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SOUND OF MUSIC Sing along to this classic musical at Orcas Center Page 9
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Serving Orcas, Lopez and San Juan County
WEDNESDAY, February 13, 2013 VOL. 46, NO. 7 75¢
A winner is crowned by COLLEEN SMITH ARMSTRONG Editor/Publisher
Colleen Smith Armstrong/staff photo
Pianist Kellen Comrie, far right, is this year’s Orcas Has Talent winner. He also competed with his band, Allmost Canadian. His band members Lisa Carter (left) and Julia Bailey were the first to congratulate him.
Nine hopeful performers sang, told jokes, performed magic, played music and danced their way across the Orcas Stage on Saturday night for Orcas Has Talent. But there could be only one winner. Sixteen-year-old Kellen Comrie wowed the audience with his own compositions on the piano and went home with first place and the prize of $500. Comrie has been playing the piano since he was a young child. He is also a drummer in the band Allmost Canadian. “You speak music and that language will you take you around the world,” said Judge Susan Osborn. “We hope it will eventually take you back to us on Orcas.” According to organizers, winning is only a small part of the Orcas Has Talent experience. “It’s all about supporting artists who are brave enough to make their way to the stage,” said Judge Gene Nery. Nery joined Osborn and Bob Shipstad as judges for this year’s competition. It’s a job they take very seriously. They all spent time mentoring each contestant before the final show. All net proceeds from the show go to Orcas Island Prevention Coalition, which makes it even more meaningful to performers, judges and organizers. “This is our community show, it belongs to our
community,” said Donna Laslo, event producer. “OIPC’s over-arching goal is prevention. The show represents kids and adults in a fun, healthy family show for a great cause.” Other competitors were Allmost Canadian, comedian Conrad Wrobel, singing and dancing group the M&Ms (Cameryn Thompson, Sabrina Bailey and Paris Wilson, who won the junior competition), classical music singer Cali Bagby, saxophone player Gregory Books, singer Yuko Horikawa, magician Matthew Laslo-White and singer Jake Perrine. During intermission Stormy Hildreth impressed islanders with her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Followed by the screening of the flash mob dance video at Island Market. Allmost Canadian, the M&Ms, Bagby, Laslo-White, Perrine and Comrie all made it to the second round. After more performances, it was then narrowed down to Bagby, Laslo-White and Comrie. Before the winner was announced, Nery and Osborn sang their own version of “That’s What Friends Are For” with cameos from some of the competitors. Behind the scenes, island youth got the opportunity to get involved. Jessica Gudgell shadowed Laslo as an event producer for her second year. There were also 22 OIPC students as well as other
SEE OHT, PAGE 6
Exchange burns down in major blaze by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter
Smoke billowed into the sky. Fire trucks sped down Orcas Road with lights flashing. At the Exchange, islanders looked on in disbelief and shock as the building burned to the ground. On Saturday, Feb. 9, at 4:48 p.m., Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Captain Bob Nutt was driving by the Orcas Transfer Station in a tanker truck and noticed smoke and flames coming from the Exchange. Nutt called for additional help and began firefighting operations. He said there was “significant fire involvement in the heart of the Exchange complex with flames extending to the trees in the area.”
Forty-five OIFR members and 10 units responded to the incident that lasted over five hours. Water for the fire was transported from a pond about half a mile away from the fire. There were no injuries reported. San Juan County Fire Marshal Paul Turner has concluded that the fire was accidental. “It is presumed that someone took a burning object and put it in a trash can,” said Turner about how the fire was started. The fire comes after the Exchange, a popular re-use facility, made headlines with its grassroots movement to take local control of solid waste on the island. Orcas Recycling Services, which runs the Exchange, received a
SEE FIRE, PAGE 6
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Cali Bagby/staff photo
Firefighter Doug Maya (left) and Assistant Chief Mik Preysz at the fire.
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