Opinion

RE: Coverage on murder-suicide – letter

This is way more detail than we need.

  • Sep 8th, 2016

Join SJFR in remembering 9/11 | Letter

Lest we forget, the combined emergency services, clergy and elected officials of San Juan Island will hold a short service in memory of all those who responded to the call that went out in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania on the morning of September 11, 2001.

  • Sep 7th, 2016

Vote Yes on I-732 – Letters

A representative of I-732 will be at the San Juan Grange, 6 p.m., Sept. 1.

  • Sep 6th, 2016

Housing, it’s a problem right now- Letter

(Editor's note: The quote mentioned below ["If this becomes a problem," Larsen said, "let me know immediately and I will see what I can do."] appeared in the article "Affordable housing,the dilemma continues" on Aug. 24 and was his response to the USDA affordable home loan program issue not the housing problem.)

  • Sep 1st, 2016

Remembering 911

This year our nation and our community mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. While we continue to grieve that traumatic day and our tragic losses, we also have a renewed opportunity to re-commit to the unity, dedication, and patriotism we witnessed and experienced on that day and in its aftermath.

  • Aug 31st, 2016

The first ones, a vital part of history – Editorial

The Spanish founded the island and named it Isla y Archipelago de San Juan. That is our history. We speak the words almost every day, "The San Juans." But the first ones did not come in a ship from Europe. They were an ancient people who traveled here on foot after the great ice sheet thawed. More than 8,000 years ago they made their homes on the shores of the islands. They fished for salmon off the coast and gathered oysters and mussels. If you have ever appreciated the pretty purple flowers that bloom in the San Juan national park, then you have seen a primary food source for the islands' early people. They picked the camas bulbs and cooked them in the earth like potatoes.

Congrats on centennial- Letter

The San Juan County Council congratulates the National Park Service on its Aug. 25 centennial anniversary. We who live in the San Juan Islands are fortunate to have had a National Historic Landmark site designated in 1961, which commemorates and preserves the history of our founding.

  • Aug 30th, 2016

Kids pets and hot weather- Letters

Summer is really here now and its hot. PLEASE don't lock children or pets inside your car. Temperatures can soar to over a hundred in a few minutes, even with the windows cracked.

  • Aug 30th, 2016

Community Treasures closure – Guest column

Community Treasures (CT) has lost its lease and will be moving, or closing down over the next 6 months, because the property is going up for sale. For those who want more details:

  • Aug 26th, 2016

It’s hot outside, don’t leave pets in cars

Last week during our county fair the temperature here on the island rose to well over 80 degrees several days in a row. Sadly, those of us working at the Animal Protection Society booth were notified on four separate occasions that people had parked their cars in the lots across the street from the fairgrounds, leaving dogs inside those cars for periods of over two hours.

  • Aug 26th, 2016

Drugs, crime on front page? – Letters

I am disappointed with the recent series of articles featuring drugs, sexual abuse and other criminal activities on the front page of the Sounder. I could not help feeling embarrassed when I saw last week's headline about heroin abuse as I rode the inter-island ferry full of tourists and families traveling to the San Juan County Fair. Is this really necessary during the height of the vacation season? These stories are certainly of community interest and should be reported, but they do not warrant front page display. Our summer visitors come here to enjoy their vacations. They are only here a short time and are a vital part of our economy. It is in poor taste to publicize such negativity, especially when there is so much other newsworthy material to choose from. Nobody is under any illusions. We all know that Orcas Island faces the same types of problems as any other rural community. Why the need to continually bombard everyone with this information?

  • Aug 24th, 2016

Kudos for news coverage – Letters

Heroin, and drug use in general, is right up there with domestic violence as issues we all know exist on our islands, but prefer not to talk about. I congratulate the Journal on their courage to bring the heroin topic front and center. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the county, but there is a dark side. Its going to take all of us, law enforcement, the schools, government, medical facilities and most of all families and neighborhoods, to come together and work cooperatively to solve these complex issues. Parents, talk, and more importantly, listen to your children. Citizens, open your eyes, look out for your neighbors, and report suspicious activity. We can beat this, but it's going to take a full-scale community effort.

  • Aug 24th, 2016

Bob Jarman is the real deal – letters

As someone who has worked with elected officials for over 12 years, I can tell you that most first-time candidates seeking election believe, naively, that leaders just need to really understand issues to turn government around.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016

Thanks to Tucker Street crew

As residents of the McDonald Street neighborhood in Friday Harbor, we would like to congratulate the Friday Harbor Town Council, Town Manager Duncan Wilson, Public Works Director Wayne Haefele, and the entire crew of Mike Carlson Construction on the completion of the Tucker Phase l Project.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016

Mount Grant donation milestone – letter

The Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve just celebrated its thousandth donation! With matching funds now in place, every gift is being doubled as we raise the final $380,000 to reach our total $4.2 million goal.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016

Thanks to Tucker Street crew – Letter

As residents of the McDonald Street neighborhood in Friday Harbor, we would like to congratulate the Friday Harbor Town Council, Town Manager Duncan Wilson, Public Works Director Wayne Haefele, and the entire crew of Mike Carlson Construction on the completion of the Tucker Phase l Project.

Thanks for support in the primary – letters

The Aug. 2 primary is done and I'd like to thank all the people who supported me. But the work is not done, as we now move forward to the Nov. 8 general election.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Congrats to the primary winners – letters

I congratulate Bob Jarman and Bill Watson for their primary wins. I hope that they will consider the ideas from the platform that I ran on that I found imperative: operating with an advisory board putting community first over special interests; changing some county priorities to promote preventive social solutions; implementing fair and equitable policies that would lower the number of lawsuits against the county and gain respect for the county and its employees; and county employees, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and citizens should be treated respectfully by the county government. Onward and upward.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Thanks to EMS supporters – letters

On behalf of the Vote Yes for San Juan EMS 2016 Campaign Committee, we wish to thank our friends, colleagues, and the local press for the tremendous support we received during our successful campaign. We would particularly like to thank donors and volunteers who placed signs, marched in the parade, wrote letters and spent many hours raising community awareness.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Thanks for votes – letters

I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the Aug. 2 Primary for county council, putting me on the November ballot.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

EMS clearly saved me – letters

My name is Larry Dean Pentz and I have been coming to San Juan Island every weekend for 20 years.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Join the club – letters

The San Juan Island Women's Fund is a group of philanthropic women who seek to support San Juan Island nonprofit organizations in a variety of areas including arts, health and wellness, community infrastructure, education, basic social needs, and environment by participating in a pooled donor-advised fund of the SJI Community Foundation. During the last year we have provided grants to a wide variety of local not-for-profit organizations in our community.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Play pickleball – letters

Pickleball, which originated in Seattle, is now the fastest-growing sport as it has spread throughout the country.

  • Aug 10th, 2016

Your blood can save a life

As part of her ongoing cancer treatment, islander Marlyn Myers receives regular blood transfusions.

  • Aug 5th, 2016

Hospital District supports EMS levy

Voters of San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 are encouraged to vote YES in favor of the emergency medical services (EMS) property tax levy on their August 2 ballot replacing one that expires on December 31.

  • Jul 28th, 2016

Look at the numbers – letters

After reading Mr. Bucholz (July 6 issue) letter, I got to thinking about this new EMS levy and its 43 percent increase. This has already been voted down twice, but instead of addressing the issues, the proponents seemed to have simply returned with a strident campaign and a not-so-subtle threat to approve the levy or lose all EMS services. That smacks of a gun-to-the-head approach to me, but look at their issues:

  • Jul 28th, 2016

Support for Bill Watson – letters

I'm voting for Bill Watson to make sure 2017 is the year San Juan County begins to seriously work on several important issues. Bill began his life in San Juan County working with the Economic Development Council, and he is committed to helping create a sustainable local economy. The revision of the agricultural ordinances is a beginning step. He believes after that there is much more to do to help agriculture remain part of the landscape and our culture. The extreme shortage of affordable rentals is another step that begs for county leadership and action in 2017.

  • Jul 28th, 2016

Wild nature and braving it

Submitted by Steve Ulvie

  • Jul 27th, 2016

We need 60 percent approval

I am writing to urge the 60 percent-plus approval of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy.

  • Jul 27th, 2016

Frustrated by misinformation – letters

I'm so frustrated by the ill-informed, misinformed and wishful thinking letter writers who have been writing either: to urge us to vote no on our primary ballots in the hope we'll get a lower levy request in November; or to express the opinion that even a 50-cent levy won't be enough to save EMS; or to argue that EMS won't go away because some unknown someone will step in to keep the ambulances coming when you call 911.

  • Jul 27th, 2016

EMS levy proposition

I support the San Juan EMS taxing district and its importance for emergency medical assistance in conjunction with swift hospitalization if necessary. Yes, the six-year tax revenue for the district is terminating at the end of the year unless the voting public approves a tax levy renewal. We voters have received ballot information from the proponents of the proposition that illustrates the necessity of passing a $.50 per $1,000 of assessed value tax rate. The tax rate helps the tax payer to determine what the tax burden will be for the property owner. However, what is missing in promoting the passage of the proposition is the approximate tax revenue that initially will or could be collected beginning 2017 tax year.

  • Jul 26th, 2016

Celebrate farming – Editorial

The San Juan County Fair, Aug. 17 – 20, is not only a fun event, but a celebration of agriculture and islanders who are maintaining practices of the past. Why is that important? The short answer is farming makes for better communities. But a life of toiling in the soil is not always easy.

I voted no but now I’ll vote yes – letters

There is a cohering effect in participation, in questioning authority and speaking one's mind in public discourse that always rewires the community mindset. No one person always gets it right. Nor can one often be on the "winning" side. At some point you have to support a thing that is right for the greatest number of residents.

  • Jul 21st, 2016

Beyond the summit | Editorial

This past weekend I climbed Mt. Adams, a peak I aspired to summit more than seven years ago.

EMS levy is coming up

EMS levy is coming up

  • Jul 20th, 2016

Bipartisan comprehensive addiction and recovery act earns Larsen’s support

Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) today voted in support of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, legislation that makes critical reforms to address the nation's opioid epidemic.

  • Jul 20th, 2016

A new perspective of the EMS levy – letters

On July 6 Messrs. Brennan and Bucholz urged waiting until the November election to decide the future of EMS. They argued there was no 2017 district budget. Mr. Bucholz went further, calling the commissioners "deceitfully irresponsible" for having no budget, and accusing them of "half-truths" and "lies."

  • Jul 20th, 2016

It feels strange – letters

How strange. When I left San Juan Island just a little over 2 years ago, this island had a very strong EMS system that had the overwhelming support of the community. I had the great fortune of working side by side with amazing paramedics and volunteer EMT's. I don't say this lightly: this is an amazing group of people dedicated to helping their friends and neighbors at all hours of the day. I have recently returned to work as a flight nurse with Island Air Ambulance and am saddened by the animosity and rancor surrounding the upcoming levy. Now, I'm no fan of the previous EMS chief who I feel helped create this environment of mistrust in our EMS system. He is long gone however and budgets have been trimmed and cutbacks have been made. We still have a very strong EMS system and that is a blessing. I have worked in 5 different emergency departments in NW Washington and can say that San Juan Island EMS delivers excellent pre-hospital care. Do we really want to lose this high caliber pre-hospital care? I'm at a loss to explain why we are on the brink of losing such a great EMS system. Any of these paramedics could work in any EMS system in the country (and get a pay increase in many places!) and we are at risk of losing them, why? Because some in the community don't want to pay what it costs to run a great EMS system. Others want to arm-chair quarterback a public agency's budget and start to micro-manage line by line costs. Quality isn't cheap. Living wages with decent benefits aren't cheap. Of course, San Juan EMS is not perfect and public scrutiny is a good thing. I'm not saying that taxpayers shouldn't hold government agencies accountable. But I think we have done that already by turning down the two previous EMS levies. Vote yes to save this EMS system that exists solely to come to help you out on your worst days. When my mom, Mary Frances (ye s THAT Mary Frances) calls 911, I want the best crew possible to arrive at her door with excellent, well maintained equipment, knowing that she has the best chance at survival. We have that now and I don't want to lose it. Please vote YES to keep our current, excellent EMS system.

  • Jul 19th, 2016

EMS has cut their budget – letters

Concerns have been raised about the transparency of the budget for our EMS. On their website my husband and I were able to get all of our questions answered. Our questions were no different than the other readers. They have cut staff and salaries from a couple of years ago. They are providing fantastic care; a friend lives 10 minutes from my house in town, but EMS responded to her emergency in five minutes. I can't give medical details on my patients but I am one of the therapists who treats people who were saved by our EMS. They do a fabulous job and deserve to continue. The difficulty of having a large Medicaid population is that the EMS does not get paid; our property taxes have to make up that difference. Time is of the essence in an emergency, depleting the resources by lowering the levy to 35 cents would require drastic cuts in our care. Our senior population is numerous. We need EMS at the higher levy level. I invite skeptics to look at response times and death rates in Tacoma, where they have privately funded EMS. We have a lot more to lose than a couple hundred bucks.

  • Jul 19th, 2016

I have the solution-letters

I have a solution to the EMS Levy. Let's just get rid of it! Instead, let's make EMS a voluntary service that you can subscribe to or not. For those of us who want a professional EMS to show up at our door in a matter of minutes with just a phone call, then we can opt in and have that service added to our property taxes. For those who don't want EMS services, they can opt out, and choose to pay for it if and when they might need it. Consider this, if you opt out, and your grandmother is here visiting for one of our busy holidays, and chokes on your special margarita mix and goes into cardiac arrest, you can still call 911 and ask for help. The 911 operator will ask your name and check if you are a subscriber, and if not, then they will ask for a valid credit or debit card, including pin number. While they are verifying the charges, your grandmother is on the floor looking at you for help. Oh wait, it's the holiday weekend and all of a sudden there are more calls into 911 at the same time as your call. You are placed on hold as you are not a subscriber to 911 services. As you listen to the pleasant music, the 911 operator is helping two or three other callers who are subscribers and you are put at the end of the que until they can help you. Since this is an optional program 911 EMS services have been cut way back, and they really can only handle the subscribers that are paying, so those who have opted out have to wait until all of the subscribers have been taken care of. You say I don't have a favorite grandmother, and besides, I could just load granny into my Subaru and head over to the hospital, because I am already paying for that, then stop at the library because I am paying for that also or move to Anacortes because I am sure they have free EMS.

  • Jul 18th, 2016