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Get the skinny on tall tales about local wildlife PAGE 10

Island Scene

Guest Column

Home for the holiday? Thanksgiving offers bounty of activities

Assessor in error on state law; ‘profit’ not the key for qualifying for farm tax-break program PAGE 9



The 75¢ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Vol. 106 Issue 46

of the San Juan Islands

Ghatan, Schwinge post election wins SJ voters back I-522, measure fails statewide

Journal photo /Scott Herning

Equipped with a massive crane, a barge in San Juan Channel acts as a platform as CenturyLink workers, and divers, labor into the night, Saturday, to locate and repair a failed fiber optic cable linking Lopez and San Juan islands.

Felled by fiber-optic failure Breakdown in cable connection exposes islands’ vulnerability By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

CenturyLink officials on Monday said that telephone and DSL internet service has been restored to about 60 percent of normal capacity using OPALCO transmitting equipment, and that all emergency 911 service is back on-line. Faith in modern telecommunications in the San Juan Islands was shaken last week for the better part of five days, but telecom provider CenturyLink and Orcas Power and Light Cooperative teamed up to restore some services to island residents by Saturday,

and are “working around the clock,” according to CenturyLink, to restore full service to all islands. CenturyLink general manager for Western Washington Tim Grigar said the company would “fully restore communications as quickly as possible. We appreciate our customers’ patience while we work to resolve this issue.” That patience was wearing thin on Thursday and Friday of last week, as many local businesses, hotels and restaurants switched to a “cash or check only” policy. Several banks were limited to check cashing, though Wells Fargo cash machines were back in operation on Saturday. CenturyLink, which recently acquired Qwest Communications in a multi-billion dollar purchase, again emphasized that its crews are working around the clock and working with additional resources supplied by OPALCO to restore

service. Verizon Wireless meanwhile reported “fully” restoring cell phone service to the islands over the weekend. The restoration work included raising a six-foot microwave dish 140 feet up onto towers and lifting a microwave dish to the top of the Mt. Constitution tower to an elevation of nearly 2,400 feet. Mike Green, President of Rock Island Technology, a reseller of CenturyLink internet access, said his company was communicating with CenturyLink, and had several times last week offered to deploy its own “Ubiquiti Air Fiber” technology, which Green said could be deployed “within one day” and would restore “100 percent DSL internet service” to Rock Island customers, but that CenturyLink had not accepted the offer. See FAILURE, Page 4

By Steve Wehrly Journal Reporter

Mike Ahrenius won reelection to the Port of Friday Harbor Commission with 83.5 percent of 2,869 votes cast, the largest election margin ever in a contested port commission race. Ahrenius commented on the election: “I believe this is a vote of confidence in everyone at the Port of Friday Harbor. I sincerely thank you for your support.” Amending the county charter was rejected by 66 percent of county voters, leaving intact the requirement that voting districts can only be altered by a Charter Review Commission, not by the initiative process. In the only Friday Harbor Town Council race with more than one competitor, Farhad Ghatan won the election with 335 votes, or 57 percent of ballots cast. Matt Shildneck, his opponent, garnered 253 votes, or 43 percent. Ghatan thanked the voters and said he was thrilled to join the town council. “I appreciate that the voters selected me to represent them on the town council,” Ghatan said. “This was my first

2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

run for office and I learned that I have to consider other people’s opinions, which I will.” Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher and council member Anna Maria de Freitas were unopposed. See ELECTION, Page 4

Early deadline The advertising deadline for the edition of Thanksgiving week is Nov. 18

Journal of the San Juans, November 13, 2013  
Journal of the San Juans, November 13, 2013  

November 13, 2013 edition of the Journal of the San Juans