County Council must make honest pitch for Prop. 1 | Guest Column

Even if county government is facing a real budget problem, there is something truly disheartening in the cynical way it is asking us taxpayers to raise our taxes. It is as if the County Council has become its own cadre of tea baggers and decided that if the fictional notion of “Death Panels” can undercut meaningful discussion about health-insurance reform, then perhaps “Death Panels” can scare county voters into increasing our property taxes.

  • Oct 14th, 2009

The Journal endorses … | Editorial

The Journal has been covering the campaign issues since long before the campaigns began. We’ve watched the issues develop, we’ve covered the discussions in public forums, we’ve talked to the candidates as they emerged and became involved. We’ve questioned the candidates, investigated their claims, explored their pledges. The following candidates are the ones we feel have the best understanding of issues, the most solid plans for the future, the most ability to build consensus on difficult issues, and the best skills to get the job done. We recommend their election.

  • Oct 14th, 2009

Attend the candidate forum Oct. 13 | Editorial

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 Nov. 3 general election. This election is significant in many ways: For the first time in 12 years, there are more than two candidates for mayor of Friday Harbor.

  • Oct 8th, 2009

Mayor Jones: Council action on fire engine was correct for safety, cost reasons | Guest Column

Recently, a guest column by Robert Low appeared in The Journal, as well as on SanJuanJournal.com regarding purchase of a specialty fire engine by the Town. On behalf of the Town, I am writing to clarify some points made by Mr. Low and correct some inaccuracies.

Be heard on proposed orca protection plan | Editorial

Now, the federal government wants to hear from you. On Monday, 7-9 p.m., in the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, will host a meeting to hear public comment on its vessel distance and no-go zone proposal.

  • Oct 2nd, 2009

Shoreline stewardship in the San Juans | Guest Column

I’m optimistic that a strong stewardship ethic remains in this community, although currently quieted by the budgetary unrest and a debate characterized by a stark lack of civility that goes unquestioned. I’m also ready to step up with others in my community to do what I can locally to ensure that future generations experience restored salmon, rockfish, seabird and marine mammal populations in the waters of the San Juans.

  • Sep 25th, 2009

As They See It: Candidates for mayor of Friday Harbor

Carrie Lacher and Robert Low, candidates for mayor of Friday Harbor, submitted these guest columns on two pressing issues of the day. You can read profiles of the candidates in the Aug. 26 and Sept. 16 editions of The Journal, as well as on SanJuanJournal.com.

  • Sep 24th, 2009

Try the case in court, not online | Editorial

We must not forget: We have a justice system. Each of us has a constitutionally protected right to a fair trial. Each of us, when accused of a crime, is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Facts will be presented, testimony will be given, and all evidence will be weighed at a public trial.

  • Sep 23rd, 2009

Point/Counterpoint: The San Juan County Critical Areas Ordinance

Proposed changes to the county’s Critical Areas Ordinance would have significant impact on how we build, and where we build, in the San Juans. In these guest columns, Gordon White of the Department of Ecology and attorney Dennis Reynolds argue the science behind the proposed changes.

  • Sep 22nd, 2009

Let your voice be heard on these issues | Editorial

Local and federal government agencies will make decisions soon that could have far-reaching effects on how we build our homes, how we can use our fairgrounds, how our urban growth areas accommodate growth, and how we develop the waste transfer station on San Juan Island. Several public meeting are scheduled to take public comment on these issues. Go. Listen. And share your view. This is your opportunity to influence decisions that could affect you.

  • Sep 10th, 2009

We should enforce existing law regarding orcas and vessel traffic | Editorial

The resident orcas are here mostly from May to September, hunting once-abundant salmon runs. Today, that prey is depleted. A major humpy run is passing through the San Juans right now, but if you’re an orca you have to catch more humpies than you do a massive chinook. And you have to do it in waters that are polluted. Those problems extend beyond a half-mile boundary, and they extend beyond May to September. Those problems are regional and they are year-round. We need to enforce the laws we have now. We need to promote alternative ways to watch the whales and other wildlife. We need to keep improving salmon habitat. We need to keep cleaning up the sea.

  • Sep 10th, 2009

Town streets are too narrow for public safety | Guest Column

Change will not happen without ongoing community input. As such, I encourage you to contact the Town Council to make appropriate modifications in the current roads and for future construction before somebody is hurt.

  • Sep 8th, 2009

Alternatives to the half-mile no-go zone | Guest Column

It is time to evaluate all the options we have with regard to the orca protection proposal by NOAA. The public comment period ends Oct. 27, less than a month from the end of our busy season. We need more time to analyze the whole of the situation and formulate alternative proposals. There are some good ideas floating out there of options and ways to deal with this.

  • Sep 4th, 2009

Friday Harbor Town Council should right this wrong | Editorial

The Friday Harbor Town Council should grant David Taylor’s request for a driveway at his house on Guard Street. For two years, Taylor has wanted to get in and out of his car without fear of getting struck by a passing vehicle. For two years, he has wondered how his property, facing a minor arterial road, came to be landlocked, without access from the front or rear of the property. And he’s wondered why he can’t have a driveway although his neighbor has one.

  • Sep 2nd, 2009

Same-sex rights address historic injustices | Guest Column

When I thought about the experiences and challenges I’d face as your state senator, I didn’t think that in my first year I’d find myself on the front lines of a fight that’s been brewing over the last 40 years. From the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York, to the protests last year in California over the passage of Proposition 8, to rallies at state capitals this year, same-sex couples have been fighting against discrimination and working toward equality all across America — with limited success.

We welcome the ban on Styrofoam | Editorial

But this is only a beginning. Whether on island or the mainland, we should always ask for to-go containers made from compostable or recyclable materials. We should always seek to reduce the packaging that comes into our lives when we shop. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” must be our mantra.

  • Aug 27th, 2009

Lime company town or resort town, Roche Harbor has always been a community of people | Editor’s Notebook

Since 1886, Roche Harbor has been a lime company town and a resort town. But the common thread – a thread dating back earlier than the settlement era – is that it’s always been a community of people. To all those who participated in the July 18 luncheon and book signing, thank you. And welcome home.

  • Aug 26th, 2009

Ecology’s wetlands guidance has proven, practical track record | Opinion

Ecology has provided training on wetland science to more than 1,500 people from local, state, federal and tribal governments and business. Over 100 local jurisdictions have already based their wetland ordinances on our guidance.

  • Aug 21st, 2009

Continued noncompliance with guidelines requires the implementation of orca protections | Guest Column

With the recent news that NOAA Fisheries has proposed vessel regulations to reduce vessel disturbance to the endangered population of Southern Resident killer whales, it is important that everyone take the time to better understand the very real issues we are facing.

  • Aug 10th, 2009

CAO science must be applicable to the San Juans | Guest Column

At one time, the Best Available Science told us only that the earth was flat and that it rotated around the sun. This was based on limited observations without correct scientific study. Unfortunately, we have a similar situation facing San Juan County today. It is of the utmost importance that as legislators you maintain the independence of science from policy pressures. This is the only way to ensure legitimacy and quality of science.

  • Aug 7th, 2009
Billy Frank Jr. ... chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Habitat is key to salmon recovery | Being Frank

We’re starting to see some light on the horizon when it comes to restoring salmon, and we have good management to thank for it. But despite the ground we've gained, we are losing habitat faster than we can restore it.

Billy Frank Jr. ... chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Coming to grips with another fatality | Editorial

When tragedies happen in our island communities, anger, grief and shock can pull us together or pull us apart. Sometimes it’s a little of both.

  • Aug 4th, 2009
Howard Schonberger

The more we can find out about what is good for us, the better off we’ll be | Ferry Home Companion

We're doing this for EVERYBODY'S GRANDCHILDREN, not just ours. The more we can find out about what is good for us and all creatures large and small, the better off we'll be.

Howard Schonberger

Human/whale encounters in the whale’s environment is nothing but positive for both species | Guest Column

Orca Relief would better serve the orca if they would stop splitting hairs over what you perceive as a loophole in the whale-watching rules and stop distracting the public from the real issues these whales are facing that may cause their demise: salmon depletion and pollution of their environment.

  • Aug 4th, 2009

Support Relay for Life this weekend and make a difference in the battle against cancer | Editorial

Times are tough right now. But for just a few dollars, and a little bit of your time, you can bolster cancer research and help provide services for local cancer patients. This year, Relay for Life is July 25-26, 2:30 p.m. to 11 a.m., on the Friday Harbor High School football field.

  • Jul 23rd, 2009

Open meetings are necessary and required | Editorial

State law and the state Supreme Court indicate meetings and records of PeaceHealth’s governing board, to be appointed to oversee operations of the proposed hospital on San Juan Island, must be open to the public. Openness is a good thing. And we are encouraged by Jim Barnhart’s comments; he is CEO of PeaceHealth’s Suislaw Region in Oregon and has been appointed by PeaceHealth to lead the planning and development of the proposed hospital here. He said of open public meetings and public records requirements: “We, of course, would abide by any requirements that exist.”

  • Jul 17th, 2009

ACLU is needed now because freedom cannot defend itself | Guest Column

I invite anyone who questions the current importance of the ACLU to visit the ACLU Web site at aclu.org. The ACLU has worked since 1920 in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Summarized below are but a few examples of the recent diverse activities of the ACLU.

  • Jul 16th, 2009
Richard Walker ... editor of The Journal of the San Juan Islands and SanJuanJournal.com

A well-deserved shout-out for a local firefighter | Editor’s Notebook

Here's a well-deserved shout-out for Paul Spencer, firefighter/mechanic for the Friday Harbor Fire Department. Spencer took a break from scrambling eggs at the department's July 5 pancake breakfast to help a Lummi Nation artist whose car wouldn't start.

  • Jul 10th, 2009
Richard Walker ... editor of The Journal of the San Juan Islands and SanJuanJournal.com

Happy Fourth of July | Editorial

Any other year, if you miss the island’s Fourth of July celebration, you could say, “Oh, well, there’s always next year.” If you miss this year’s celebration, you’ll have to wait another 100 years. So don’t miss it.

  • Jul 2nd, 2009
Howard Schonberger

Sacrifices are still being made in name of liberty | Ferry Home Companion

Newspapers, schools, government ... all are among the many institutions who are chided if they don’t fly the flag on Flag Day. We used to fly it at The Journal when our offices were on Guard Street, before moving to Mullis Street a few years ago. Only trouble, we were on the first floor and we lost a few flags.

Howard Schonberger

The many dangers of feeding wildlife | Guest Column

It’s Baby Season. Deer fawns, fox kits, raccoon kits and other cute little wild babies are out there and people just can’t resist the temptation to feed them. Some folks assume that a baby on its own must be hungry and they should “take care of it,” while others use food to tempt a youngster closer to get a good photo. Either way, it is not good news for the young wild animal.

  • Jun 30th, 2009

A fed wild animal is a dead wild animal | Editorial

There are activities we’ve seen on the American Camp prairie that distress us: Visitors to the park stop their cars and lure fox kits with food so they can snap a photograph. Visitors let their dogs run off leash. A jogger runs through the park, letting her dog run free and bark at wildlife. These activities are distressing because they upset the self-sustaining balance of prairie life. They are also against the law.

A letter to the Class of 2009 | Editorial

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.

  • Jun 10th, 2009
Dr. Mark Fishaut

A few more things worth knowing about influenza | House Calls

In the outbreak of the current novel influenza, the management and dissemination of information both locally and nationally has been much better than it was 33 years ago. But the technical jargon and terminology has made it difficult for many to understand the vast amount of information that has been publicized. So, let’s decipher a few terms.

  • Jun 1st, 2009
Dr. Mark Fishaut

Efforts to save our enduring natural places: By and for the people | Guest Column

In these efforts, our community is the embodiment of the often-cited quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” As I am walking out in the woods we now share and pass a fellow islander, these will be the words on my mind.

  • Jun 1st, 2009
Mike Vouri

‘It is for them we mourn and for them that we search our hearts for that deeper meaning that is never fully satisfied’ | Guest Column

Memorial Day belongs to the fallen. It is for them we mourn and for them that we search our hearts for that deeper meaning that is never fully satisfied. Those of us who have been on the point of our nation’s interests know this.

  • May 27th, 2009
Mike Vouri

Will the entire county end up bailing out the town? | Guest Column

A good decision does not need to be defended. Good choices stand on their own merits. This was not the case in the recent guest column of May 6 by County Council members Pratt and Peterson.

  • May 26th, 2009

Your chance to make a difference | Editorial

Have an idea of how to make the community a better place in which to live, play and work? There’s no better chance than now. Run for public office. As a candidate, you will contribute to public discussion about issues. If you win, you will — depending on the position with which you will be entrusted — make decisions that affect our level and quality of local education, fire protection, health care, port services, recreation, sewer and water service, and other public services.

  • May 20th, 2009

You can be prepared the next time the lights go out | Guest Column

A single-car accident striking a power pole in Sedro-Woolley left more than 100,000 people in five counties without electricity. Here at the end of the long “extension cord” to the islands, power restoration started about 9 p.m., with some areas reporting the outage lasting until 10:30 p.m. In the islands, we are more used to these outages occurring during wind, or winter storms. After these storms and outages, we usually remind folks of the steps we can take as individuals to help our community prepare for these events.

  • Apr 30th, 2009

You can save money and save school sports | Editorial

In this era of economic uncertainty, good news regarding savings and investments is always welcome. Here’s some: You’re going to see a sizable reduction in your 2010 property tax bill. You can help save school sports and still see a sizable reduction.

  • Apr 30th, 2009