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Around Town

Pain, strain, dark family secret explored in ‘Other Desert Cities’

Island Scene

IMA exhibit features best of local art under one roof PAGE 9


Guest Column

For those in need of help to put food on the table, tough time get even tougher in winter months PAGE 7


The 75¢ Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Vol. 106 Issue 47

of the San Juan Islands

State to probe telecom debacle

Crew at fault in ferry collision

Ultilities commission to investigate service outgage, response

Journal staff report

A Washington State Ferries investigative panel is recommending expanded training and more clearly defined roles on the bridge in the wake of a mid-September collision in which a super class ferry struck and caused irreparable damage to a motor yacht near the Lopez Island ferry terminal. The board of inquiry, convened by WSF on the day of the crash, determined that human error and miscommunication between the captain and second mate contributed to the collision, and that it could have been avoided. The

Journal staff report

The Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission announced Saturday that it will open an investigation into the CenturyLink voice and data service outage that affected the San Juan Islands for 10 days. “I am extremely pleased that the Utilities and Transportation Commission will do a formal investigation on the C entur yLink outage, as it will allow us to understand exactly the cause and response to this crisis,” state Senator Kevin Kevin Ranker Ranker said. The commission is the state agency in charge of regulating the rates and services of telephone companies operating in Washington, as well as promoting a competitive telecommunications marketplace. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the See DEBACLE, Page 5

Journal photo /Steve Wehrly

CenturyLink Northwest Region President Brian Stading holds a section of underwater fiber-optic cable, similar to the one that runs between Lopez and San Juan islands, and that was severed Nov. 5.

Link restored; what next? Local leaders press for better reliability in outage aftermath By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter

Ten days after an underwater fiber-optic cable between Lopez Island and San Juan Island was severed, telecommunications and internet services in the San Juan Islands were restored before noon on Friday, Nov. 15, according to CenturyLink At noon on Friday, Nov. 15, CenturyLink Northwest Region President Brian Stading informed the Journal, “Our fiber has been repaired and is now fully operational as of this morning. We are making arrangements to install microwave radios for diversity purposes even after the fiber is restored.” Stading also said in an e-mail to the Journal, “We fully appreciate the impact this has had on customers. The company is evaluating service

credit policies.” Stading pointed out the day before that “some customers may have service level agreements as part of their business contracts.” But, Stading concluded, “We won’t be responding to speculation, rumors or extortion.” Stading and many of the two-dozen company employees and three dozen contractors who have been in the islands for up to nine days will depart knowing that communications over the holidays have been restored, and that business communications during the busy holiday shopping season and beyond should be unimpaired. “They’re the best in the world,” said Stading of the engineers, technicians, divers and marine specialists who succeeded in restoring 911 emergency service and other voice and internet linkages to the 621 square miles and 15,800 people of San Juan County. The recent communication outage is not a firstever occurrence. Fourteen years ago, the previous See NEXT?, Page 4

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


Real Esta te

in the

San Juan

Islands November




Published the Journal of the San Juanthird Wednesday of each mon Islands, th by the Islands’ Sounder and Islan ds’ Weekly

Real Estate in the San Juan Islands

See inside for October’s real estate sales, listings and statistics.

Journal of the San Juans, November 20, 2013