Tide Bites: Ocean Outbreaks: from Seagrasses to Seastars

Tiny microbes are on the prowl to undermine the health of our oceans. Epidemics of our ocean biota are often unseen beneath the waves, so I have written a book about the impacts of underwater outbreaks, a first-hand account of our trials and adventures while chasing epidemics from Mexico and Hawaii to Indonesia and back to the Salish Sea. I focus on the stories of four of these outbreaks to describe how the epidemics unfolded, to figure out what microbe(s) were causing the outbreaks and to record the impacts to both ocean biodiversity and people. As a group, my students, colleagues and I have spent a lot of time underwater, so this is also a tale of our explorations, struggles and triumphs in strange places.

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Weisbrod: Response to Mr. Fowler's letter about Pledge of Allegiance at Mullis Center

Mr. Fowler is correct that the Mullis Center is discontinuing the practice of saying the Pledge of Allegiance at its Senior Lunches. We have come to realize that some seniors are not comfortable with this practice.

Our aim is to better fulfill our mission to serve ALL seniors on San Juan Island without regard to race, color, creed, religion or national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability, etc. Our decision has nothing to do with patriotism.

We certainly do not intend to disrespect veterans or the flag!

Our Meals Program receives federal funding, as well as funding from non-governmental sources, that require we be open to all. We note that in offering Senior Lunches the Mullis Center is not a legislative body engaged in the people’s business, nor are we a patriotic organization where the pledge is central to its functions. It’s just lunch. You don't say the Pledge of Allegiance before a meal at a restaurant.

In response to a complaint from some participants, the Operations Committee has adopted a policy that Senior Meals will include the Pledge of Allegiance on those special occasions where a patriotic gesture is appropriate.

As the Mullis Center moves to offering meals three times a week in April, we particularly want to welcome all seniors and people with disabilities on the island to join us for lunch. Note that lunch is open to everyone, not just seniors! Please join us ( Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 11:30) and bring a friend!

Rita Weisbrod, Chair, Mullis Center Operations Committee

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Spicer: Please save Coffelt Farm

I am writing this letter to beg the San Juan County Land Bank to invest the funds necessary to save the San Juan County agricultural institution that is Coffelt Farm. Only with the Land Bank's help can we rebuild Coffelt Farm and help it be what it so desperately wants to be: a self sustaining, non profit farm that is dedicated to passing on the traditions and practices of the farmers who came before. This country, this county and this island cannot afford to lose another small farm due to a lack of proper infrastructure and funding.

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Brennan: $70K severance pay for Chief Martin could be better spent on EMS

The San Juan County Hospital District #1 Commissioners have approved retiring EMS Chief Martin a $70,000 severance effective this April 1, 2019.

They do so while Chief Martin continues to be investigated by the Department of Health for failure to provide documentation of his training. Both the Hospital Board members and the Department of Health have requested this of Chief Martin numerous times and he has refused.

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San Juan Library thanks SJICF for supporting English Language Learning Program

We’d like to offer our thanks to the San Juan Island Community Foundation for their support for the Library’s English Language Learning program. This generous grant means that adult immigrants studying English have workbooks in which to write exercises.

More importantly, the grant from the Foundation means that while they are at the library, the only thing parents need to focus on is learning English, since their children are engaged in an enrichment program during class time. The foundation grant supports the costs of the special program for kids who get help with English skills, hear stories, receive homework help, and participate in activities and crafts. Thanks to all of you who support the Community Foundation and helped to make this happen.

The program is well-attended, but there are still spaces for additional students to join.

Laurie Orton, Director

Beth Helstien, Outreach Coordinator

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EDITORIAL: What happens next in Friday Harbor following release of District Court's security cam video

So what should happen now that it is inarguably apparent that the manipulation of San Juan County District Court's security camera during a criminal trial was deliberate? Will there be an investigation to determine if this has happened before? Will the county Prosecutor Randy Gaylord issue a Brady Letter due to Sheriff Ron Krebs' conflicting testimony? If there is an investigation - what agency has jurisdiction?

Screenshot from fourth video clip focusing on the defense attorney's papers. 

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