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SOUNDER THE ISLANDS’
Serving Orcas, Lopez and San Juan County
WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2013 VOL. 46, NO. 14 75¢
Library looks at its growing needs
Spring has sprung
by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter
Maria Armstrong/Contributed photo
Above: A mother cow with her calf take a break from their busy day on a Lopez Island farm. Bob Phalan/Contributed photo
Left: Baby birds, a sign of spring, are ready to be fed.
The library is going platinum. Not because it has the hottest new song on the charts. It’s because this year marks its 20-year anniversary in the building Orcas Island’s avid readers call home. The problem is that it’s a home with too many bodies and not enough seats. “The library is really a center for the community,” said Alan Lichter, library board president. “It’s the one real democratic institution that people can use when they need and there are no fees involved.” After looking through surveys, observation, community feedback and a needs assessment last summer, library staff concluded that patrons needed more space. The list included a independent and group study area, quiet reading room, moveable shelves to allow for more space and a place for young adults. The current “meeting” room houses 30 people, whereas the new addition
County council candidate conversations Final installment of 3-part series by SOUNDER STAFF
The revamped three-person council was approved by the voters in November. The three members will be elected county-wide from “residency districts” comprising San Juan, Orcas and Lopez and nearby smaller islands in an April 23 election. The election will be certified on May 7, and the new council members will be seated on May 13. Council member Bob Jarman and former council member Lovel Pratt are running for the San Juan Island District 1 position.
Bob Jarman Sounder: What is the single most critical issue facing county residents? BJ: Our county residents are concerned about being able to make a living, provide for their families, and hang on to their property. Our
economy in the islands is going to be directly affected by the implementation of the Critical Area Ordinance and Shoreline Management Plan. Hardest hit will be the building trades, our small farmers and property owners. We were able to push the implementation of the CAO forward to December, giving us time to hear the results of the lawsuits before the GMA Board. Adjustments and compromises need to be made so that our economy can grow stronger going forward with as few government encumbrances as possible, while maintaining our county’s rural character. Our county council needs to find ways to promote commerce and sustainable jobs through technology, health care, the building trades, tourism, real estate sales, and agriculture so that our county residents can afford to live in these beautiful islands. Sounder: What issues or projects would you take a leadership role on if elected? BJ: I am currently a member of the Building
Advisory Committee, and if re-elected, would like to remain on that committee. We are identifying and reviewing our outdated codes and codes that can be simplified, thereby streamlining the process of getting a building/land use permit. For example, “One stop shopping” (being able to go to one place without having to go to several different agencies). The committee is looking at better cooperation between our building and planning department staff to meet the needs of our citizens. I want to work on boosting the morale of our county employees by building trust with the council through openness, honesty and mutual respect, which will in turn create better customer service. We want to set up office hours on Orcas and Lopez so those islanders’ needs can be met more easily. We’re also in the process of setting up a committee to hear complaints from builders and home/land owners regarding the
SEE CANDIDATES, PAGE 8
is projected to fit 75 people. No designs have been made final, but Library Director Phil Heikkinen said they are looking at an addition of around 1,800 square feet in the northwest sector of the library grounds. Early projection of the cost is estimated to be around $700,000. The new space plan allows the library to stay open during construction. “We’re hoping to have a shovel in the ground by summer,” Lichter said. To raise funds for such an expansion the library is looking for private donations only. “The tax burden is tough for people to deal with right now,” Heikkinen said. Ten years ago and then five years ago, the library staff considered the possibility of an expansion. A lack of funds, the economy crashing and a failed levy lift stalled the idea throughout the years. To get a sense of potential donors
SEE LIBRARY, PAGE 7
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