Guest Opinion | What Really Powers Your Electric Car?


— from Tom Owens — OPALCO held a meeting (July 12) to examine future of energy for the Co-Op. Mr. Dauciunas is reported to have stated that since San Juan County gets 98% of its electricity from Canada (hydro, solar and wind) new electric cars here run on hydro. This … Continue reading

Help the Ferries Improve the Reservation System Survey asks specific route questions

— from Anne Haley, Chairman, Washington State Transportation Commission — The Washington State Transportation Commission is asking members of the Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG) both users and non-users to provide their views/opinions on the WSF reservation system. The results of this survey will be delivered to WSF leadership and … Continue reading

Our Representatives Report: “Questioning NATO Commitment Is Dangerous” Larsen: Questioning U.S.’ Commitment to NATO is ‘reckless, dangerous, and weakens our role in the world’


— from U.S. Representative Rick Larsen — On July 21, 2016, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee,  released the following statement after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump questioned the United States’ existing agreements with and commitment to defending its NATO allies: “For almost … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: An Innovative Proposal for Housing Affordability


— by Ken Wood — Okay, let’s talk about HOUSING AFFORDABILITY; specifically here on the island, though the basic problem is actually everywhere: 1. There is a disparity between what it is possible to earn and what a mortgage payment costs each month. I say mortgage payment and not rent, … Continue reading

Reception for Cyrus Habib, Lt. Governor Candidate

Cyrus Habib

Monday, July 18 from at Random Howse — from Don Stillman — Cyrus Habib, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, will visit Orcas Island on Monday, July 18. He will speak at an informal event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Random Howse near the Post Office in Eastsound. Habib currently … Continue reading

Congressional Candidate Weighs In On Dallas Shooting

— from B.J. Guillot — Marc Hennemann, Republican candidate for Congress in the Second District, has released the following statement concerning [Thursday] night’s terrorist murders of police officers in Dallas: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by the terrorist attack on police officers in Dallas last night. My thoughts and … Continue reading

San Juan County Council Candidates Speak Before the Public First of a two-part series

— by Margie Doyle — Attendance was sparse (about two dozen) at the League of Women Voters of the San Juans Election Forum on Tuesday, July 5. Yet the audience asked knowledgeable questions that elicited the positions of the five candidates running county-wide for the seat from San Juan Island … Continue reading

Guest Opinion | How Can Islanders Save 77 Million Gallons of Water this Year?


— from Lauren Platman, Friends of the San Juans — With summer underway, some islanders are already feeling the heat-and the drought. Some wells are already being starved of fresh water, which makes the rainy autumn season seem a long way off. As climate change affects our region, including our … Continue reading

Flotsam and Jetsam: Experienced Ferry Commuters See It All

— a semi-regular humor column by Maurice Austin — Among the joys afforded San Juan Islands ferry commuters in the dark months of July and August, those occurring among the Anacortes ferry terminal’s multiples holding lanes provide entertainment on par with island roads themselves. That guy with the absurdly large … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Replace OPALCO’s “Spendthrift” Board

— from Gabriel Jacobs — In the minutes of the OPALCO Board meeting of May 19, 2016 there is a sentence about an audit, “Darlington recommended that the detailed document remain confidential to management and the board due the risk of exposing vulnerabilities of the organization.” This refers to an … Continue reading

Flotsam and Jetsam | A (Steve) Miller’s Tale

— a semi-regular humor column by Maurice Austin — At least the Seattle PI didn’t dub Steve Miller’s Friday Harbor estate, recently listed for sale at $16.8 million, a “find”. But the PI regularly describes many other multi-million-dollar estates as “finds”…which seems odd, because to me, a “find” would mean … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Vacation Rentals Create Problems

— by Steve Mckenna — One year ago I wrote a “Guest Opinion”, referenced here (, suggesting a moratorium on Vacation Rentals until the County addresses the issues caused by their continued proliferation. While the County appears to be starting to take a look at Vacation Rentals I would … Continue reading

Guest Column: Reverberations from Orlando


— by Fred Klein — Even though the recent mass shooting in Orlando was only briefly in the news…the story having been eclipsed by the tragic death-by-alligator of a toddler at Disney World…fifty people being gunned down in a nightclub has continued to keep my attention. Many of the news reports I … Continue reading

Flotsam and Jetsam | New WSF Virtual Reality

— by Maurice Austin — On a placid and calm commute from Orcas to Friday Harbor the other day, sun streaming through the windows and deck softly vibrating as if powered by a thousand purring kittens, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. So relaxing! So boring! Alas, … Continue reading

Marc Hennemann to Run for U.S. House of Representatives

— from BJ. Guillot for Marc Hennemann announced [earlier this spring] that he is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Second Congressional District. Mr. Hennemann served in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence analyst and, following his retirement from active duty, worked as a … Continue reading

Flotsam and Jetsam: Complexities of Island Infrastructure

— by Maurice Austin — Took a drive down Dolphin Bay Road the other day and was surprised to be stopped by a survey crew that was set up along the south end. Hooray, I thought, maybe we’re finally going to get this thing paved. I pulled over and popped … Continue reading

Guest Opinion: OPALCO Lowers Expectations in “Deliberate Deception”


–by Alex MacLeod — There is mounting evidence that OPALCO’s Rock Island Communications continues to be a black hole into which members’ money is being dumped in the hope that one day — some day — it will begin pumping big profits back into the cooperative. More seriously, there is … Continue reading

Flotsam and Jetsam | There’s Nothing to See Here, Folks

— from Maurice Austin — Recently, local pin-the-tail-on-the-weather-system guru Cliff Mass lambasted Washington State’s decision to allow the trees surrounding the viewing tower atop Mount Constitution to obscure the view from that lofty promontory ( While Mass deems the vista “one of the great views of the world”, he also … Continue reading

Our Representatives Report: Ranker Explains Supermajority Rejection


Ranker: State tax reform Needed, but this measure is “inequitable” Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the following statement [on May 27] after the Washington State Supreme Court voided in its entirety Initiative 1366 which would have forced a constitutional amendment that would likely have reduced resources for services critical … Continue reading