It Takes a Village to Bring the Classroom to Salmon

— from Fiona Norris for the San Juan Nature Institute — On Monday November 23rd, the third grade class from Orcas Elementary School, accompanied by teachers, instructors from San Juan Nature Institute and a few parents, set off to see the return of the Kokanee at Cascade Lake. It was … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Thanks, Kiwanians and Volunteers for New Playground

funhouse playgroundkids feature

— from Krista Bouchey, Funhouse Commons Executive Director — To Members of the Orcas Kiwanis Club, This past summer you gave a very generous contribution in support of a new playground for the Funhouse. Over the weekend 37 volunteers installed the structure and the base chips. Yesterday [Nov. 18] was … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: The Dire Consequences of TPP: What You Need to Know

— by David Turnoy, reprinted Nov. 24 upon request — What do you know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? After years of negotiations, its text was finally released last week, and it is truly the trade treaty from Hell. Here are some of the very likely consequences: More early deaths … Continue reading

Take Charge! Energy Pie Social

Wednesday, December 2, 5-7 pm, Emmanuel Parish Hall — from Kari Koski, for San Juan Islands Conservation District — Stay warm this winter & decarbonize your energy. Join us to discuss how you can take charge of your energy use. Learn how to use OPALCO’s Smart Hub tool; Understand the benefits of … Continue reading

Presidential Medal of Freedom Goes to Two Washingtonians


— from Washington State Legislature — The considerable accomplishments of two iconic Washingtonians will be recognized with America’s single highest civilian honor this week at the White House when President Obama will present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Bill Ruckelshaus and, posthumously, to Billy Frank Jr. “These two incredible Washingtonians and … Continue reading

Guest Editorial: New Shoreline Aquaculture Laws Could Impact Homeowners, Tourists

— by Lovel Pratt — The SJC Council is updating the Shoreline Master Program (SMP), with hearings beginning on November 30th. This update is this community’s opportunity to address requirements for future aquaculture operations in SJC, including the types of commercial aquaculture we don’t yet have. There are two types … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Now is the Time to Let Council Hear from You on Shoreline Protection

— from Rein Attemann, Puget Sound Advocacy Manager, Washington Environmental Council — Shorelines define the uniqueness of the San Juan Islands – from the rocky shores of Lime Kiln State Park to the beaches of Spencer’s Spit on Lopez Island. And in San Juan County, there are more shorelines than … Continue reading

Editorial: Cram for the Changes in Shoreline Master Plan

— by Margie Doyle — As your Community-Journalist-in-Chief, I have an apology to make for the scarce coverage Orcas Issues has given to the County’s Shoreline Master Plan update. I confess it hasn’t been a top priority with the Eastsound Subarea Plan update, Managing Editor Lin McNulty’s 12-day hospitalization (thank … Continue reading

Guest Column: Congressman Rick Larsen Hears TPP Questions

Congressman Rick Larsen

–by David Turnoy– On Sunday, Nov. 15, Congressman Rick Larsen visited San Juan County to hear from and answer questions of constituents related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. About fifty members of the public attended the forum held at the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor, and for anyone who … Continue reading

What Should a New Dog Park Look Like?

Sunday November 29 from 10 3 p.m. at the Funhouse The San Juan County Land Bank, Orcas Island Park and Recreation District and OOLA, the nonprofit operator of the current off leash area, are looking into the feasibility of providing a new, permanent home for the Orcas Off-leash Area, … Continue reading

Inslee Declares State of Emergency

[Editor’s Note: As the rest of our state recovers from the recent storm that caused widespread flooding and wind damage, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, on Wednesday evening, issued a State of Emergency for the entire state. The heavy rain and high winds across the state were responsible for power outages (even here on Orcas), … Continue reading

Student Study Finds Endocrine Disrupters in Local Waters

— from Russel Barsh, Kwiat, Corrected Nov. 24. at 10 a.m. — Scientists have expressed increasing concern over the accumulation of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) such as dioxins and PCBs in the planet’s rivers, lakes, and the oceans. At high levels in food EDCs can cause developmental defects in children. But long before … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Hold Spending Down, OPALCO

–– from John and Susan Fleischer — Recently, OPALCO sent out an e-mail about the energy future, Rock Island, and the low income needs assessment. In this e-mail, OPALCO appears to support a “go faster” approach to Rock Island expenditures for the sake of “return on investment”. This may be … Continue reading

Hearing Examiner Allows Conditional Use Permit for Pot-growing Operation

— from the Nov. 3 Hearing Examiner’s decision — On Nov. 3, Sharon A. Rice, San Juan County Hearing Examiner, signed off on a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Tusco Property Management of Bellevue to construct a building to house indoor commercial marijuana production and processing under state-licensed Initiative 502. … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Come to the Kwiaht Party

— from Russel Barsh — Kwiaht and the Indian Island volunteer team warmly invite you to share some food, music, and current knowledge with us at Orcas Center on Thursday November 19 beginning at 5:30 pm! Admission is free for everyone, as always. This year — our seventh — we … Continue reading

Only the Beginning– ORS’ Capital Campaign to Build New Exchange


— by Margie Doyle — Orcas Islanders have been eagerly anticipating the return of The Exchange, that 30+ year old ramshackle collection of sheds and tents under which many a treasure or necessity was found. When the old Exchange burned on Feb. 10, 2013, Orcas Recycling Services (ORS), the company … Continue reading

Public Hearing to Update Shoreline Master Plan

November 30, at 9:15 a.m. in the County Council Chambers, Friday Harbor — from Colin Maycock, Senior County Planner — Notice of Public Hearing on an Ordinance Repealing Chapter 18.50 SJCC and Official Land Use and Shoreline Maps; Adopting New Shoreline Master Program Regulations, Official Land Use and Shoreline Maps, … Continue reading

Climate Change Headlines Annual Indian Island Report

Kwiaht feature

Thursday Nov. 19, 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Orcas Center  — from Russel Barsh — The “blob” of unusually warm water that has dominated North Pacific weather for the past two years is the focus of this year’s Celebrate Indian Island event at Orcas Center on November 19, sponsored by … Continue reading

Climate Reality, Solutions and Actions – We’re ALL in this Together!

Tuesday, November 10 at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel Parish Hall — from the SeaDoc Society — Veterinarian and retired Regional Director of the United States Geological Service Dr. Leslie Dierauf will speak on practical solutions to the problem of climate change. at this month’s Marine Science Lecture. Leslie will help … Continue reading