Journal of the San Juan Islands


Update: County councilman recuperating after heart attack

April 2, 2013 · Updated 3:15 PM

Marc Forlenza / Journal file photo

County Councilman Marc Forlenza is recuperating at a Bellingham hospital after suffering a heart attack at his Friday Harbor home early Tuesday.

Doctors at St. Joseph's hospital placed a coronary stent in an artery in his heart as part of an emergency procedure on Tuesday, and the Forlenza was up on his feet and moving around as of Wednesday, according to an email circulated to members of San Juan Island Yacht Club, of which the councilman, elected in November in a first-ever bid at public office, is also  member.

Pending results of further tests, he is expected to be back on-island as early as Friday.

Forlenza credits a rapid response by the island's EMT's and paramedics for quickly likely saving his life, according to the SJIYC email.


San Juan County Councilman Marc Forlenza was flown off-island Tuesday morning after reportedly suffering a heart attack at his home.

Sheriff Rob Nou said that emergency medical personnel responded to Forlenza's Friday Harbor home after receiving a medical call from his First Street residence early Tuesday morning. Nou said Forlenza, elected to the council in November, was transported by ambulance to Friday Harbor Airport and then flown to a hospital on the mainland.

Nou declined to comment about what prompted the medical call from the Forlenza home, noting that neither he nor sheriff's deputies were at the scene. However, several sources close to the County Council said Tuesday that Forlenza had suffered a heart attack.

In a first-ever bid for public office, Forlenza was elected to the soon-to-be obsolete 6-person council in November. He is part-owner and manager of the Technology Building in Friday Harbor, on Mullis Street.

Following a loss in the February primary election for the newly created 3-person council, established as part of the county's Home Rule Charter amendments approve by voters in November, Forlenza's term in office is slated to end in early May.

The medical emergency comes one week after Forlenza filed a criminal complaint at the sheriff's office following a confrontation with a Friday Harbor constituent, former councilman Howie Rosenfeld, at his council office. Rosenfeld was defeated by Forlenza in his reelection bid in November.

Nou said that both Rosenfeld and Forlenza filed complaints accusing the other of making threats during that argument, and that the incident remains under investigation. Though he declined to comment on any details surrounding the run-in, because it's under investigation, Nou said that there was no physical altercation and that both complaints would be accurately characterized as "perceived threats."

— Scott Rasmussen



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