By Bonnie Hendrickson
As you may know, I served on the OPALCO Board for several years, but resigned last summer for health reasons. Numerous OPALCO members have asked me about the upcoming board elections, and I would like to express my recommendations. I strongly urge members to elect Jim Lett and Brian Silverstein in District 3 (Lopez) and Jerry Whitfield in District 4 (Shaw). Here's why:
While my two favorite candidates are discussing real issues that are very important to the vast majority of us, I believe that there is one issue that affects every living creature on the face of the earth: climate changes caused by our own actions and excesses.
I agree with Alex MacLeod that OPALCO/Rock Island should disclose the locations of existing and planned LTE/cell towers. According to a scientific article, there have been ten epidemiological studies of health effects on those living less than 500 meters (approximately 1500 feet) from wireless transmitters, including cell towers, and "eight of those ten studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances less than 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines…."  A study of cell towers in Netanya, Israel found that the incidence of cancer in women living near the transmitters was four times that of the general population.  A 2002 study indicated that there was a significant increase among people living in the vicinity of cell towers of fatigue (300 meters), headache and sleep disturbance (200 meters), irritability, depression, loss of memory and dizziness (100 meters).  In addition to these epidemiological studies, a 2006-2007 study in Kempten West Germany of melatonin and serotonin in the blood of people living within 300 meters of a cell phone tower, before and five months after the installation of the tower, indicated that (1) daytime levels of melatonin increased, and nighttime levels decreased, after installation of the cell tower, which would lead to fatigue and drowsiness and reduced immunity; and (2)in 84 percent of people serotonin levels decreased by an average of 46 percent after the installation of the tower, which would lead to depression and mood disturbances.
With the important OPALCO election coming up, much is at stake. In the face of rising costs, a changing utility landscape, expensive submarine cables and fiber optic installations, we believe Brian Silverstein is the right person to help our electric co-op navigate a challenging path to keep electricity bills affordable and fair, manage co-op finances transparently, and encourage conservation & renewable energy. With these big issues surrounding us and on the horizon, competent, level-headed and democratic leadership is more important than ever.
On behalf of the San Juan Island Service Scholarship board I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who came out on March 31 to support our annual Dining for Scholars event. It was wonderful to see so many community -minded friends and families dining out to support the mission of volunteerism and scholarship here on San Juan Island.
I was raised on Orcas; my mother (Carol Clark) and my sister and brother-in-law (Susan and John Fleischer), all of whom still live on our farm near West Sound, are OPALCO members.
It's unfortunate that the Sounder has plunged into partisan politics by publishing Cali Bagby's San Juan Journal article regarding Congressman Rick Larsen as an editorial. It should instead have appeared as a guest opinion.
Thanks for your editorial about the "superdelagates" needing to listen to the voters of Washington, who have voted 70 percent for Bernie Statewide, and almost 80 percent in San Juan County. I think the problem is that Hillary is primarily about "me, me, me", and getting an inauguration party for herself, like her husband had. Her self-righteous behavior is a turnoff for many people, let alone her support for wars, the ridiculously expensive Republican/compromise Insurance-based medical care system, and other policies that make her the best Republican candidate out there. I feel she should start by coming clean about the death of her law firm buddy and white house "aide," Vince Foster, whose death from multiple gunshots to the head was called a suicide, after the body was apparently dragged out of the White house to a park. (Editor's note: According to the Washington Post, "Special counsel Robert B. Fiske Jr. concluded that Foster's death in Fort Marcy Park last July was a suicide. The Fiske investigation involved four lawyers, five physicians, seven FBI agents, approximately 125 witnesses; and multiple tests." Alternative news sources and blogs have made his death a subject of conspiracy theories.)
Dear San Juan Singers: Last night I really enjoyed your presentation of music from the Celtic Isles. So much talent and energy! You lifted my spirit, warmed my heart, and touched my soul. You all are a special gift to our community…Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! Waiting for you next program.
by Alex MacLeod
A quiet, early morning ferry ride with a fresh blueberry muffin and a hot cup of coffee turns the trip from a necessary commute into an enjoyable, peaceful boat ride. So the ferry's attempt to make food service on the boats more consistent is a welcome plan. But their choice to go with Connecticut-based food vendor Centerplate, Inc. is a bad one.
The new 30 minute rule from Washington State Ferries requires riders to be past the tollbooth in order to not lose their reservations.
Recently, constituents have raged online toward Rep Larsen for his endorsement for Hillary Clinton as president when Bernie Sanders reigned supreme at Democratic caucuses across the state. And we want to know, why Larsen is swimming upstream.
I am writing this letter to all OPALCO members to discuss my support of Brian Silverstein for one of the District 3 Director positions. Brian's résume, which you can read of on the OPALCO website, speaks for itself. I think it is fortunate for us that someone with his work experience with OPALCO's provider of energy is not only willing but eager to put his experience to work in helping solve the issues that confront us. Difficult challenges are now the norm for OPALCO, and every co-op, PUD and utility company. I observe these challenges and opportunities through the lens of my involvement with renewable energy, both at home and in the county at large.
Many people are surprised and upset to learn of a new ferry system policy from articles recently printed in the local press. It is disturbing that the ferry system has changed its policy regarding when a person with a reservation needs to show up. You now have get to the ticket booth 30 minutes prior to sailing or your reservation will be cancelled, as opposed to previously needing to get in line 30 minutes early.
We have all been touched by Kathleen Zuidema's story and her successful quest for homes for her Aussie Posse: Autumn, Mona and Finnegan. Many of you have asked how to help as Danielle Cochran welcomes them into her home. Donations details are listed below for veterinarian care, food, fencing and medical expenses. You can drop donations off at Browne's Home Center, Harbor Veterinary Services and Friday Harbor Pets.
by Bruce Williams
For the animals