Next up: King Sisters Preserve, ‘Know Your Island Walk’ series page 9
‘Purple Haze’, revived; Hendrix Tribute, the sequel
Functions and values of wetlands now in jeopardy; CAO compromise goes too far page 7
The 75¢ Wednesday, August 15, 2012 Vol. 105 Issue 33
of the San Juan Islands
Thin win for sales tax hike
Measure nudges up local mark to 8.1 percent department has been one of several agencies firmly planted in the San Juan County voters last cross-hairs of the county budget week handed their local govern- team, tasked with having to balment a life-line of new revenue in ance a 2013 budget with a projected shortfall of $800,000 the form of a three tenths on the revenue side of the of 1 percent increase in county’s primary funding the local sales tax. mechanism, its general If you’re doing the fund. math, that’s .003, or 30 Totaling $16.8 million cents on a $100 purchase, in 2013, tentatively, the with most groceries, progeneral fund pays the fessional services -- like bulk of county day-to-day doctors and lawyers -- and expenses, but with roughprescription medication excluded. Sounder file photo / Cali Bagby ly half restricted solely for specific programs or The sale-tax measure, Sheriff Rob Nou targeted personnel. Of Proposition 1 on the balthe half considered “dislot, slipped under the primaryelection wire with a victory in one cretionary”, county Administrator of the lightest elections in recent See Prop. 1, Page 4 memory. With 600 ballots or so left to count, the measure drew 53 percent of 5,884 ballots tallied as of Aug. 9, or 2,788 votes, with voter-turnout hovering just a notch above 47 percent. Only 312 votes separated failure from success, but after two tallies, with 4,258 ballots counted on election night and another 1,226 the next, the margin was large enough and voting-trend consistent enough for Auditor Milene Henley, manager of county Elections, to declare Prop. 1 a winner. (As of Monday, “Yes” votes outnumbered “No” votes by 311, with 55 left to count, with voter Fair Guide 2012 turnout at 51 percent.) What to do, who to see, where Sheriff Rob Nou was elated, if it’s at; you’ll find all that and not surprised, by the result. more inside, in the Journal’s “Surprised? I don’t know that annual guide to the Fair. I’d say that,” Nou said. “I think it’s more like relieved, and very grateful.” In recent weeks, the Sheriff ’s
By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor
Photo courtesy of the Center for Whale Research
First-time mother J-37 swims alongside her newborn calf, J-49, in the waters off the westside of San Juan Island, Aug. 6. At 11 years of age, J-37 is believed to be the youngest Southern Resident killer whale to have given birth in 36 years of research.
Baby ‘J’ bump makes 86
Lineage of newest orca is among resident population’s most reproductively active By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor
The Southern resident killer whales got a bit of a boost last week from one of its youngest members, who landed in the record books as a result. Though only 11 1/2 years of age, J-37 earns the distinction as the youngest killer whale to give birth during the 36 years that the Center for Whale Research has been keeping tabs on the three closely related groups of orcas, which together make up the Southern resident population. With the addition of the newborn, J-49, the population now numbers 86.
“She’s a first-time mom and she’s also the youngest whale to have given birth that we know of,” Erin Heydenreich, senior staff member at the San Juan Islandbased research center, said of J-37. The mother and newborn were traveling the waters of Haro Strait when the two were first spotted together, on Aug. 6. Given the size of the calf—particularly small—and its appearance—a floppy dorsal fin and fetal folds (creases) still visible—Heydenreich said that J-49 was definitely “very, very new” at that time. The three pods — called “residents” because they spend a majority of the year here — are consid-
ered endangered by the U.S. and Canada. The population, believed to have been historically in the high 100s, was decimated by captures for marine parks, which ended in the 1970s, followed by pollution and declining salmon runs. The Center’s annual survey of Southern residents is used by the federal government as the population’s official count. The whales’ population plummeted to 71 by 1973, climbed to 99 in 1995, then plummeted to 79 six years later. The population rebounded to 80 in 2002, 85 in 2004 and 89 in 2005, and has seesawed around 88 since then. The whales were declared endangered by the U.S. and Canada in 2005. In theory, the odds of J-49 surviving into adulthood are even. Scientists say the mortality rate for See Baby j, Page 4
2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association