Guest Opinion: OPALCO’s Proposed Election Changes Significant


–by Alex MacLeod– If you were paying attention, you might recall that the last OPALCO election was fraught with controversy, miscues and mismanagement. It began in January when Gerry Lawlor, the No. 2 guy at OPALCO’s subsidiary, Rock Island Communications, posted notes encouraging members to sign petitions to change the … Continue reading

Letter to Editor | Open Letter to OPALCO


— from Michael Karp — To: OPALCO Board of Directors General Manager Re: Member Review Committee on Elections I am compelled to communicate my views regarding the recent report from the Member Review Committee on elections and feel I would be remiss to not do so. I am very interested … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Proposed OPALCO Election Changes Dilute Member Input a letter to OPALCO Board of Directors

 — by Chom Graecen — To: OPALCO Board of Directors and General Manager Foster Hildreth, Firstly I would like to commend the board for engaging members to provide inputs and recommendations to OPALCO on important matters such as the elections. The Member Review Committee on Elections and the planned Open Houses on different … Continue reading

“Local” is Theme of Farm Parade in Friday Harbor


Saturday, October 1, 2:30 p.m., Friday Harbor — from Roger Ellison — The San Juan Island Grange is pleased to announce the 2016 Friday Harbor Fall Farm Parade on Saturday October 1. Now in its sixth year, the parade will once again depart the fairgrounds onto Argyle at 2:30, travel … Continue reading

Key Grant Awarded for New Affordable Housing Project

— from San Juan County Communications — The quest to build much-needed year-round rental housing on Orcas Island is one step closer to reality. OPAL Community Land Trust and San Juan County were recently awarded a HUD Community Development Block Grant of $562,672. The grant will help fund the purchase … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Lessons Learned from School’s Community Forum

— by Maggie Schuler — Thanks to all who came [to the school-sponsored Community Forum on Sept. 21], shared their beliefs and therefore furthered MY education. I came thinking I was adamantly opposed to building a track– mainly because I knew there are so many other, and to me, more … Continue reading

Calling All Gardeners to Annual Gardening Workshop Secrets of Wheat, Bees, Tomatoes and Deer to be revealed at day-long event


Saturday, October 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday Harbor Middle School, advance registration required — by the San Juan County Master Gardeners — Come join other garden enthusiasts at the 2016 Annual Gardening Workshop, Secrets of Gardening, at Friday Harbor Middle School, on Saturday, October 1, from 8:30 a.m. to … Continue reading

Thor Hanson Keynote Speaker at Annual Gardening Workshop "Secrets of Gardening" takes place Saturday, Oct. 1 on San Juan Island

Thor Hanson. Photo courtesy Kathleen Ballard

— from the WSU/San Juan County Master Gardeners — Calling All Gardeners to Our 2016 Gardening Workshop Author and biologist Thor Hanson will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 Gardening Workshop presented by the San Juan County Master Gardeners on October 1, 2016. As the first speaker at this … Continue reading

Commmunity Discusses School Bond Priorities


— by Margie Doyle — The school cafeteria buzzed with hive-like activity as OPAL Executive Director Lisa Byers moderated a community forum about proposals for a “Phase III Bond” for the Orcas Island School District (OISD). After OISD Superintendent Eric Webb Webb acknowledged Board members Janet Brownell and Greg White, … Continue reading

EPRC Consideration of Street Standards “Throws a Curveball” to OPAL Comments bring out issues with unfinished zoning, increased infrastructure demands and urbanization


— by Emma Heikkinen and Margie Doyle — At the September 15 meeting of the Eastsound Planning Review Committee (EPRC), much of the discussion focused on  the continued urbanization of Eastsound and efforts to maintain the area’s rural character. Public comment opened with a suggestion from John Campbell to the … Continue reading

OPALCO Member Committee Proposes Changes to Election Process Members can review recommendations at October Open House events

— from Suzanne Olson — At the September 16 meeting of the OPALCO Board of Directors in Friday Harbor, a volunteer Member Review Committee on Elections presented seven categories of recommendations for changes to OPALCO’s election process. Co-op members will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Track Donation Brings Problems

— by Bea vonTobel — Updated Sept. 20: I would like to offer a couple revisions to my original letter. (Editor’s note: revisions are in italics) Sometime when you look a gift horse in the mouth you may need to say, “Thanks but no thanks.” The extreme generosity of a … Continue reading

Fire Commissioners Deliberate Appointee and Increased Number of Commissioners Five applicants come forward; appointment deferred until public meeting on Oct. 3

— by  Margie Doyle — Members of the public clearly expressed their support for additional Fire Commissioners at the regular meeting of the Orcas Fire and Rescue District commissioners on Monday, Sept. 19. They also expressed their gratitude and admiration for the candidates who had stepped forward to fill that … Continue reading

Letter to Editor | Evaluate Elements of Proposed Bond on their Separate Merits Numbers of Students in the School Music Programs increasing


–from Miriam Ziegler– This letter is in response to Peg Manning’s comment following Martha Farish’s excellent “Guest Opinion: Broad Public Input Needed in School’s Bond Discussion,” published 9/19/16. I cannot address Peg’s question about construction costs of the track and the anticipated maintenance costs. What I do have is information … Continue reading

Fire Risk Status Now “Low”

Fire Risk Status “LOW,” Burn Permits set to begin October 3rd — from Robert Low, SJC Fire Marshal — Due to current fuel conditions and the long range weather forecast, San Juan County has reduced the fire risk status to “LOW.” However, burn permits will not be issued until October … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Broad Public Input Needed in School’s Bond Discussion Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the School Cafeteria is the next opportunity

— by Martha Farish — The issue [of the School’s Phase III bond proposal] needs broad public input. Everyone involved is trying to do the “right” thing. A historical note: before Orcas Park and Rec was formed the school board took on responsibility for (donated) Buck Park largely because they … Continue reading