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SOUNDER THE ISLANDS’
NEWS | Property value up on Orcas  COMMUNITY | Santa ships coming soon  COMMENTARY | Airport looks at $6 million project 
Serving Orcas, Lopez and San Juan County
WEDNESDAY, December 4, 2013 VOL. 46, NO. 49 75¢
Why medical air care raises concern
It’s a dog’s life
by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter
Adam Farish photo
Orcas Island dog Leo enjoyed a stunning sunset on Turtleback Mountain last week. Read about ways to support the Orcas Animal Shelter this holiday season on page 3.
Orcas Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien made it clear to islanders that his main priority is the safety of islanders, and having numerous means of emergency transports help to make that possible. “We want to use all the tools in the toolbox for you,” said O’Brien at a Nov. 26 community forum to provide islanders with accurate information regarding EMS transport and to listen to concerns. “We want to have the most options so we can care for you the best we can.” Lately concerns have been directed to the two air emergency providers, Airlift Northwest and Island Air Ambulance, which both provide air transport for county patients, but island residents are wondering: what is happening with the two entities and what exactly is the difference between them? O’Brien recognized at the gathering that there is confusion regarding the services of Airlift Northwest and Island Air, but he made it clear that OIFR always has and always will make medical
Kokanee salmon returning to Moran Creek by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter
The Fish Hatchery in Moran State Park had a busy night last week. Hatchery staff helped sixty-two pairs of kokanee salmon spawn in one evening at Moran Creek. “This is the first kokanee hatchery spawning. It’s the first time sufficient numbers of kokanee have returned so that eggs could be collected for the hatchery; and, left for the natural spawning process.,” said Michel Vekved, of Friends of Moran, in a recent press release. Fish Hatchery operations have taken place at Cascade Lake intermittently since the 1960s. Nearly 72,000 gallons of water travel from Moran Creek through the hatchery and into
Cascade lake in a 24 hour period. In 2007 the structure next to Moran Creek was converted into the current hatchery. Friends of Moran raised funding for the structure including tanks, rearing troughs, plumbing components, viewing tank and more. The hatchery is accessible for viewing by park visitors. In Moran Creek in 2009 there was a record number of kokanee, which are basically sockeye salmon, which over time have evolved to be fresh water fish. It was then estimated that the creek had between 300-400 kokanee. However, last year only 17 fish were found in the creek. “There were so few that we let them spawn naturally, but we could see there was evidence of spawning,” said Mike O’Connell, a fish biologist for Long Live the Kings, who is on an
annual contract to work at the Moran hatchery. Long Live the Kings is an organization dedicated to restoring wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest. This year, O’Connell estimates there are probably several hundred fish at the creek. The spawning process involves hatchery staff combining the male sperm with the female eggs and washing them with cold water to help solidify the process. Vekved estimates that three pounds of salmon eggs were collected. The eggs are placed into the troughs inside the hatchery where they will grow and be monitored by park staff and volunteers. There will also be eggs raised at the Long Live the
SEE SALMON, PAGE 5
transportation decisions based on patients’ immediate medical needs. Other transports OIFR deploys include the Sheriff ’s boat, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security, Vessel Assist, Washington State Ferries and private vehicles. O’Brien said that year to date OIFR has used Airlift 123 times, Island Air 40 times, the ferry four times, and twice they have used the U.S. Navy Helicopter and the U.S. Coast Guard boat.
Transports at a glance
Airlift Northwest is the University of Washingtonaffiliated emergency medical transport that uses mainly helicopters to fly critical-care patients directly to Seattle and Bellingham hospitals. The AirCare membership for transport by Airlift Northwest helicopter costs $79 a year in Washington. Airlift
SEE MEDICAL, PAGE 6
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