I’m just back from South Texas and, as is always the case when I find myself close to a disaster working on the response, I wonder how our own community will fare when it’s our turn. The islands aren’t hurricane country, but the impacts of an earthquake or severe winter storm (google “1962 Columbus Day Storm” for an example) are similar to what Texas is facing. No fuel, food, water or electricity. Limited medical care. Damage to roads and homes. The list goes on.
We need to be as tough as the salmon themselves if we’re going to see their recovery. South Fork Nooksack River native spring chinook are almost extinct and need our help. It wasn’t long ago when about 13,000 of these early-timed chinook came back to the river each year. They were the first salmon to arrive each spring, feeding Indian people after long winters, when no other salmon were in the river.
The Nov. 4 general election is, as John McCain and Barack Obama tell us, perhaps the most important election in recent history. That applies on the local as well as national level. The challenges have increased since the campaign season began in early summer. Getting the economy moving again and paying the bills for basic public needs during a time of economic turmoil are two of the heavy challenges looming over each winner on Nov. 4.
The Gray & Osborne Infrastructure Study gave us 52 million good reasons to look at alternatives to annexation of additional residential land into the Town of Friday Harbor. The Town of Friday Harbor currently has enough residential zoned land to both satisfy the county’s long-term affordable housing needs and provide entry-level homes for working islanders. With minimal creativity, we can meet the projected housing demands of the Growth Management Act without expanding the town’s boundaries one inch.
I am writing in response to a letter from Michael Mayes published in The Journal of the San Juan Islands (“Grover Street is a liability”, Sept. 17). This is the second letter Mr. Mayes has written to The Journal attempting to throw up roadblocks preventing the annexation of the Buck/Boreen property. Mr. Mayes has also addressed Town Council meetings and been interviewed by at least one Journal reporter regarding the proposed annexation.
It’s time for Lolita to be returned home. The Southern Resident orca, you may recall, was captured in 1970 in our waters and now resides, and performs on demand, at the Miami Seaquarium. Since 1995, Orca Network and the San Juan Island-based Center for Whale Research have lobbied for the whale’s return to the Salish Sea, but the aquarium’s ownership rights have apparently trumped the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other animal welfare laws.
I encourage everybody to think twice before you leave home in the morning and consider leaving your car at home for a day. It’s a great way to remind ourselves that we live in our own slice of paradise.
For the draft to become final, the Land Bank Commission must hold a public hearing and decide whether to advance the plan to the County Council. Then the council will hold a public hearing in consideration of adopting it. The Land Bank’s public hearing will be held on Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. in the Hotel Dining Room, Orcas Hotel, on Orcas Island (next to the ferry landing), and the County Council’s will be scheduled soon thereafter.
This week, islanders will receive in the mail a brochure that explains where every dollar goes that is given to United Way of San Juan County. Each dollar goes to 35 local non-profit agencies that provide services for island children and families.
The proposed purchase of the Boede Cement/Friday Harbor Electric site for a year-round farmers market is an exciting idea. But as the initial excitement has waned, other factors have become apparent. And we can say that, while the site holds promise, the earlier vision of a year-round farmers market at the Browne Lumber Co. site on Spring Street is preferred. Here’s why.