016 in the Legislative Hearing Room, 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor beginning at 8:30 a.m. The Special Meeting is called because the regular meeting of the Planning … Continue reading

Memorial for Bob Lundeen this Sunday

There is a Celebration of Life in honor of Bob Lundeen planned for Sunday, August 14th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Orcas Center. Bob Lundeen passed away on April 13, 2016. He lived for many years on Orcas Island and was a generous philanthropist. (from the Midland (Mich.) … Continue reading

Kamin Offers Studies on Eastsound Parking to EPRC Ayers Re-elected EPRC Chair, Committee Seeks Add'l Members

— by Margie Doyle — That parking is “the” Eastsound issue was demonstrated by the fact that the bulk of the monthly Eastsound Planning Review Committee (EPRC) meeting on August 4 was taken up in discussing the parking situation in Eastsound’s Urban Growth Area. EPRC’s Bob Maynard spoke of opening … Continue reading

Editorial: Join the Movement to Keep Ferry Food Local! Olympic Cascade Food Services and Cheesecake Cafe to be dumped in favor of national corporation?

— by Margie Doyle, reprinted upon request from July 17 — A petition by Susan Meyers to maintain local vendors for ferry and ferry terminal food services is circulated through a campaign. The petition will be delivered to Governor Jay Inslee. Orcas Issues readers are encouraged to sign the … Continue reading