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The San Juan County Council should vote again on the acquisition of conservation and historical preservation easements at 150 Nichols St., the proposed Brickworks site. And the council should approve it. Opponents want to see the farmers market located at the San Juan County Fairgrounds. But 150 Nichols St. is more than a “farmers market” project. It’s proposed as an events center on a revitalized site in the downtown historic district. The farmers market is only one element. As proposed, it would provide a public green space, entertainment area, and venue for varied economic activities.
One of the best statements we’ve heard going into the general election season came from the most unlikely of places. Scott Bell, announcer at the annual Zucchini 500 at the San Juan County Fair, opened the event Saturday with this observation: Strip away the politics, and we’ve got a pretty cool community made up of pretty cool people. Take that thought with you as we go into the general election campaign.
Each prairie is its own special system. When we have so little left, we have to conserve what remains. Let’s preserve the American Camp prairie. Let’s move the rabbits off the prairie — humanely. We hope the proponents of humane treatment of the rabbits can help.
America and Americans are struggling financially. We’re divided on whether the Stimulus Act was a bailout or an investment in the economy. The jobless rate in Washington state is at 8.9 percent. But the solutions are more complex than simply “cut taxes” and “lower government spending,” which is what many candidates are spouting. Lowering taxes is one thing. Bringing in enough revenue to cover the cost of providing public services is another. No, today’s candidate has to be creative and innovative, as well as knowledgeable. We need ideas, not slogans.
This document was written to speak to two concerns: — Do rain gardens work? How do we know that an investment like this will pay off? — What is the goal of a monitoring program? What are the reference points to show what the data means? Do we know that the data is appropriate? What do we do with the data?
Rob Nou has experience and ideas. He also brings fresh leadership, unencumbered by baggage that can come with being with an organization for a long time.
From bear grass to huckleberries to cedar and more, it’s getting harder and harder for the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington to find and access natural resources that are central to our culture. We need the traditional foods, medicines and materials that make us who we are. Like salmon, shellfish and wildlife, these things are part of us as Indian people. They were so important to us that we reserved our right to gather them when we signed treaties with the U.S. government.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Department, the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition and local pharmacies will accept expired and unused medications on the first Wednesday of every month, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning Aug. 4. A sheriff’s deputy will be on site during those hours to collect the medication.
About the Land Bank’s proposed preservation, conservation easement on the Erickson Property | Guest Column
Given the continued discussion over this project, we wanted to update the community on the process and clarify some of the details. As we wrote last fall, after much public discussion the Land Bank Commission voted to approve purchase of an historic preservation and conservation easement over the Erickson property in the summer of 2008. The goal was to protect (and see restored) the last remaining industrial building in Friday Harbor, and provide public access to green space in the downtown core.
Superintendent Thompson: ‘I have been learning more about the district and checking off items on my transition plan list’ | Guest Column
Now that I have begun work as the San Juan Island superintendent, I want to share with the community a brief update on the work so far.
We’re going to cut to the chase on this one. Pedestrians and vehicles must stop moving in front of vehicles as they drive off the ferry in Friday Harbor. Stop. Period.
They want to make decisions on your behalf. They want to decide how your tax dollars are best spent. And in some cases, the privilege of representing you will come with compensation and full health benefits – better than many of their potential constituents receive. “They” are the candidates for office in the Aug. 17 primary election.
Here’s a reminder: The League of Women Voters’ primary Election Forum is Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Mullis Community Senior Center; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Grace Church on Lopez Island; and Saturday, 5-7 p.m., at the Orcas Island Senior Center. Islanders will vote on 14 legislative and local positions this year: County assessor, auditor, clerk, prosecutor, sheriff, treasurer; County Council District 2, District 5, and District 6; District Court judge, Superior Court judge; U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District, 40th District state House Position 1, and 40th District state House Position 2. In addition, we will vote for U.S. senator; there are 15 candidates, among them three-term incumbent Patty Murray, former state senator and almost governor Dino Rossi, and NFL tight end-turned-farmer Clint Didier.
We are your sons and daughters, nieces and nephews. We are your grandchildren. We write to you because we have a very specific need we would like to communicate with you in hopes that we can work together to make this happen. Our community needs to have a place for us, the youth of the island. We would like a cozy place to gather and hang out in the evenings that is not a bar or a party and doesn't cost us a half a day to a day's pay simply to be there.
I am responding to Bert and Dave Moorhouse’s guest editorial about Friday Harbor Brickworks, the future year-round home of the San Juan Farmers’ Market and a community and tourism-related events center. The San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild and its many supporters are thrilled to be recipients of the state capital funds that, in addition to the Land Bank’s purchase of a historic preservation and conservation easement and generous private donations, will help to make this project a reality.
There are ways to reduce pollution and increase fish populations while retaining private property rights. We need to look at the goals, the problems need to be identified and real solutions to those problems put into place.
Relay for Life is July 24-25, 5:30 p.m. to 11 a.m., on the Friday Harbor High School football field. Last year’s event raised $72,000 for the American Cancer Society. Money raised supports local services, as well as research leading to cures and improved quality of life. Money you raise pays for hotel discounts for islanders who must go to the mainland for treatment.
Supporting local farmers is a key component of both a healthy community and a healthy economy. Investing in a local farmers’ market, in the downtown core, is fundamental to this effort. In Friday Harbor, a local farmers’ market in the downtown core will support our local producers, their ability to preserve agricultural land; provide them a direct marketing opportunity; provide consumers fresh, local food; create a local gathering place; provide other businesses an influx of customers, and promote tourism.
If you want to revitalize downtown, you ask the chamber of commerce and the business community what the best way to accomplish that would be. If you want to support a special-interest group with government monies, such as the Agricultural Guild, it should be done in an appropriate manner. Government should offer a hand up rather than a hand out. Handouts lead to lifelong enabling that leads to dependency, rather than sustainability.
Often, high school graduation is viewed by many as a chance to celebrate with drinking alcohol or using illegal substances. Thankfully, our community once again stepped up to help offer our graduating seniors another option: Project Grad Night, an all-night, alcohol and drug-free party exclusively for them!
The Youth Leadership Initiative in Grade 6 is a local effort to commence local, state and national connections for youth in coalition work. The Coalition for Anti-Drug Communities of America (CADCA) sponsors an annual National Youth Leadership Initiative in Washington, D.C. This week-long training in the capital is an opportunity for selected youth and their adult coalition advisers to come current with training and learn how to build their coalitions at home to effect community change.
June 9, a Journal employee once again loaded up a pickup truck with recyclable materials and headed to the solid waste transfer station. The employee’s vehicle waited in line as three other motorists emptied their recyclable containers into the big bin. Then, the Journal employee backed in, dumped four containers of office-related paper and plastic, and two containers of paper and plastic from home, into the bin and drove off. All for free. Which begs the question, “Why?”
The State of Washington is tightening its belt out of fiscal necessity, eliminating jobs and cutting spending where ever possible. Even the ferries are rusting because the ferry system is short of funds. San Juan County is out of money, cutting expenses and furloughing employees to save cash. The Town of Friday Harbor is furloughing employees to cut expenses. The San Juan Island School Board is so cash-strapped that Island Rec is funding athletic programs. With the current above-mentioned examples of government cash shortfalls, our state senator, Kevin Ranker, has managed to convince the state Legislature to partially fund the Permanent Farmers Market site to the tune of $375,000. This bill was pushed through the Legislature with only an elite few San Juan County citizens privy to its existence (thanks to our County Council member, Lovel Pratt).
Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your life. As you stand on the threshold of adulthood, prepared to take on the world, here are some things we want you to know. A lot of resources have been invested in preparing you for this moment. If we failed in anything, it was in this: Not anticipating that the world you would inherit would be so different and uncertain than the one that existed that first day of school.
Thanks to the support of the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition and United Way of San Juan County, our community’s young teens will be able to continue to develop essential life skills through the WSU 4-H Challenge Program!
We’ve got a big change coming down the pike, one that will alter how we travel to and from the islands that we call home. Beginning in fall 2012, many of those driving onto the ferry on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands routes will need reservations. We’re not entirely sold on the idea, but we’re also not fully opposed. Here are two sides.
Want to make a difference in the community? There are several opportunities to do so, and you don’t have to be elected. Volunteering on San Juan County boards and committees gives you the opportunity to help shape policies regarding agriculture, community development, health and human services, the marine environment, veterans services and other aspects of community life.
Treaty tribal and state co-managers wrapped up their annual process of setting salmon fishing seasons recently and I was again reminded of those who say that a total ban on fishing is the only path to salmon recovery. They don't truly mean a total ban though, just one on Indian and non-Indian harvesters. They don't want to talk about all of the fish lost to dams, poisoned stormwater runoff and low stream flows. Those environmental factors "harvest" salmon just like any fishery. A dead fish is a dead fish no matter how it dies.
Remember when you were a kid and you had nothing to do? Remember saying, “Mom, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”? Where have those days gone? As adults we are never bored and now only dream of the days when we had nothing to do. Despite this, we can’t forget that the youth in our community do get bored, especially in the summer. This is often when poor decisions are made. There is no better time to arrange weekly activities to keep your kids happy and productive during their summer vacation.
Town and county bans on polystyrene to-go containers take effect April 23, Earth Day. The bans demonstrate our commitment to protect human and environmental health on the islands, by banning the use of a toxic petroleum-based material for which safe, compostable options of equal or lesser cost are available.
The Friday Harbor Town Council has withdrawn “for the time being” the town’s offer to sell the solid waste transfer station site to the county. The San Juan County Council has responded that it may go its own way and develop a new transfer station on a neighboring parcel. Within their letters to each other: An openness to negotiate and resolve their disputes. We encourage them to do so. They have an opportunity to resolve one of the most contentious issues on the island today and strengthen the relationship between the town and county governments.
It’s now been four years since the grassroots group that named itself the San Juan Island Anti-Litter Initiative formed. During this time, we’ve mounted several important campaigns aimed at raising awareness about San Juan Island’s litter problem and at attempting to reduce the amount of litter on our roadsides and beaches. Working behind the scenes in concert with us was Patt Martin, a woman who deserves a very special “thank you” from all of us.
While driving home from a recent stormwater workshop, a friend asked, “Is run-off from my small property really making its way to the ocean and causing damage? My family has lived here 20 years, and we care about the environment as much as anyone. Why is this suddenly becoming a problem?” It’s a good question, and one that resonates with many of us. When we look to science for the answer, we find that it isn’t always exact enough to show specific effects from specific human behaviors.
San Juan County has the worst derelict vessel problem in the state. Loaded with fuel, oil and other toxins, derelict vessels pose a tremendous environmental threat. The state Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Removal Program should provide a no-interest loan to fund a local Derelict Vessel Removal Program coordinator. The loan would be repaid by in-kind services and costs recouped from owners of derelict vessels.
We do all we can. We try to reduce, we try to reuse, we are diligent about recycling, but we still have trash. Have you ever wondered what happens to our trash? Well, wonder no more!
President Obama is only going to pick two or three from the list of 14, but we hope the San Juans are among those selected for national monument designation. The only lands directly affected by the designation would be those owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. — some 900 acres, including conservation areas and small islands. Those lands are considered Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and are already protected: No camping, no development, no fires, no motorized vehicles. Pedestrian use only. National monument status could result in more resources for conservation.
Good solid waste management services are essential to the general public health and to a clean environment. That’s something that all islanders share in, whether we rent or own, whether we own property that is developed or undeveloped. The solid waste transfer stations on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands generate a total of 66,000 visits per year. Providing those solid waste services has a cost. So does ensuring a safe working environment and adapting to changes in environmental standards.
In the coming weeks, we have a chance to claim our fair share of federal revenues for important services and infrastructure improvement and to improve the quality of life in our island communities. Stand up and be counted in 2010!
First Haiti, now Chile. Widespread destruction on a scale most of us have seen only in a Hollywood movie has many in the Pacific Northwest wondering what it would look like here after a similar quake. And the reality is, of course, that it will happen here.
The terrible tragic death of veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World Florida has suddenly generated a nationwide public examination of our feelings about captive orca shows. We’ve now seen the harm they can do even to compassionate humans, and the mental distress captivity can cause in the orcas. Google shows at least 6,892 articles on the trainer’s death. No other single news event has brought out such a groundswell of emotions doubting the ethical wisdom of using captive orcas for entertainment.