Helping in Lesbos: A Most Humbling, Heart-breaking, Heart-warming Experience


— from Kate Jewell — Peeling six layers of dripping wet clothes off the first screaming, terrified infant thrust in my arms was challenging. Getting her diapered, redressed, warm, dry and reunited with her mother even more so. Especially when the surrounding environment in our make-shift tent had grown to … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Local Perspective on Water Issues in Flint


— from Paul Kamin, General Manager, Eastsound Water Users Association (EWUA) — It is hard to miss the distressing news of high lead concentrations found in the public water supply in Flint, Michigan. Unfortunately this will be one of the most significant public health system failures in American history, with children being … Continue reading

Ranker Notes Passing of Harriet Spanel

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released this statement [on Feb. 2, 2016] on the passing of former Sen. Harriet Spanel, his predecessor as senator representing the 40th Legislative District. “I am extremely saddened to hear of the loss of Harriet Spanel. She was a dear friend and mentor to me. … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: How Should We Be Looking at Energy Use and Conservation?


— by Tom Owens — OPALCO — ¨Clean All The Time¨ Energy. Really? Overview OPALCO is now telling us that the energy they provide is ¨clean all the time.¨ This is a very important piece of information because it will influence our decisions on the use of energy. CO2 is … Continue reading

Letter to Editor: Ranker Represents Us Well


— from Paul Sheridan, Executive Director, Four Winds * Westward Ho Camp — We are fortunate in the San Juan Islands to have Senator Kevin Ranker representing us in Olympia. I’ve known this for some time, but a recent interaction has confirmed that thought beyond my most optimistic expectations. I’m the Executive … Continue reading

Our Representatives Report: Larsen Votes to Support Iran Nuclear Treaty

Larsen: Derailing Iran Agreement Short-Sighted, Ineffective — from the office of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen– Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, [on Feb. 2, 2016] voted against a [House of Representtives] bill that would undermine the U.S. government’s ability to carry out the international agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: We Are All Stakeholders of Dolphin Bay Road


— by Ken Katz — No one person owns our roads, libraries, schools and parks. These are for us to use now and preserve for future generations. We are all stakeholders of public assets in our community, the nation, and the world. All of us have different needs and wants … Continue reading

Sharon Abreu to Take “Climate Monologues” to LA

Sharon Abreu captures Spiritual Progressives with "The Left Hand of God"

— from Irthlingz — In 2010 Sharon Abreu did the first performance of her new show, “The Climate Monologues,” at The Orcas Grange. This March, Sharon will have the opportunity to bring “The Climate Monologues” to a wider audience as part of the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. Sharon explains, … Continue reading

FilmFest Review: “Free to Rock”

AdFilmFest2015 feature

— by Paula Treneer, reprinted upon request — OIFF Film Review: “Free to Rock”, a must-see documentary directed by Jim Brown: Orcas Island Film Festival brought a notable contribution to the genre of music documentaries with a preview showing of “Free to Rock”, directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Jim … Continue reading

Our Representatives Report: Morris Pushes Solar and Space Bills

— from Washington State Representative Jeff Morris — It’s been a busy start to a short 60 day legislative session. I greatly appreciate the honor of serving the 40th Legislative District and representing you here in Olympia. Please take a look at some of the bills and issues I am … Continue reading

TEDx –Ideas Worth Sharing — Tickets on Sale Now

— from Gretchen Krampf for TEDx Orcas — Tickets for the Orcas Iasland TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks are now on sale at Our conference will center on the theme of “Best of Both Worlds – the Potential in Polarity”. What is TEDx? In the spirit of “ideas worth … Continue reading

Letter to Editor: Steven Marler, Fire Chief and Sheep Dog

— from Patrick Shepler, Firefighter/Paramedic / Friend — There is an old concept about three basic human attributes. This metaphor was highlighted in a recent movie. It says the world has three types of people: Sheep, Wolves, and Sheep Dogs. Steve was a Protector; a Sheep Dog. Steve dedicated his life to the missions … Continue reading

Guest Editorial: Our Last Chance to “Just Say No” to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

by Tuesday, February 2 — from Islanders for Safe Shipping — Remember the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion? This is the project that would increase Canadian crude oil tankers in the Salish Sea from 120 to 816 transits a year. Because this dramatic increase in shipping brings with it … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Warm Hearts on a Cold Winter Day


— by Heidi Lindberg– I need to thank the people publicly who came out of nowhere to help me, on a very cold damp day, when my usually trusty 38-year-old car stopped as I was backing into a parking space right in the main part of town. While I was … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Citizens Review Orcas Park & Rec Levy


— from the Orcas Island Park and Recreation District Commissioners — Dear Orcas Island Citizens, We, the commissioners of the Orcas Island Park and Recreation District (OIPRD), take the stewardship of public funds as a critical component of our job as elected officials. As part of assuring the voters that … Continue reading

Guest Editorial : Shoreline Master Program Update Provides an Important Opportunity


— by Tina Whitman — The more than 400 miles of marine shoreline in San Juan County define our unique community of islands- they are our identity. Highly productive intersections of land and sea, these shorelines support the marine food web and its salmon, seabirds and marine mammals that provide … Continue reading

Hedrick Smith Delivers the Message of Rev. Martin Luther King

MLK.1963.Marching feature

— by Hedrick Smith, — Washington – Back in the 1960s, when I was covering Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis and other civil rights activists for The New York Times, I remember die-hard segregationists hurling an accusation at Dr. King that he was an “outside agitator.” “You’re comin’ … Continue reading

Olympia: Legislature Opens with Focus on Education

— from the League of Women Voters, Ann Murphy, President, Jasmine Karpelman, Newsletter Editor — 2016 Legislative Session Overview Jan. 10, 2017 –During this short, 60-day, session, a major focus of the legislature will be on education and the revenue needed to meet the requirements of the McCleary lawsuit to … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor: Support the Orcas Schools’ Maintenance and Operations Levy


— from the Orcas Island School Board — We are constantly humbled by the support we receive from you all year round. The volunteers who give of their time, the donors who contribute so generously, and the taxpayers who literally provide the funding we need to stay in business. All … Continue reading

Guest Column: Does OPALCO Really Have Clean Electricity ?


— by Tom Owens — From my perspective, there is the ¨Inconvenient Truth¨ about OPALCO’s electric energy (or any electric energy on the WECC grid). Electric energy is far from clean and on the margin (for new loads or new conservation) the generating plants that increase or decrease to meet … Continue reading