Guest Opinion: Fukushima and the Salish Sea

– from Russel Barsh – The data I’ve seen on the spread of radioactive material from Fukushima indicate that the only significant increase in radiation above “background” levels (that is, the earth’s natural radioactivity+residual effects of 50 years of nuclear atmospheric testing) has been within a few hundred miles or so … Continue reading

County Councilman Rick Hughes Drafts Strategic Economic Plan

San Juan County Councilman Rick Hughes, who resides on Orcas Island, presented a draft strategy for economic development to the County Council earlier this year. Hughes said recently, “When I ran for County Council, I hoped to add jobs in the county. I’ve found that’s it’s not easy for Council … Continue reading

Editorial: Questions and Authority in County Government

– by Margie Doyle – Recently we were asked to publish a letter exposing the alleged wrong-doing of a County Councilman who was accused of violating the County Charter and overstepping his authority. As we looked into the claim, which involved many private conversations with county officials, the accusations themselves of … Continue reading

Guest Column: Streetscape Plans for Fern Street Extension

 – from Fred Klein – Pictured  is the sketch prepared under the auspices of Eastsound Planning Review Committee (EPRC) concerning the future use of the increasingly famous 50 foot wide lot originally acquired by Public Works to extend Fern Street to N. Beach Road. Prepared as part of the Prune … Continue reading

Guest Column: What It Takes To Build Community

— by Hedrick Smith — Orcas has the irresistible lure of a natural Paradise and the attraction of a welcoming civic spirit – a caring human community. [In 2006], that community spirit inspired San Juan Islanders to raise $18.5 million to save Turtleback Mountain from development and to preserve its … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Sea Star “Near Extinction” Claim Disputed

— from Russel Barsh — The massive Heterosigma bloom around Orcas was still going strong twelve days since it was first observed on June 7. When local volunteers seined in the eelgrass meadow around Indian Island on June 16 they saw only a handful of distressed fish, however. Overall, fish … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Time to Implement Public Benefit Rating System for Open Space

– from Charles Zalmanek, County Assessor – Legislation was enacted in 1993 that allowed counties to implement the Open Space Farm Conservation Program because many farmers, whose lands were enrolled in the Current Use Farm and Agricultural Program (a commercial farming program), were reaching the age where they could no … Continue reading