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Guest Column by Minni Kynch critcizing the Mullis Center Board

As editor of San Juan Islander I debated whether to post this column. The part accusing the current Mullis Center Board of financial mismanagement skirts right on the edge of libel. I decided to post it because the Mullis Center Board has written about this letter and has explained fully the need to amend some tax forms.

In the wake of the recent Washington Superior Court’s Order mandating the San Juan County Senior Services Council restore improperly removed voting rights to local seniors and disabled constituents, the current San Juan Mullis Center Operations Committee recently sent out two misleading communications to further deflect responsibility and mislead our community.

In the recent publications, included in the San Juan Journal, the San Juan Islander, and the Mullis Center Newsletter, the current Council minimized their role in improperly seizing voting rights from local seniors. In short, in August 2019 the existing Council illegally changed the bylaws such that they would stay in power indefinitely without fear of standing for election again.

Rather than explain the rationale for their illegal and unauthorized actions, the Council has instead doubled down and attacked the very folks who stood up against their abuse of authority, departure from 40+ years of established practice, and undemocratic actions. No amount of deflection or spinning can change what happened and what the Court reversed: Six people on the Council stole your voting rights and consolidated full unaccountable power to themselves. Many citizens were rightly concerned at this illegal power grab and violation of trust to all citizens.

If there is any shred of light coming from this recent blatant and immoral power grab it is that every representative from Lopez Island saw right through this sham from the beginning and tried to vote it down. Not one representative from Lopez Island supported this Council’s illegal actions in 2019.

The reality is that the upcoming election in October for new council members would not be happening if not for the conscientious folks who stood up to the current Council. The Court had to specifically order this Council to follow their own bylaws and hold this election. And this upcoming election is to fill all the seats that should have been filled in the elections of 2019, 2020, and 2021 that were improperly cancelled because of the current Council’s illegal actions.

Unfortunately, this may not be the end of the misconduct. Recently, potentially gross unexplained financial deficiencies have been discovered. Specifically, in December 2020, the current Council quietly and suspiciously amended past tax returns eliminating over $500,000 in assets. On the heels of their illegal actions in taking away our votes and becoming less transparent, there needs to be a better explanation other than their mysteriously stated explanation: "to remove community foundation funds held by others.”

This is no small matter and suggests further disturbing misconduct or incompetence. We should all demand an audit of these financials that the current Council has avoided up to now by their unilateral actions to hold on to power.

Our Senior Centers are critically important community assets held in trust by a 501(c)(3) Foundation. The Public is entitled to competent oversight, integrity, and transparency in such matters. Current leadership is not providing these essential qualities. It is high time for a change.

Signed by: P. Arroyo, S. Blair, C. Brooks, B. Buck, R. Callegari, S. Carnes, T. Christensen, E. Christensen, A. Commins, K. Commins, B. Dragin, J. Fodor, M. Gallagher, P. Gallagher, A. Gavora, S. Haley, S. Harrison, G. Illif, K. Keller, R. Keller, S. Keller, J. Knych, M. Knych, J. Musburger, F. Penwell, P. Penwell, R. Peter, G. Peterson, S. Plummer, R. Polda, T. Polda, W. Ray, B. Reilly, B. Robinson, K. Robinson, D. Schwartz, K. Schwartz, M. Skuffeeda, R. Swenson, R. Taylor, P. Vincillette, D. Ware, R. Ware

GUEST COLUMN: Mullis Center finances explained

This guest column by Stephen Shubert, Chair of Mullis Community Senior Center District Committee explains recent amendments to Mullis Senior Center tax forms. 

TO: The San Juan Island Community FROM: Stephen Shubert, Chair of Mullis Community Senior Center District Committee

You may have seen a recent message sent from a group calling itself Friends of Mullis Center, accusing the Mullis Community Senior Center of possible financial mismanagement. I wish to provide the facts related to this accusation.

Guest Column: 13K sq ft hangar big enough for 12 aircraft proposed on San Juan Island

Dear Editor,

Home Depot is coming! And not just to town, but to your residential neighborhood be it Portland Fair, the Cape, or off of Bailer Hill or Roche Harbor Rd. Did I get your attention? Ok – so the big box stores aren’t coming, but the industrial metal box buildings are coming soon to a residential lot next door to you as we recently learned would be happening next door to us and fundamentally changing the fabric of our community.

A satellite view and overlay of the proposed structure in the residential Bridle Trails neighborhood.

NRIC: Snake River Salmon Extinction Advisory

 Snake River salmon advocate Northwest Resource Information Center on September 1, 2021 called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House of Representatives to block Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s effort to allow Bonneville Power Administration to borrow an additional $10 billion from U.S. taxpayers. LETTER

Guest Column by Clayton Banry: An update on Free Wheelin Rides

This past January I was given an opportunity to share my story with the local paper about the need for wheelchair accessible transportation on the island since this has been an ongoing challenge. My goal for this project was to give to people with a disability. Like myself, the option to be able to live more independently and to have the freedom to go where they want. Transportation plays a huge role in independence.

Guest Column: San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs has concerns about "police reform" laws

As of 12:01 am on July 26, 2021, the State of Washington enacted a group of laws aimed at “police reform”. These laws are aimed at enhancing accountability, training, and transparency among law enforcement, however, what these new laws will do is significantly affect our ability to detect and prevent crime and apprehend those who have committed criminal acts.

While we embrace change and are always working towards providing better community-oriented service, these laws will change the way law enforcement looks statewide as well as in San Juan County.

An islander shares his observations about what the foxes need

I live south of American Camp, so I pass through the park from time to time. I feel compelled to post my opinion because what I am seeing here really bothers me and I know I am not alone among islanders.

Read to the end of this article to learn the story behind this photo by Kyle Kittoe

I am in no way opposed island visitors and understand their importance to the local economy. However, I also love the beauty and serenity of this place and care deeply about our non human inhabitants, native and introduced.

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Capital Improvements: Friday Harbor’s Largest Commitment

Year after year, the services and responsibilities undertaken by the Town of Friday Harbor grow as population and business activity increase. Beyond daily town operations that include administration, finance, and community development, our most expensive and complex duties involve the construction, reconstruction, and improvements related to our capital infrastructure. These costs are vast, and our needs never ending. The Town has finite revenues from which to work, and therefore must prioritize, save, and battle for dwindling grants from state and federal sources. The current cost estimate for capital projects needed in the next 8 years exceeds $40,000,000.

File photo: Installation of round-about

Guest Column by Clayton Banry: Making Transportation Accessible

My name is Clayton Banry, I grew up in San Juan, I'm 32 and I've been in a wheelchair since I was eighteen because of a disorder called Mucolipidosis Type 3. It's a rare, slowly progressive disorder that affects many parts of my body. Signs and symptoms of this condition are typically diagnosed around age 3. It has meant I grow slowly and have short stature. I can also have stiff joints and a dysostosis multiplex. Even with these challenges I’m committed to directing my life towards being of service to my community.

NAS Whidbey: Navy remains committed to environmental stewardship; conducts critical training in Pacific Northwest

Numerous area media outlets, including The Seattle Times, published stories, which cited studies that have raised questions about whether Navy jet noise affects Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and the soundscape of the Olympic Peninsula. We disagree with some scientific methodologies and conclusions researchers made in these studies.

One study states noise from Growlers disturbs SRKW contributing to their harm from collective pressures. Researchers recorded the sound of takeoffs at the airfield in the water directly adjacent to the runway, with our collaboration.

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