San Juan Public Schools Foundation: Thanks community; provides donor tips

The San Juan Public Schools Foundation thanks the many community members and local businesses that generously support the Friday Harbor public schools each year. Whether expanding classroom libraries in the elementary school, providing art supplies to the middle school, or supporting our excellent high school teams in the annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl competition, Foundation gifts do invaluable good on behalf of our students.

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The Extinction Epidemic Goes Local

Last Thursday, after attending the day-long workshop at Brickworks about the Southern Resident orca whales, I had to make an emergency escape to Jackson’s Beach. My mind was in disarray and so were my emotions. It felt as though the SRKWs had been utterly overlooked in favor of the “stakeholders” in the room. After being derided and ridiculed because of speaking up for the SRKWs as part of the rest of the natural world that was facing extinction, I muttered something about “kissing our own asses goodbye” and headed for the door.

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Whalen: Island Deer Numbers

By Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) state biologist estimates, Columbia Blacktail Deer populate the San Juan Islands at a level x10 the historic pre settlement population. At a recent presentation by our regional state deer biologist at the local library, islanders were provided a wealth of information about the health and numbers of our local deer population. The presentation included scientific reference to the impacts of overpopulated deer on trees, native plants, insects and birds. This presentation wasn't an opinion piece, or as written in a recent letter, a Cabelas rally. The biologist simply provided those in attendance with some real information to consider.

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Miller: Concerned about Growth Mgmt Civilian-Military Compatibility Guide

Washington State’s Department of Commerce has published a guide called the Growth Management Civilian-Military Compatibility Guide. The Guidebook is part of a master strategy laid out by the consulting group, the Spectrum Group, whose leadership is comprised of retired military, regarding Growth Management issues in WA State. In a Dec 2016 report to the Commerce Department, the Guidebook laid out what is needed to attract more military activity to WA state. The report and follow up work was funded, in part, by a grant from the Department of Defense Department of Economic Adjustment.

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Lance: Deer are not the problem

I attended a meeting at the library last night on deer population here on San Juan Island and what I walked away with is: KILL DEER! My take is different than pretty much everyone else’s point of view at what felt like a Cabela-sponsored rally. We humans seem to have a psychological need to blame any living thing other than ourselves for the ecological and economic mess we find ourselves in. Deer are not the problem - we are. If we truly cared about the native plants, birds and insects, we would take a hard look at ourselves and shape up. Human overpopulation is the driving force of the problem. Deer, cougar, wolf and bear were all native to San Juan. Along comes man and we eliminated all of the apex predators that kept the island’s fragile ecosystem in balance. The islands were gorgeous, flourishing with indigenous plants and animals. Fast forward today, The San Juans have been transformed, ecologically mutilated. Native wildlife have been sacrificed for the production of cattle pigs, chickens, sheep and llama. Our old-growth forests have been clearcut, plowed under and replaced with plantations, field crops, exotic flowers, grasses, alfalfa and hayfields.

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Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks: In memory of Ben White

It’s Thanksgiving week. It is the week that, in 1999, forever changed my life. My son, Colin, and I went to Ballard for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner with friends. On the way to their home we stopped at a small store to pick-up a few goodies. I mentioned to Colin that I might be coming back down to go to the WTO demonstrations the following week. The elderly Asian man who was behind the counter overheard me. His face broke into beam of joy, “You go, you go!” he pronounced with a big grin. Then he said, “You wait here.” And he dashed into the back room and came back with a big green sticker for the car that read: “If it doesn’t work for working families, it doesn’t work.”

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