Lopez pool plan is making waves

October 21, 2022
Kathryn Wheeler

An $8 million campaign to build a swimming pool on Lopez Island for its 2,800 residents has brought out donors, supporters—and opponents.

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‘Most special place’ for salmon, native culture gains protection with San Juan land bank purchase

February 25, 2022
Gretchen K. Wing

A pristine site along the southeastern shore of Lopez Island with deep history for Coast Salish peoples has gained protection from development with approval of its purchase by the San Juan County Land Bank.

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Paradise full: Finding space to rest at Lopez Island cemetery

January 18, 2022
Gretchen K. Wing

At 140 years old, pastorally situated Lopez Union Cemetery is encountering high demand — but running out of space. Managers are looking to ground-penetrating radar technology to help determine just how much space is available in the nonprofit cemetery, and considering other options as well.

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Talking turkey in the San Juans: strutting the line between welcome wildlife and pest

December 10, 2021
Gretchen K. Wing

The American wild turkey, introduced for hunting in the San Juan Islands around 1980, seems to have learned well how to live near humans — to the extent of unwelcome encroachment, in the minds of some. Given mixed responses in human-dominated environs, what makes a wild creature a charming neighbor to some and a pest to others?

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Fictional whale tale underscores real-life role of kinship in orcas’ survival

October 21, 2021
Gretchen K. Wing

In the newly published novel “Beyond the Human Realm,” Lopez Island scientist and author Gene Helfman draws on the real-life intelligence of orcas in a fictional story that affirms that preservation of the species requires the adoption of an approach characterized by kinship.

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Author of ‘Orca’ has a message for the Northwest: hope has a price tag

September 14, 2021
Gretchen K. Wing

The new book Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home begins in crisis, as author Lynda Mapes tells the gut-wrenching story of Tahlequah (J35), the mother orca who in 2018 carried her dead baby around for 17 days. Mapes will speak Sept. 18 at the Lopez Island Library.

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No new reservations, for now: Living and working around ferry delays, cancellations in the San Juans

September 2, 2021
Heather Spaulding

This year’s peak-season summer Washington State Ferries sailing schedule has been plagued by delayed and canceled sailings, some due to a shortage of crew and some to mechanical problems. For the long Labor Day weekend, things are not looking much brighter for the San Juan Islands runs.

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Have enough water? San Juan prepares to find out, with USGS study

July 21, 2021
Heather Spaulding

A study funded by the state legislature and the U.S. Geological Survey will address a major barrier in both predicting San Juan County’s future water needs and managing current systems: the capacity of wells in the county is unknown.

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From the Editor’s Desk / Readers respond to why the San Juans need a rescue tug

March 19, 2021
Mike Sato

Lopez Island readers of the article “Rescue tug stationed in islands is best bet to avoid oil spills in San Juan-Gulf waters, study says” responded to the article’s posting in Lopez Rocks.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2021

San Juan school districts face big budget shortfalls due to levy cap

January 7, 2021
Hayley Day

A law to make state education funding more equitable has had the opposite effect in the San Juan Islands. While San Juan property owners are paying more in state education taxes, less funding is going towards local schools.

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photo: Taimi Dunn Gorman © 2020

As wildfire smoke endangers health indoors and out, questions arise about government response

September 21, 2020
Mara Kardas-Nelson / InvestigateWest
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photo: Amy Nelson © 2022
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