Letter to the Editor: From the Vote Yes For Our Library committee

Posted October 28, 2022 at 7:38 pm by

On your bal­lot right now is the years-long cam­paign to build a new Library. The issue is shroud­ed in rumors and misinformation.

Many won­der why the Library itself has not done more to respond and answer people’s ques­tions. The answer is sim­ple — pub­lic agen­cies are high­ly con­strained in their abil­i­ty to cam­paign, and the Library is act­ing with­in the law. The Library has doc­u­ments and facts on its web­site but must leave it to out­side vol­un­teers to cam­paign and advocate.

A ded­i­cat­ed group of vol­un­teers has been try­ing to get the facts in front of vot­ers with an exten­sive FAQ page and let­ters to the edi­tor, as well as per­son­al let­ters to friends and neigh­bors. Our site clar­i­fies and guides you through the doc­u­ments you see on the Library’s web­site.

We under­stand that the new Library rep­re­sents expen­sive pub­lic con­struc­tion. Our group believes that the right time for our com­mu­ni­ty to improve civic infra­struc­ture is now. By build­ing it now, we’ll do it at a time where inter­est rates for pub­lic enti­ties are at very rea­son­able lev­els – between four and five per­cent, a far cry from some of the mis­in­for­ma­tion float­ing around.

We believe that we are doing the right thing for the com­mu­ni­ty, for this gen­er­a­tion and the next, in vot­ing yes for the Library. And we ask you, our friends and neigh­bors, to do so as well.

Louise Dus­trude
Beth Hel­stien
William Appel
Dana Ander­son
Eileen Drath
Gay Gra­ham
Susan Maz­zarel­la
Lov­el Pratt
Boyd Pratt
Liz Pil­low
Mark Mad­sen
Lara Braith­waite
Lau­rie Orton
Jean Grif­fin
Richard Grout
Alan Roochvarg
Lynn Weber/Roochvarg

Letter to the Editor: Vote yes for the library

Posted October 28, 2022 at 2:22 pm by

Every com­mu­ni­ty deserves a first-rate pub­lic library, and I hope that we will all embrace this oppor­tu­ni­ty to build one. The exist­ing struc­ture is burst­ing at the seams, with no room to expand in its cur­rent loca­tion. Through years of work and study, our library board has cre­at­ed a vision for a facil­i­ty that can serve the island for decades. Some argue that now is not the time, but it’s hard to imag­ine that the future would be a bet­ter time, when real estate and build­ing costs will be even more expen­sive, and when a suit­able site will no longer be avail­able with­in the walk­a­ble core of Fri­day Har­bor. This project allows us to address a clear com­mu­ni­ty need in a thought­ful way, sub­stan­tial­ly off­set­ting the pub­lic invest­ment with grants and pri­vate fundrais­ing. That approach can serve as a mod­el for oth­er local pri­or­i­ties, and in fact it already has. Ten years ago, sim­i­lar efforts result­ed in a fine new hos­pi­tal to care for the health of our bod­ies. Let us do the same now to nour­ish the health of our minds.

Thor Han­son
San Juan Island

Tiger football teams host Saturday playoff games

Posted October 28, 2022 at 10:35 am by

Fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful sea­son for Fri­day Har­bor Tigers youth foot­ball, all three teams will host a first-round play­off game tomor­row at Linde Com­mu­ni­ty Fields.

The Midget team (ages 9–10) kicks off at 11 a.m. against Belling­ham, fol­lowed by the Juniors (ages 11–12) at 1 p.m. against Belling­ham, and the Pee Wees (ages 6–8) at 3 p.m. against Oak Harbor.

The teams enter the play­offs with con­fi­dence after strong per­for­mances against dif­fi­cult off-island com­pe­ti­tion all season.

“Fri­day Har­bor Tiger youth foot­ball has his­tor­i­cal­ly played against sim­i­lar­ly ros­tered teams from La Con­ner, Lum­mi Island, Con­crete, Dar­ring­ton, Lake­wood, and Gran­ite Falls,” says Pee Wees coach Juan Unping­co. “But this sea­son, leagues were merged to include Belling­ham, Ana­cortes, Oak Har­bor, Mount Ver­non, Fer­n­dale, and Sedro Wool­ley. These teams have twice the num­ber of play­ers and are usu­al­ly two times the size of our Fri­day Har­bor Tigers.”

Each team rose to the chal­lenge this year, with the Juniors fin­ish­ing 6–2, the Midgets 7–1, and the Pee Wees 5–3.

Coach Juan encour­ages the com­mu­ni­ty to come out to the games on Sat­ur­day to show its love and sup­port for our hard-work­ing island athletes.

Notes from the Island — Oct. 28

Posted October 28, 2022 at 9:26 am by

  • Today is home­com­ing at Fri­day Har­bor High School. The parade starts at 3 p.m. from WSF Lot C and pro­ceeds up Spring St., to be fol­lowed by a pep ral­ly at 3:30 p.m. at Turn­bull Gym. The foot­ball game against Coupeville High School starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • High school boys soc­cer fin­ished up their reg­u­lar sea­son strong with a come-from-behind road win at Mt. Ver­non Chris­t­ian by a count of 3–2. They end­ed the sea­son 10–2 over­all, 7–1 in con­fer­ence, and play in the dis­trict tour­na­ment next week.
  • The San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art hosts a gallery walk-and-talk with artist Kevin Chris­ti­son tonight at 5:30 p.m.
  • Tom­my Dale & the Dan­ger­fields host a Hal­loween dance tomor­row night from 7–10 p.m. at Brick­works. The 21-and-over event has a beer and wine gar­den, and a cos­tume con­test with prizes. It’s pay-what-you-can, with a $5 sug­gest­ed donation.
  • The sec­ond annu­al Fri­day Har­bor Witch­es Pad­dle takes place on Sun­day. All human-pow­ered ves­sels are invit­ed to meet at Ship­yard Cove for a 10 a.m. launch. Park­ing at Ship­yard is lim­it­ed, so car­pool­ing and drop-offs are encour­aged. Email wendyzappelli@yahoo.com for more information.
  • Here are the week’s spe­cials at Kings and Mar­ket Place. Mar­ket Place is hav­ing a Hal­loween-themed anniver­sary sale that runs through Nov. 1, with spe­cial deals and a chance to win prizes like Alas­ka Air­lines miles and a stay at Sun­ca­dia Resort.

Have some­thing to share with the Island? Whether the news is big or small, let us know!

Rain on the rail

Posted October 27, 2022 at 11:31 pm by

Letter to the Editor: Thoughts on the Charter Review Commission propositions

Posted October 27, 2022 at 10:22 pm by

Friends who know I served on the Char­ter Review Com­mis­sion asked for my take on the four CRC propo­si­tions that are on the bal­lot. Here’s what I told them.

Dur­ing the CRC meet­ings the only one of the four pro­pos­als I sup­port­ed was Prop 2. The 2021 CRC spent three weeks try­ing to secure basic sup­port from the Coun­ty admin­is­tra­tion so we could func­tion. The CRC is in the orig­i­nal Coun­ty char­ter and is a part of Coun­ty gov­ern­ment. It’s also a low-cost oper­a­tion. I believe we spent $14,000 for the entire year of our term, pri­mar­i­ly for cler­i­cal assis­tance. Prop 2 is intend­ed to clear­ly define the Coun­ty’s respon­si­bil­i­ty so that no future CRC has to expe­ri­ence what we did. It deserves approval.

Prop 1 would cre­ate a new posi­tion of Pub­lic Advo­cate. I still don’t under­stand the need for it. In my expe­ri­ence, when you aren’t sure who in the Coun­ty you need to talk to about a par­tic­u­lar issue, Coun­ty employ­ees are impres­sive­ly help­ful in direct­ing you to the right office or the right person.

Prop 3 is the one that wor­ries me. It says that if the leg­is­la­ture autho­rizes ranked-choice vot­ing it would auto­mat­i­cal­ly become law in our coun­ty. We don’t know how the leg­is­la­ture might struc­ture it, or when it might hap­pen, but we’re going to impose it on our­selves now, sight unseen. I don’t think that’s a very good idea. On top of that, look at your bal­lot. We have a hard time get­ting two peo­ple to run for the same Coun­ty office, nev­er mind three or more. In my view, Wash­ing­ton’s cur­rent top-two sys­tem has served us very well.

Prop 4 would make it eas­i­er to put ini­tia­tives on the bal­lot by low­er­ing the num­ber of sig­na­tures required. What’s wrong with that? It short-cir­cuits the delib­er­a­tive process that, in my opin­ion, is nec­es­sary for good gov­ern­ment. Look at the hav­oc that’s been cre­at­ed statewide over the years by ill-advised ini­tia­tives. The prob­lems with our fer­ry ser­vice go back to an ini­tia­tive that destroyed WSF’s fund­ing base.

Richard Grout
San Juan Island

Trick or Book event takes place Oct. 30

Posted October 27, 2022 at 4:50 pm by

Contributed photo

The Library shares news about their upcom­ing Hal­loween event for island children.

The third annu­al Trick or Book event will be held on Sun­day, Oct. 30 from 2–4 p.m. on the Mullis Cen­ter lawn behind the Joyce L. Sobel Fam­i­ly Resource Center.

This free event is designed for fam­i­lies with babies, tod­dlers, and preschool­ers. Old­er sib­lings are wel­come to attend. Chil­dren will receive a book along with oth­er good­ies for their treat bags.

Trick or Book was start­ed as a com­mu­ni­ty enrich­ment and lit­er­a­cy pro­mo­tion event to help give fam­i­lies with chil­dren ages five and younger a safe and wel­com­ing space to wear cos­tumes, hear sto­ries, enjoy Hal­loween fes­tiv­i­ties, and receive an age-appro­pri­ate book to keep.

Trick or Book is orga­nized by the Joyce L. Fam­i­ly Resource Cen­ter and the San Juan Island Library with addi­tion­al sup­port from San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre, SAFE San Juans, San Juan Coun­ty Health and Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices, P2P, Co-op, and Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter Volunteers.

Letter to the Editor: Vote yes for the library

Posted October 27, 2022 at 1:59 pm by

Local vot­ers have already approved the pur­chase of the Life Care Cen­ter prop­er­ty. Now there are oppo­nents say­ing we should not approve a bond to actu­al­ly build a new library. Unbelievable!

We choose to live in this beau­ti­ful place where we have good pub­lic ser­vices to meet our needs. Our library has been pre­em­i­nent in serv­ing the needs of all seg­ments of this com­mu­ni­ty, seniors as well as chil­dren, aid­ing the tech­nol­o­gy-impaired as well as the pro­fi­cient, serv­ing the Eng­lish lan­guage — flu­ent or not, those who read books and those who read online — meet­ing our needs onsite and offsite.

Our cur­rent library is burst­ing at the seams and has nev­er had ade­quate park­ing. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to build on an ide­al site has already been decid­ed, and it should not now be set aside. To nay-say­ers we say: there will always be oth­er ways to spend our mon­ey. Yes, we can always tight­en our belts and make do with what we have. On the oth­er hand, we can see a bet­ter future and make a com­mit­ment to get­ting there.

We will vote yes for the Library and urge you to do so too.

Rita and Richard Weisbrod
San Juan Island

County responds to frequently asked questions about road levy proposition

Posted October 27, 2022 at 10:31 am by

San Juan Coun­ty shares their respons­es to com­mon ques­tions about the road levy propo­si­tion up for a vote in this Novem­ber’s election.

Novem­ber’s bal­lots will include Res­o­lu­tion No. 20–2022, a propo­si­tion to increase the Coun­ty road levy from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed val­ue. The $0.44 increase will be used to main­tain roads and marine facil­i­ties, repair storm dam­age, and enhance roads for pedes­tri­ans and cyclists.

What is the levy rate? The lid lift is $1, but what’s the rate?

The pro­posed bal­lot propo­si­tion is to increase the road fund levy to $1.00 per $1,000 assessed val­ue. The new levy rate would also be $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed val­ue — mak­ing both the lid lift and the levy rate $1.00.

What does a “sin­gle-year per­ma­nent levy lid lift” mean?

With a per­ma­nent sin­gle-year lid lift, the levy lid bumps up more than one per­cent in the first year, and then that amount is used to cal­cu­late all future 101 per­cent levy lim­i­ta­tions. The mea­sure nev­er expires, and the levy lid nev­er reverts. How­ev­er, future annu­al increas­es may not exceed one per­cent with­out going to the vot­ers for anoth­er lid lift.

Will the road levy real­ly raise my prop­er­ty tax­es by 79 percent?

No, your over­all prop­er­ty tax­es will not increase by 79 per­cent. The road levy rate will increase by rough­ly 79 per­cent — from $0.56 to $1.00 — but the road levy is a small per­cent­age of total prop­er­ty tax­es paid. Last year it was about sev­en per­cent of the total tax­es levied. A 79 per­cent increase of about sev­en per­cent of the over­all tax bill results in only about a 5.6 per­cent increase overall.

How will this levy lid lift affect my taxes?

Use this for­mu­la to cal­cu­late your tax: 2023 assessed val­ue x $1.00 levy rate/ 1,000 = your road fund tax. For exam­ple, a home in 2022 that was val­ued at $700,000, pay­ing last year’s road levy rate of $0.56, con­tributed $392 to the road fund. If that same home received a 30 per­cent increase in assessed val­ue this year, it is now val­ued at $910,000. With the new road levy, the rate becomes $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed val­ue, and that home would pay $910 to the road fund.

What hap­pens if the Coun­ty col­lects more rev­enue than was estimated?

The Coun­ty esti­mat­ed rev­enue to be gen­er­at­ed by this levy lid lift using 2022 prop­er­ty val­u­a­tions. Actu­al rev­enue col­lect­ed will use 2023 prop­er­ty val­u­a­tions. Any addi­tion­al funds col­lect­ed by this levy lid lift are expensed for the same pur­pos­es for which they are col­lect­ed — repairs and replace­ments of fail­ing cul­verts, updates to marine facil­i­ties, and widen­ing of shoul­ders for mul­ti-modal transportation.

Can the Coun­ty use mon­ey from oth­er funds to sup­port the road fund?

The Coun­ty uses funds sources to sup­port a vari­ety of exist­ing pro­grams and ser­vices includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to the Sheriff’s Office, Dis­trict and Supe­ri­or Courts, Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment, Parks and Recre­ation, grant match­es, and more. Diver­sion of gen­er­al fund pro­ceeds to the road fund may affect exist­ing programming.

Why doesn’t the Coun­ty use LTAC to pay for road shoulders?

LTAC stands for Lodg­ing Tax Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee and is a grant pro­gram for tourism-relat­ed improve­ments. The Coun­ty does apply to LTAC for pub­lic works projects includ­ing road shoul­der improve­ments. While the Coun­ty has and will con­tin­ue to apply for LTAC fund­ing, as well as oth­er state and fed­er­al fund­ing sources, these grant pro­grams do not replace the need for a levy lid lift.

Where can I learn more about the road levy?

Learn more about the pro­posed levy and use the inter­ac­tive project map on the San Juan Coun­ty web­site.

Letter to the Editor: In support of Ron Krebs

Posted October 26, 2022 at 8:45 pm by

I live on San Juan Val­ley Road and each day as I dri­ve or ride my bicy­cle through the val­ley, I have seen the sign and now the ban­ner at the Undersheriff’s home sup­port­ing Ron Krebs. I did a lit­tle check­ing and dis­cov­ered that the vast major­i­ty of the cur­rent­ly serv­ing as well as retired deputies in this Coun­ty are sup­port­ing our Sher­iff for re-elec­tion, not Eric Peter. I have noth­ing neg­a­tive to say about Eric Peter. I just think there is a good rea­son there is so much sup­port among Ron Krebs’ depart­ment mem­bers. I hope that helps you decide instead of who has the most signs.

Brad Pil­low
San Juan Island

Island Lights Festival returns Dec. 2

Posted October 26, 2022 at 7:16 pm by

The Cham­ber of Com­merce shares news about the event that will kick off San Juan Island’s hol­i­day season.

The San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce is proud to announce that the Island Lights Fes­ti­val will take place this year on Fri­day, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. This kick-off event for the Fri­day Har­bor Win­ter­fest is pre­sent­ed in part­ner­ship with Island Rec and, of course, San­ta Claus.

Our tree light­ing will be a touch dif­fer­ent this year and we will be resort­ing to how the Island Light Fes­ti­val was years ago. This is due to the sad demise of the big tree in Memo­r­i­al Park. The Town will make the shape of a tree with twin­kling lights and the col­ors will coin­cide with the Noel sign, which is man­aged by the San Juan Island Lions Club.

It will be a fun-filled evening when the com­mu­ni­ty gath­ers on Spring Street between First and Front streets to await the arrival of San­ta. We will have car­ol­ing while sip­ping some hot choco­late and cof­fee before he arrives to light the tree.

Letter to the Editor: Re-elect Ron Krebs

Posted October 26, 2022 at 2:11 pm by

There are a num­ber of impor­tant dif­fer­ences between Sher­iff Ron Krebs and his oppo­nent, but one of those dif­fer­ences is crit­i­cal. Ron is the only can­di­date who under­stands what’s required to be the sher­iff in a small rur­al county.

Ron’s built rela­tion­ships over time. Peo­ple trust him and are will­ing to con­fide in him. That’s crit­i­cal for a small town sher­iff. Those rela­tion­ships and his approach to law enforce­ment help him and his deputies solve crimes and keep us safe.

Ron has also been will­ing to stick his neck out and pub­licly sup­port crit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty ser­vices, like the recent EMS levy, even when the com­mu­ni­ty debate is contentious.

It’s also telling that a large major­i­ty of the deputies favor Ron’s re-elec­tion. They’re the ones who know what’s going on inside the depart­ment and who will be imme­di­ate­ly affect­ed by the vot­ers’ decision.

Ron isn’t per­fect. He’s made some mis­takes. But over the course of his tenure as sher­iff he’s served us well. We will con­tin­ue to be well served by re-elect­ing Ron Krebs.

Richard Grout
San Juan Island

Severe weather shelter seeks volunteers

Posted October 26, 2022 at 8:52 am by

Unit­ed Way of San Juan Coun­ty shares news about their severe weath­er shel­ter program.

It’s that time of the year, where the sug­ges­tion of very cold weath­er is loud and clear. We are hop­ing to put togeth­er a team of vol­un­teers to open the Severe Weath­er Shel­ter this year.

An ori­en­ta­tion will be held on Tues­day, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. at Islands Com­mu­ni­ty Church — 127 Gilbert Lane, on the south side of San Juan Val­ley Road, just east of Dou­glas Road. Cof­fee and treats will be served.

See what we are about and decide if it’s for you. Trained and com­mit­ted vol­un­teers get paid $10 to sign up shel­ter atten­dees and $75 to stay overnight. The shel­ter is half pol­i­cy-and-pro­ce­dure and half we’re-just-keep­ing-folks-warm. Sign up with a friend, if you wish. You can chat and play cards.

Vol­un­teers also require a back­ground check, but not all records will exclude one from volunteering.

South Beach in a gale

Posted October 25, 2022 at 7:24 pm by

Letter to the Editor: Vote to stay the course

Posted October 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm by

My sense is that we are doing quite well hav­ing Ron Krebs as Sher­riff. Why change what isn’t bro­ken? Sure there have been some awk­ward moments, as any­one in such a high-pro­file posi­tion will expe­ri­ence in this insu­lar, small Coun­ty fish­bowl. We live in an unusu­al place of trust and hope that is pro­found­ly dif­fer­ent than the vio­lent crime-rid­den big city of Hous­ton, Texas.

I count it a major plus that Krebs has had oth­er career paths that bal­ance his per­spec­tive. I have talked with him about spe­cif­ic issues many times as Sher­iff. I well remem­ber his artic­u­late and com­pas­sion­ate under­stand­ing of the causal rela­tion­ship between a lack of afford­able hous­ing and com­pound­ing stress, fam­i­ly abuse and low-lev­el crime. He has fol­lowed through with increas­ing the diver­si­ty of deputies to bet­ter reflect our com­mu­ni­ty. More cops out of their cars; but there is more to do. We have our share of trou­bled char­ac­ters hang­ing out in Fri­day Har­bor. I have been impressed with his respect for the first amend­ment rights of all indi­vid­u­als and see­ing law enforce­ment as a tool to per­suade, rather than pun­ish, some non-vio­lent offenders.

I worked close­ly with many law enforce­ment rangers in the Nation­al Park Ser­vice who trans­ferred to light­ly vis­it­ed, huge Alas­ka park units pre­vi­ous­ly hav­ing been sta­tioned in urban, urban-influ­enced or row­dy recre­ation­al parks in the low­er 48. With few excep­tions, indi­vid­u­als from seri­ous crime area post­ings, espe­cial­ly after many years, have a hard­ened per­spec­tive that makes nec­es­sary adjust­ments to quirky, small-town prob­lems with only a sprin­kling of vio­lent crime, very dif­fi­cult. There is some truth in the old saw, “if you only car­ry a ham­mer, you see every prob­lem as a nail.”

Sher­iff Krebs has an islander’s “fam­i­ly is the foun­da­tion for com­mu­ni­ty” view, and has spent years build­ing good work­ing rela­tion­ships here — sel­dom easy — with chang­ing Coun­ty Coun­cils, pros­e­cu­tors, EMS, Fire, busi­ness lead­ers, and fed­er­al and State agen­cies work­ing dai­ly in com­plex coop­er­a­tive roles. I believe that he shares our com­mon desire to live in a safe, cohe­sive, respect­ful and slow­er-paced community.

Steve Ulvi
San Juan Island