Spirits soar in song and dance; La Danse et La Musique
Wolverines on a roll; seven game, six wins PAGE 9
Three of a kind: Of waterfront and property tax levies, here are our thoughts PAGE 7
The 75¢ Wednesday, February 5, 2014 Vol. 107 Issue 6
of the San Juan Islands
Angst over EMS levy
Potential 43 percent levy increase raises spending questions
By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter
Amid all the facts and figures bandied about by proponents and opponents concerning the San Juan EMS levy on the Feb. 11 ballot, one that is a bit of a stretch is that this levy is a “renewal” of the current six-year levy. That fact and other complaints have raised the level of skepticism about asking voters to support a permanent levy that is a 42-percent increase over the 6-year levy enacted in 2010. The skepticism is heightened, according to Frank Mulcahy, when information is scanty and no statement in opposition is included in the online voters’ guide. “Any issue should have statements for and against,” Mulcahy said. “We don’t get enough information in the voter’s guide and I’m surprised that there aren’t statements opposed.” The current levy, at a rate of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, does not expire until the end of 2016. The proposed levy, at 50 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed valuation, would replace the current six-year levy with a permanent levy at the maximum allowed by state law for EMS levies. See LEVY, Page 4
Tesoro blast lawsuit settled
Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen
Seahawks fans at Haley’s Bait Shop & Grill celebrate the home team’s 43-8 Super Bowl, victory Sunday, Feb. 2.
Knock down, drag out... now what?
Workers begin the tear down and removal of the fireravaged Spring Street Landing Building, Jan. 29, on the Friday Harbor waterfront.
By Steve Wehrly
The lawsuit against the Tesoro Corporation by families of seven workers killed in the 2010 Anacortes refinery explosion was settled in December for $39 million. On Jan. 29, the federal Chemical Safety Board issued a draft report detailing extensive lapses in safety by Tesoro, by industry support groups such as the American Petroleum Institute and by state and federal regulatory agencies. According to the report, the explosion and fire at the Tesoro See SETTLED, Page 4
What’s left of Spring Street Landing, former home of Downriggers, is fast disappearing into large dumpsters being trucked to a mainland dump in Whatcom County. Michael E. McCutcheon estimates it will take his crew from MEM Enterprises about two weeks to remove the smoky debris from last year’s fire. The contract amount with the Port is about $72,000. Very little of the debris was salvageable, though a few large laminated beams and a few doors are being set aside for Port use or sale,
Journal photo / Steve Wehrly
said McCutcheon’s foreman. McCutcheon said the possible presence of asbestos fireproofing insulation and lead based paint made it necessary to send his crew to a hazardous materials class and hire Walker Specialty Construction of Snohomish to make sure Department of Labor & Industries hazardous materials handling and disposal regulations are complied
with. Rain on the first day of demolition kept the debris wet and the hazardous dust at a minimum. Meanwhile, Port Commission Chairman Greg Hertel reports that talks with insurer Enduris Washington continue. “The port and our insurer are a couple of hundred thousands dollars apart” See WHAT?, Page 4
2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association
Super Bowl Champs The Journal congratulates the Seattle Seahawks, winners of the NFC and Super Bowl XLVIII