Letters to the Editor

San Juan Journal Letters to the Editor | Aug. 13

What barcodes are all about
There seems to be some confusion as to why there are barcodes on your ballot.

Some people think that San Juan County has a list of which ballots are given to which voter, and someone could find out how your ballot was voted. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of us who work with your ballot in this county respect and protect your right to vote a secret ballot.

John, a voter and friend, came by the office to tell us he did not want barcodes on his ballot. After we explained our process and why the barcodes are there, he left with a better understanding of our ballot processing system. Before he left, John asked, “Why aren’t you telling people what these barcodes are all about?”

Here are the facts.

There are three barcodes on the front of the ballot that indicate the ballot number, the ballot precinct, and the ballot election. The numbers on the back of the ballot are the same except they also indicate the back of the ballot.

Some people believe we know or could find out how someone has voted by using these barcodes. That is just not the case. We only scan the barcode and not how the ballot is voted. Have you ever received a FedEx package with a barcode on the labelBy scanning the barcode, you can find out where that package has been, but not what is inside. By scanning your ballot barcode, we can find out when your ballot was sent, when it was returned, and when it was counted. We cannot determine how it was voted.

The Washington Secretary of State requires that we use a state-certified ballot processing system. Barcodes are recommended by the Secretary of State for use in ballot reconciliation. San Juan County uses the Hart InterCivic system. The barcodes are there to ensure that every ballot that is returned was issued by our office, is counted and only counted once.

We have strict procedures in place to ensure that your vote is secret. We are your citizen watch group and as a team we are responsible for making certain every vote in every race on every ballot is counted as the voter intended. It is our duty to question procedures that we may feel in any way hinder the privacy of voting or accuracy of counting the ballots of San Juan County.

We whole-heartedly endorse the use of barcodes on ballots. They provide the security and accuracy needed to run an open and truthful election.
Robin Wadleigh, Beth Phillip, Dixie Irwin, Barbara Fagan, Judy Moody, Marie Williamson, Mary Smith, Ardith Kelsey, Pam Starr, Doris Schaller, Carlys Allen

Editor's note: The writers of this letter are members of the Elections Department's A Team.

A blow to private property rights
On Aug. 5, the San Juan County Critical Areas Ordinance Committee met to an audience of about 40 concerned citizens. A mailing had noted that a 150-foot setback from the shoreline had been proposed which would invade property rights, cause devaluation of properties, and give “non-conforming” status to waterfront properties!

These concerned citizens showed up (a new thing for this committee) to question the nature of this proposal. The chairman, Tom Cowan, stated his amazement but, upon a statement from one of the citizens about his concerns, offered no comment except to follow the printed agenda for the day. There were two 15-minute periods for “Citizen Input” later.

The meeting got under way with banter from its members but mostly inaudible to those of us watching the proceeding. I sensed that we were intruders to the open meeting! Occasionally, one of the audience would raise his hand and Cowan would acknowledge his comments about the setback proposal but nothing more.

The committee discussed eel grass, stream fishing (in San Juan County?), growth management, shoreline management, jurisdictions, etc. Obviously not knowing what it covers, one local legal expert touched on the proposal slightly and noted our concerns over rights, valuation, non-conformance, etc.

After a break in proceedings, I talked with one of the members relative to the decision as to the setback. The membership is grouped into three categories: 50-foot setback as it is now, 100-foot and 150-foot. Seems like some discrimination by committee members depending on their property holdings. The member agreed.

The committee needs to address citizens’ concerns, to be transparent in their deliberations (an audio system would help) and to realize that the state Legislature could probably care less what they finally decide (if possible).

But I am glad that these 12 people are well-meaning and are trying their best to attend and take part in citizen duties. Besides, it keeps them out of the taverns!
Donald Jeannet
San Juan Island

Still trying to get back in his chair
I began browsing the Voters’ Pamphlet and almost fell out of my chair when I read some of the comments made by three candidates running for governor.

Will Baker just rants about “The Cover-Up Queen,” his term for current Gov. Christine Gregoire. He doesn’t give his current occupation or say what he’d do if elected.

Duff Badgley says the state should assess steep individual carbon taxes, begin personal carbon rationing, and outlaw single occupancy vehicles. I couldn’t drive to town by myself?

And Mohammad Said insists that Jewish Zionist lobbies, through their mighty power in the media, Hollywood and the financial world, want the White House to wage war against any country perceived to be a threat to Israel.

Running for superintendent of public instruction, David Blomstrom states that he hasn’t lost his mind — just his profession (teaching) and his students. “So why do the media ignore and even lie about me?” he asks.

And Timothy Stoddard, a member of the Salmon Yoga Party who wants to be a state senator, says all our current problems can be solved by using Karmic principles, including “imprinting” infant salmon and teaching yoga in schools, K-12.

Two candidates didn’t submit photos or any comments. Would anyone vote for them?
Sam Connery
Friday Harbor

A sanction is just that: a sanction
In 30 years of practicing land-use law, I have at various times sued San Juan County, advised the county and represented numerous parties in between.

Recently, media in San Juan County have reported on a matter involving County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord and myself that took place 10 years ago. I did not agree with the spin on the matter, but was going to leave it at that. However, a letter was published last week from another lawyer attacking John Linde and suggesting that Randy Gaylord has no significant baggage. That’s unfair.

As reported, about 10 years ago, in a case in which my clients were challenging a county land-use decision, I made a motion asking Judge Alan Hancock to sanction (punish) Mr. Gaylord under Civil Rule 11. To put it in layman’s terms, when a court sanctions under CR 11, it is saying that there was no basis for what the attorney did.

I asked for sanctions because Mr. Gaylord reneged on a binding written agreement, causing my client to incur substantial expense. When Judge Hancock heard the matter, he confirmed unmistakably that CR 11 had been violated. In fact, a court reporter was present and took down word for word Judge Hancock’s ruling. Mr. Gaylord subsequently sent me a check for several thousand dollars.

Contrary to the spin I have read recently, the money was not paid to be “nice” in the face of unreasonable demands. It was paid because it had to be.
Peter J. Eglick

Must have fairness to have justice
I have wrestled with whether to originate this letter or not, finally deciding that I would and let others judge its importance or lack thereof.

About nine years ago, I coached Little League on Lopez Island. In the past, I had been a coach of the 1981 Virginia State Championship team, which was beaten 4-3 at the Southeast Regionals — just two games away from Williamsport.

Little League in the Orcas-Lopez league was significantly different. What was most troubling to me was not the relative lack of talent, but rather the lack of commitment.

During a game I made a non-profane, critical comment to the kids in the dugout. During the following week, I was removed as a coach by the combined board (Lopez had one member). No one ever asked for my side of the story.

As I recall, I didn’t know it was on the agenda. The team, however, went on to win five straight games, perhaps motivated by my comment.

It is my understanding that Randy Gaylord was a member of that board. Even though this was a non-legal, minor incident, it is bothersome that no one ever asked me about it before a decision was made. That wasn’t fair and to me fairness is a prerequisite for justice.
James Brady
Lopez Island

Disruption to open and free elections
I am writing to report a rather strange occurrence: the sign my husband and I placed on our property in support of Randy Gaylord has disappeared five times. We have since learned that this has happened many times in many places on the island.

Hopefully, those in support of both candidates value the right we have in our republic to open and free elections. Anyone disrupting this process harms us all.
Elise Anderson
Orcas Island

Supports Linde and Petersen
Let’s face it. Judge Linde is one of the most trusted and respected members of this community.

He didn’t get there with the help of any special privileges, he got there by interacting with people here for the last 20+ years as District Court judge and as a private attorney for many years.

When he goes to public meetings and speaks you can hear a pin drop as everyone is listening to every word. People listen because they know he is fair and he only speaks when he has carefully researched the subject matter and has comprehensive knowledge. That’s what I look for in a Superior Court judge.

Everyone should go to Gordy Petersen’s Web site, GordyforCouncil.com. He really gets the point across that we are often focusing on the wrong things on the environment. Imagine — the whales and salmon off our pristine shores are swimming in sewage from Victoria because people there don’t want to spend a few bucks apiece on sewage treatment and flush their sewage directly into the straits.

If we love our whales and salmon so much why aren’t banging on their door in Victoria to clean up their act? He makes the point that we now actually have leverage because of the Olympics in 2010 — they don’t want the bad publicity.

We hear technical statements from the Whale Museum about “pollution.” Well, pollution is all the chemicals flushed down the toilets from the entire community of Victoria across the Straits.

I think Gordy could really give a different point of view and shake things up.
Jeff Webster
Friday Harbor

Supports Linde for Superior Court
I am not personally acquainted with either of the two candidates running in the non-partisan race for Superior Court judge for San Juan County.

I have not had an opportunity to sit in a courtroom and observe either one of them at work.

However, as I drive around the island, I observe shiny, pristine signs announcing Randy Gaylord’s candidacy. I also see bent, defaced, removed and destroyed signs for John Linde.

It becomes quite evident by their following which man stands for justice, integrity and respect for the law.
Susan Herrera
Lopez Island

* * *

Tom Evans’ bizarre attack on John Linde in last week’s paper is only understandable when you consider the source.

Since 1979, I have represented a full spectrum of land-use clients in San Juan County and had considerable experience with Linde as opposing counsel and co-counsel. Linde is a careful, thoughtful and talented lawyer. Evans’ attacks are straw men, immediately blown over when looks behind his assertions.

It should be known that Evans some years ago launched a series of vindictive and meritless lawsuits against various Orcas Island residents. A group of lawyers, including Linde, rose to the defense. Ultimately, under pressure, Evans agreed to drop all the suits and published an open letter of apology to the citizens of the county for his bullying behavior.

Apparently, last week was Evans’ attempted “payback” time for Linde’s successful protection of Orcas residents. That’s why I say “consider the source.”

By any objective measure, Linde is a fine candidate for reelection.
Peter L. Buck
The Buck Law Group, PLLC

* * *

Much has been written and spoken about the qualifications and abilities of the two candidates for San Juan Superior Court: John Linde and Randy Gaylord.

Both men have admirable backgrounds in the “law business” without anything more than very minor slips in “procedure,” nothing of substance as far as the fair implementation of legal work is concerned. I know both individuals personally and I believe they can both serve admirably, if elected.

If there is any real difference, it is in the experience as a District Court judge for 21 years that John Linde would seem better prepared. And remember, John was chosen by our governor after an exhaustive search and consideration of the applicants, which included Randy.

At the same time, Randy has many years of experience as San Juan County prosecuting attorney, and what some may call missteps were, in reality, actions approved by the County Commission, now County Council, and Randy works under their direction — not as an independent attorney, but as an elected county employee.

If Randy were to become Superior Court judge, the county would have to go through the expensive, time-consuming process of hiring a replacement.

So, why not save the county (us) the time and money of replacing our prosecuting attorney by allowing Randy to remain in his present position as prosecuting attorney and electing John Linde to continue his fine service as Superior Court judge?

Looks simple enough to me. Please join me in voting for John Linde.
George D. Steed
San Juan Island

* * *

I have known Judge Linde and his family for 26 pleasurable years. Sixteen of those years, I worked for him in District Court.

Judge Linde’s exceptional qualifications are exemplified by the number of Washington judges who endorse him. However, I would like to share with voters a side of Judge Linde many of you may be unaware of: his deep compassion for each individual and each situation.

If you have had the opportunity to observe him in the courtroom, you have no doubt witnessed this aspect. But in the solitude and privacy of chambers, I have seen how deeply touched he is and how difficult decisions can be when the constraints of the law are applied.

As a community member, I am hurt by the vitriolic attacks on Judge Linde’s character, but deeply gratified that he has in no way been a party to this in his approach to the election. John Linde is an excellent judge and I urge you to retain him a Superior Court judge.
Marion Melville
San Juan Island

Supports Gaylord for Superior Court
I worked as a deputy prosecutor for Mr. Gaylord for over 3 ½ years. Mr. Gaylord earned my respect and admiration for his fairness, consistency and the high ethical standards he set for himself and all who worked for him.

I am dismayed that recent news accounts and others have twisted a procedural disagreement in contested litigation into a charge of unprofessional conduct. It was not. For Mr. Gaylord, there was no charge, no complaint, and no ruling of unprofessional or unethical conduct.

Terminology is important here. The rules of professional conduct and ethics for lawyers are the Rules of Professional Conduct, and are enforced by the State Bar Association. The ethical rules for judges are found in the Code of Judicial Conduct, and are enforced by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. The procedural rules governing non-criminal superior court cases are called the rules of civil procedure.

There is a profound distinction between a legal error and misconduct. It is factually and legally incorrect to equate a judge’s preliminary oral ruling about a fee award for a legal error under the rules of civil procedure to Mr. Linde’s formal discipline by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

If fee awards against Mr. Gaylord are newsworthy, shouldn’t we also know if Mr. Linde has ever had attorney fees or other terms awarded against him? Shouldn’t we know how he answered the other questions on the Governor’s Questionnaire?

In the spirit of fair play and full disclosure, I urge Mr. Linde to disclose any claim, charge or complaint that he should pay an award of fees or costs under any rule of the district or superior courts, and to make his Judicial Questionnaire available to the public as Mr. Gaylord has.
Cameron O. Carter
Portland, Ore.

* * *

Randy Gaylord has the right experience for the Superior Court.

He has handled and tried felony criminal cases, juvenile cases, land use cases, and all types of motions heard in Superior Court.

Randy has served as San Juan County prosecuting attorney for 14 years. A prosecutor is a “quasi-judicial” officer with responsibilities equal but different from those of a judge.

While the other candidate may have served as a part-time District Court judge, we should remember that he retired from that job 10 years ago and that District Court experience is quite different from the demands of Superior Court. District Court handles traffic violations, misdemeanors, and small claims.

Experience is not the decisive factor here. Bar groups have rated both candidates as exceptionally well qualified. The decisive factor is “the person.” During the 15 years that we have known Randy, we have admired his work ethic, his compassion and his integrity. We know he’s “the person” for our Superior Court judge.
Lyn Perry
Robin Kucklick

* * *

In the various activities I have had with the county and as a PCO for the Democratic Party on Lopez Island, I have always been impressed with the way Randy Gaylord represented the county’s interests and his objective, even-handed and courteous manner.

As a member of the Veterans Advisory Board I am impressed with Randy’s advice and council.

In reading the Meet the Candidates column in The Islands Sounder on July 23, I much prefer Randy’s answer concerning the court and expanding local mental health services. Randy will ensure the court has a docket for hearing cases involving child abuse and neglect due to mental health or substance abuse.

John Linde said he does not believe we need a therapeutic court at this time. When the candidates answer the question, “Which U.S. Supreme Court justice most closely reflects your view of how local, state or federal law should be interpreted and why?,” to me the answers speak volumes. Randy’s role model would be Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and John Linde’s would be Chief Justice John Roberts. I refer you to the article to read for yourself.

Most recently in the Letters to the Editor section of the Aug. 6 edition of The Islands Sounder, I find “forgetting to include an admonishment for failure to diligently decide a small claim” in the Governor’s Uniform Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire to be very disconcerting.

I like Randy and trust him. I encourage you to join me in voting for Randy Gaylord for Superior Court judge.
Ron Metcalf
Lopez Island

* * *

Randy Gaylord shows he will offer leadership by conducting truancy cases in a way that allows students, parents and administrators to stay on Orcas and Lopez and not have to travel all the way to Friday Harbor.

John Linde says we can’t have court anywhere but Friday Harbor.

I will vote for the candidate who offers vision and hope for a better court. Please join me and vote for Gaylord. I am convinced that he is the best man for the job.

Randy Gaylord has the integrity to be an outstanding and impartial judge.
Nancy May Knapp
Orcas Island

* * *

We write to urge our friends and acquaintances on all the islands to vote for Randall Gaylord for Superior Court judge in the Aug. 19 election.

We met Randy shortly after moving to Orcas almost 18 years ago. From then to now, he has always impressed us as having the exceptional ability to cut through a maze of information to solidly identify the key importance of an issue, and then communicate his concise understanding of that issue with great clarity.

Luckily for the community, Randy transferred his great private practice skills to the public arena as our prosecuting attorney. It is now fitting that he should continue to serve the public in such an excellent manner from the bench.

A vote for Randy is a vote for a highly experienced, yet down-to-earth independent thinker, a man who has demonstrated solid qualities of leadership through many years of proven public service.

He is the best choice to be the people of San Juan County’s first elected Superior Court judge.
Chris and Liz Ledgerwood

Supports Petersen for S.J. South
I would question voting for a candidate for County Council who has violated the requirements for political signs in the San Juan Islands. All candidates were given a copy of the sign ordinance. The legal limit is 6 square feet. Lovel’s sign by The Oaks is almost twice that size! It is a billboard compared to others.

I question the right to place signs on county roads or private property without permission. Gordy Petersen’s signs are all on private property, and has received permission from the property owners. That’s the way he does things.

Who do you want serving you on the County Commission? Someone who evades the law for personal gain, or someone who respects it?

Lovel Pratt now states regarding her signs: “Because I value the beauty of our islands and want to support and enhance our natural environment I did not purchase yard signs ... I do not want to clutter up the roadsides with repetitive signs that become a visual blight. Some supporters are joining me to hand-paint a few signs with recycled materials. Let me know if you want to join us with your exterior paint remnants, drift wood, and/or scrap lumber.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is a sign ordinance so these political signs don’t get out of hand with every candidate’s idea of what is a visual blight, what is attractive, what is not, or that large brightly colored, hand crafted folksy signs are better than professionally made!

I support Gordy Peterson for County Council, a man of taste and ethics.
Helen Chapman King
San Juan Island

Editor’s note: Lovel Pratt read King’s letter on an online news site and e-mailed this response.
“I would like to thank Helen Chapman King for bringing my attention to my campaign signs that were larger than allowed by county code. I have removed those signs and replaced them with ones that meet the requirements.

“My apologies to everyone for this mistake!” — Lovel Pratt, candidate for County Council, District 1.

Petersen responds to Pratt’s letter
Hi Lovel,

I found your comments in The Journal to be disingenuous (“Interpretation was a scare tactic,” page 7A, Aug. 6 Journal). I think you owe me an apology.

For the record, here is what you said in The Journal on July 23:

“Encourage the establishment of a local Housing Trust Fund to provide grants or subsidy support (e.g. through a special fee or tax assessed on buildings over a certain size, recording fees, small percentage of sales tax, density bonus, inclusionary zoning, or real estate tax).”

Below are my comments you refer to from the Island Guardian: “Lovel Pratt stated in the Journal July 23, in order to provide housing for those who can’t afford it, she supports using the sales tax. She supports a Real Estate Excise Tax, and would vote to place a tax on large buildings.”

You replied in today’s Journal: “I find Gordy’s use of misquotes and tax-increase scare tactics to be an insult to the well-informed voters of District 1 and San Juan County.”

Since this exchange is all on the record, please tell me: Just how specifically did I misquote you?

I would appreciate a reply.
Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island

Lovel Pratt responds:

“Hi Gordy,

“I appreciate your contacting me, however, I do not think an apology is in order.

“What you wrote on the Island Guardian was not a direct quote nor was it an accurate summation of my answer to The Journal’s question.” — Lovel

Supports Pratt for San Juan South
Funny to see all of the right-wingers weighing in on San Juan South, wanting all the world to vote for “Gordy” (non-partisan?!).

Letters to the Editor over the last couple of weeks only serve to confirm that “Gordy,” despite his unprecedented blitzkreig of local advertising, is NOT the one to vote for.

I remember when Herb Meyer ran for public office and lost — convincingly. I remember when Ray Bigler ran for county commissioner and lost — convincingly. (The bumper sticker said to “ Think Big,” but voters chose to think smart instead.)

Ray Bigler, a “Gordy” supporter, wrote in his recent letter to The Journal that the council spends too much time on national issues “that are not relevant to our local problems.” Nice to see that $5-per-gallon gas hasn’t cramped Ray’s style any.

Herb Meyer, self-anointed foreign affairs expert who, from earlier letters that I try not to remember, still embraces the illusion that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War singlehandedly. (I only imagined the Cuban Missile Crisis, how ’bout you? )

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Informed citizens vote Lovel Pratt.
Michael P. Herko
Friday Harbor

Supports Ranker for state Senate
This year’s election presents a rare opportunity for the voters of San Juan County: we have a serious, qualified candidate running for our state Senate district who knows what it’s like to live and work here.

I mean, of course, Kevin Ranker.

The last time an “islander” was elected to the state Legislature was about 70 years ago. During that islander’s term, the Capron Funds were passed, a way of giving state gas tax money to San Juan County, even though we have no state roads. We could use that kind of representation again.

It was clear at last week’s candidate forum that the Republican candidate, who is from Bellingham, was unaware of both the dilapidated condition of our ferries (duh!) and what Capron Funds are. There’s undoubtedly a lot more that he doesn’t understand about this county and won’t think about if elected.

The other Democrat who attended the forum, who is also from Bellingham, is not just a Democrat: he’s an optometrist. And while I don’t think that’s a political party, the Public Disclosure Commission reports that optometrists account for about 60 percent of his financial support. That sounds like a lobbyist to me.

At a ferry meeting last week, a Skagit County commissioner referred to the islands as “a group of wealthy retired people.” Most of Skagit County is within our legislative district. If this perception exists in Skagit County, imagine what they think on the east side of the state.

Some of us differ with Kevin on some issues. Some will even be tempted to vote along party lines and choose a Republican. I submit to you all: no one is better equipped than Kevin to represent San Juan County residents in Olympia. Why? Because Kevin knows these islands; he knows our issues, he’s been working on those issues for years (both here and in Olympia), and will clearly represent interests that are important to islanders better than any of his opponents.

So please join me in making history: vote for an “islander” to represent us in the state Senate.

Kevin Ranker: the only choice for San Juan County.
George Johnson
San Juan Island

* * *

Many letters have recounted Kevin Ranker’s accomplishments as a dedicated citizen activist and county councilman — his work on ferry service, the orca protection law, the Neah Bay rescue tug effort, salmon recovery efforts, and many more.

My “bottom line” on this election is that we need Kevin Ranker in the state Senate to represent the San Juan Islands and to speak to our interests there. He has lived in his county for many years and has worked in many capacities. He can speak for us, we have access to him — we simply need to have our guy in Olympia.

Let’s give him the job.
Sandra Harold
San Juan Island

* * *

Yet another endorsement letter. Ah, won’t we all be glad when election year is over!

We feel that we need to write this final letter of endorsement because it is such an important issue. We are urging voters to vote and we are endorsing Kevin Ranker for the state Senate, 40th District.

We have known Kevin for years and have worked personally with him on many issues which have been paramount to this county. We have seen Kevin take responsible, sensible action and make decisive decisions. He has proven to be articulate and dedicated and shares in the values and vision we have for our county and state as a whole.

Kevin works with people and has a genuine way of communicating which is refreshing and honest. Kevin is a problem solver. He is also a voice for the environment and for sensible growth which we feel is necessary in this position and in the position he has held as commissioner and councilman.

Kevin has the expertise and ethics for this position and would not just be representing the San Juans, but both Whatcom and Skagit counties as well. Kevin has always been accessible and we mentioned that importance last week in another endorsement. It is important to have your concerns listened to and be able to have a person in this important position to be accessible to your concerns.

Kevin’s endorsements are too many to mention but I will say that he is the official nominee of the Democratic Party as well as two prestigious conservation groups. It would be an honor to have a senator elected from our county and it has been an honor to know and work with Kevin.

Kevin will listen; he will take action and will work hard to represent all of our needs and concerns. His passion for our unique island situation, on intelligent growth and preservation are real. His experience and accomplishments are real and he will bring this to Olympia.

We hope you will join us in endorsing Kevin for senator!
Patty Pirnack-Hamilton
Jim Hamilton

Compost can be harmful to pets
To our fellow islanders:

Who would guess that our compost piles, so beneficial to garden soils, could play host to anything harmful?

In the breakdown process, however, compost can also harbor deadly bacteria and mycotoxins — mold or fungal poisons that can seriously harm or kill an inquisitive dog of indiscriminate tastes. Certain wild mushrooms can also be harmful or lethal to our canine friends. Better-known dangers are chemicals like slug bait, rat poison and anti-freeze, which most of us either strictly avoid or use and store with great caution.

We recently lost our beloved friend and companion, Selkie, a yellow Lab of boundless affection and energy, just two months short of her third birthday. She was taken suddenly, suffering bravely overnight, apparently after consuming something toxic. Chemicals were not suspect (slug bait, for example, can produce disorientation and/or seizures, of which she had neither); but we found a small amount of compost from an unknown source. Laboratory analysis for specific toxins is difficult.

Please, as a precaution for your own and nearby pets, keep compost contained or fenced (as we do). We hope spreading the word will keep another dog safe.

Thank you.
Chris and Betsy Pope
San Juan Island

Help keep this artistic gem going
I have been a guest of this island on and off for five years, acting in productions for Island Stage Left. Even though I don’t live here full time, and am now living and working in New York City, I feel like an islander.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank this community once again, and to ask something of it.

As many of you know, Helen, Dan and a handful of volunteers do all the work for the wonderful asset of a theater that is Island Stage Left. So many of you should be thanked for attending the shows, putting money in the gold buckets, writing letters to encourage others to attend, and really supporting this wonderful artistic endeavor.

But, if I may, I would like to ask something else. I would like to ask you all to think about the time it takes to plan and execute the day-to-day minutiae to put on a production.

Pushing that rock up the hill, year in and year out, lies mostly on the shoulders of Helen and Dan and a few dedicated people that put in an incredible amount of time and effort. You really can’t even imagine.

So, I ask, if you could, please consider giving of not just your money or attendance (which I know is appreciated) but of your time and talents.

This has grown to such an large and reaching endeavor, it is too much for a handful to do. They could use your help and I know that there is ample talent on this island to do so.

I thank you for letting me be a part of your community. It is part of my soul. I want to thank my hosts over the years as well — Dave and Sienna Hares, as well as Bob Stavers and Judy Choven; they are family to me now.

I hope you might help in keeping this artistic gem going. For without help from others in the seasons to come, the shoulders that bear this artistic pursuit start to hurt and get weary. and it gets to be, at times, overwhelming.

My best to all of you, and again thank you for taking me in and making me feel like a part of this community.
Kevin C. Loomis
New York City

We can all still help with this effort
We would like to thank some great San Juan Island folks and others for helping to support a wonderfully unique event that transpired July 26-27.

Damien Stark, an Orcas Island resident, attempted to raise money and awareness for the San Juan County Health and Community Service that provides support to women who must travel to the mainland for breast cancer treatments. His idea was to swim from Anacortes to Orcas on Saturday (12 miles), then from Orcas to Friday Harbor on Sunday (7 miles). The course symbolically followed the ferry route women from our county have to take for treatment.

Damien entered the water at 6:38 a.m. and swam approximately 7.2 miles before symptoms of hypothermia ended his swim. Though Damien wanted to continue, the EMT and his body told him it wasn’t wise to do so. Thoroughly spent, his swim from Orcas to Friday Harbor the next morning was subsequently canceled.

People to thank for their support here include Deanna Osborn, who was very busy herself with Relay for Life on Friday and Saturday of the same weekend; Sharon Kivisto, Jack Cory and The Journal for online announcements; Peggy Long, who helped gather supporters; and James Krall of The Journal.

The 10-person Orcas Island contingent that followed in boats needs to be thanked as well. We can’t remember all their names, so please look them up on the Web site. These fine islanders provided both medical and emotional support the entire way.

Also, as we were following along in our own boat and videotaping the entire event, we were very impressed with the WSF captains that passed by. Each one called our Sea Swim flotilla of five boats and gave us both a wide berth and a “slow down.” And in Anacortes, Jeanie Browne and the Flounder Bay Yacht Club hosted our entire group of 12 people.

Damien Stark has done something extraordinary, though he will be the first person to deflect any praise to all the people that helped him. And we can all still help with this noble cause. Just visit Damien’s Web site at www.breastcancerswim.com. You can make a donation and see a list of all the people everywhere who helped him attempt this.
Darren O’Brien and Lisa Mollica
Friday Harbor

Relay for Life says ‘thank you’
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life Committee of Friday Harbor would like to thank the following for participation and support for the Relay for Life July 25 and 26.

Sponsors: In Loving Memory of Louise Hoeppel, King’s Market, Islanders Bank, Christ the King Community Church, Island Glass Service, Inc., CATS, Roche Harbor, Friday Harbor Drug, San Juan Surveying, Best Western Friday Harbor Suite, Luxel Corporation, Elements Hotel and Spa, Kirk House Bed and Breakfast, Susan A. Kiraly DDS, Downriggers Restaurant, Wells Fargo Bank, San Juan Physical Therapy, Browne’s Home Center.

Friends of Relay: Islands Convalescent Center, Sound Financial Planning / Bill Morrissey, and the Bed and Breakfast Association.

Special thanks to: Christy Napier Fingerpaints, The Big Store, San Juan Excursions, Loea Design, Tulalip Casino, Blue Dolphin, Christy’s Island Salon, Toy Box, Dockside Treasures, Haley’s Bait Shop and Grill, Maribella Skin Care, Spa D’Bune, Wizard of Ooze, King’s Video, Uptown Espresso, Mi Casita, Friday Harbor Fire Department, Thrift House, Cannery House Restaurant.

Our special friends: Jackie Altier Roth, Sonya Zarek, Carolyn Haugen and Archie Brooks, Jessica Dickson and the American Legion.

And especially, all those who participated in the relay.
Deanna Osborn and Vicky Thalacker, co-chairwomen
Relay for Life Committee of Friday Harbor

Another powerful year for LSJI
Leadership San Juan Islands is proud to announce the fifth year of Leadership San Juan Islands.

Cynthia Stark-Wickman (Class of 2007) has graciously agreed to take over the role of program coordinator and Georgeana Cook (’08) will be her assistant.

Denise King as the Curriculum Development Committee chairwoman will convene the committee and provide support and direction for the program coordinator and the presenters.

Shannan Sword volunteered to be an at-large Curriculum Development Committee member and some dynamite folks offered to coordinate different Challenge Days and retreats and will report to the committee as needed.

Gretchen Krampf (’05) and Merle Lefkoff are in for Heartwood House and the opening retreat. Brian Kvistad (’05) and Bill Watson (’07) indicated an interest in Economics Day. Amy Windrope (’08) agreed to head Environment Day. Bill Evans and Denise King will do Education Day. Liz Illg will set up Governance Day, Carrie Burke (’08) will help with Social and Community Health Day, and Anna-Maria deFreitas (’08) will do History and Culture.

Kyle Loring (’08) will serve as secretary; Bill Watson will continue as treasurer. I offered to take over Publicity and Outreach with help from Carrie Burke. Anji Ringzin (’08) will share Alumni Liaison activities with Sandy Thompson (’05). Bill Evans (’08) volunteered to be a member at-large of the Coordinating Council. Liz Illg has stepped in as president of Leadership San Juan Islands 2009.

LSJI will follow a similar timetable as last year. Deadline for applications is in early November. Applicants will be informed of acceptance late November and short preview meeting will be planned prior to the retreat in late January.

Six Challenge Days, another retreat on Lopez and hopefully another nautical adventure will bring the program to graduation at the end of May 2009. Tuition of $500 will remain the same.

All in all, the LSJI team is seamlessly transitioning from 2008 to 2009 with a committed group of alumni and others to make this fifth year the best that can be offered. We urge all interested islanders to give a call, come to the open houses that will be scheduled in September and to consider joining this powerful educational opportunity.
Christine Miller
Publicity and outreach
Leadership San Juan Islands

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