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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Ferry delays are beyond inconvenience, islanders stress at community meeting

January 14, 2022
Heather Spaulding

Islanders gave Washington State Ferries staff an earful at a community meeting about how disruptions on the San Juan-Anacortes ferry route hamper access to healthcare, education, jobs, supplies and families. With COVID-19, freezing weather and crew shortages, ferry riders have endured a chaotic year and want to know what the state will do to improve the situation.

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2021: A look back at some stories from the first full year of Salish Current

December 31, 2021
Salish Current editors

2021 was a year like no other, with themes such as public health vis-à-vis COVID-19 and opioid addiction; social justice in the courts, the arts, housing and policing; and climate change and natural resources including water rights management. Salish Current offers a look back via articles published during the nonprofit newsroom’s first full year.

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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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‘Where’s the ferry?’ islanders ask as crew shortages stymie scheduled sailings

October 12, 2021
Heather Spaulding

In San Juan County, where ferry service is an integral part of the state highway system, recent cancellations of ferry sailings related to crew shortages have resulted in some residents unable to get home, to work or to doctor appointments, and have delayed arrival of groceries and other vital supplies.

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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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Community Voices / San Juan County to vote on climate, environment, equity, justice amendments to county charter

August 12, 2021
Kevin Ranker

Priority for climate and environment; justice, equity and inclusion; and an emphasis on citizen engagement are driving proposals the San Juan County Charter Review Commission has advanced for the November ballot. The commission is continuing its work and plans to submit additional propositions for the 2022 ballot.

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photo: Elisa Claassen © 2021

Water supply on Guemes: an island paradise faces challenges

July 27, 2021
Elisa Claassen

More people and rising sea levels mean continuously increasing freshwater challenges on Guemes Island, compelling action on the part of individuals and possibly government — to ensure enough water supply to meet demand.

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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: Monika Wieland Shields © 2015

Rescue tug stationed in islands is best bet to avoid oil spills in San Juan – Gulf waters, study says

March 12, 2021
Kimberly Cauvel

With increased vessel traffic around the San Juan Islands, some worry that the risk of oil spills may be rising as well. A new study makes the case that an emergency response tug stationed in the islands would be money well-spent.

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Local food banks have been addressing a hunger crisis — even before COVID

February 5, 2021
Heather Spaulding

Even before the pandemic lockdowns caused unemployment to skyrocket, food banks worked to help millions of Americans who were not able to feed their families.

 

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photo: Port of Vancouver © 2020

Proposed Roberts Bank terminal will add cargo capacity — but at what cost to Salish Sea

August 25, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

A lesser-known yet major Canadian infrastructure project could bring major changes to shipping traffic in waters shared by British Columbia and Washington. If constructed, Roberts Bank Terminal 2, would enable Canada to move another 2.4 million shipping containers per year through its southernmost terminal about 1 mile from the Washington state border.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

‘A very complex issue’: Ramel gives update on San Juan Islands ferry delays

August 5, 2020
Mike Sato

The state-run ferry system linking Salish Sea communities has remained on a three-vessel winter schedule due to lower travel volume. As vehicle traffic has increased over the summer and loading and unloading times have taken longer, the result has been hour-long delays by the afternoon and evening.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Necessary travel: ferries’ winter schedule in summer brings travel delays for locals, visitors in San Juans

July 3, 2020
Genevieve Iverson

Currently, several COVID-shutdown related factors require WSF to continue running on a limited schedule even as summer travel increases, creating travel delays and raising as-yet unanswerable questions about when things may change.

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