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Serving Orcas, Lopez and San Juan County

NEWS | Sea View Theatre is saved by community [3] SPORTS | Viking sports [4] COMMENTARY |Wondering about Watoto, too [7] COMMUNITY | Orcas School students stand up for the environment [11]

WEDNESDAY, April 16, 2014  VOL. 47, NO. 16  75¢ 

Senators advocate for Nunez to stay by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter

Benjamin Nunez Marquez has spent the last five years not knowing when he will be deported from the country. He lives a life of uncertainty, but with a recent letter signed by U.S. senators and state representatives one thing is clear; there are people fighting on his behalf. On April 2, a letter was sent to the Secretary of Homeland Security asking for another yearlong stay for Marquez, known to his friends as Nunez. The document was signed by Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Rick Larsen and Rep. Jim McDermott. The letter stated, “The abundant correspondence from constituents indicates strong community sup-

port for Mr. Marquez in his home community of Orcas Island … We also understand that Mr. Marquez fulfills a vital role at a local saw mill that provides important services and economic activity to the local region.” Nunez, shown left, works as a sawyer for Jack and Jan Helsell of Westsound Lumber Company on Orcas Island. He has worked for them for nearly 15 years. In 2008, while taking his ailing 80-yearold neighbor Natalie White to the hospital in Anacortes, Nunez was picked up by Customs and Border Patrol. Lacking proper immigration documentation, he was ordered to be deported. After receiving a year-long stay last year, Nunez is now again facing deportation this spring. Over the last several years, Nunez’s employers, Jack and Jan Helsell hired lawyers and applied for those temporary year-long extensions on the deportation so that they could find someone to fill his position at the mill. But the Helsells have yet to find a replacement. The letter also states this prob-

Cali Bagby/Staff photo

Home and Garden 2014 Inside this edition


‘Drift cards’ found washing ashore by CALI BAGBY Staff reporter

Last week Sukima Hampton was walking on a friend’s private beach west of Eastsound when she was horrified to find a pink card with the words “This could be oil” printed on it. “I was disturbed,” she said. “It really rattled my cage.” The card was one of 650 “drift cards” launched along Salish Sea oil tanker routes by conservation groups from Washington and British Columbia to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The launching of the cards, organized by Friends of the San Juans in Washington state and Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a study mapping the path an oil spill might take in the Salish Sea. The cards were dropped at two locations: off Turn Point, near Stuart Island, where Haro

Strait intersects with Boundary Pass, and near Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait. This research responds to a sharp increase in fossil fuel export projects proposed in British Columbia and Washington state. The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham and Kinder Morgan’s increase in tar-sands shipping from Vancouver and other projects will add an additional 2,620 ship visits per year to the already crowded waters of the Salish Sea, making this region one of North America’s busiest fossil fuel shipping corridors. “The increased risk of a major oil spill in the Salish Sea is real,” said Stephanie Buffum, director of Friends of the San Juans. “Anyone with a cultural, environmental or economic interest in our region should  get engaged with Coast Guard rule making; familiarize themselves with effects of cargo traveling through our waters; and ask decision makers to ensure

diluted bitumen (oil sand) is classified as a petroleum product that is taxed to fund oil spill clean-up efforts.” Members of the public are asked to get involved in the research project by staying on the lookout for the 4 by 6-inch pink drift cards on local shorelines. Found cards can be reported online at the interactive website:  You can also call Friends of the San Juans at 378-2319  or email They ask that you give the date, time, contact information and an “as accurate as possible” location description of your find. You can also send a picture of yourself with the card. As of Friday, March 28, four days into the study, 45 cards have been reported from Lummi Island, Wash., to Victoria, British Columbia. Cards from Monday’s drop off at Bird Rocks


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Islands' Sounder, April 16, 2014  

April 16, 2014 edition of the Islands' Sounder

Islands' Sounder, April 16, 2014  

April 16, 2014 edition of the Islands' Sounder