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Winter Newsletter                                                                                           January 1, 2017

Minutes
Reserve
 DocksContractor Checklist
Cell,etc
Thanks

Minutes, Annual Meeting and Board. Since 2010, OIC has published Annual Meeting and Board meeting minutes under “Minutes” on the web-site www.obstructionisland.org.  These minutes have been public postings open to any internet reader world-wide. Members have objected that level of transparency may be inappropriate.  To accommodate this concern the web-site has been updated. 

The category “Minutes” is still available as a menu item on the web-site Home page, but clicking on it will take the viewer to the log-in screen for the private/member’s only section of the site.  The log-in will access a private menu that includes Annual Meeting and Board Minutes.  By clicking on these items you will find the 2016 Annual Meeting minutes and the minutes for all Board meetings since the last Annual Meeting. 

The private section menu also includes the Archive. Through Archive you can access the Annual Meeting and Board minutes for past years, approximately a dozen years, as well as older Newsletters.  When you get into the Archive, check the Categories box on the right and a menu for Archive items will show up.

OIC Reserve Fund.  We will soon be receiving a letter from Jennifer Heiss, Treasurer, about the issue of OIC reserve funds or more specifically the interface of reserve funds and island infrastructure.   This topic surfaced at the 2016 Annual Meeting and Jennifer has been following up on that discussion with help of Marc Frazer. 

At the same time, we have learned that a recent statute enacted by the Washington state legislature also speaks to a requirement that sufficient reserve funds be maintained to protect community stakeholders' interest in infrastructure.  The legislature was reacting to instances in a climate of rapid real estate development that suggest fraud. An example would be where those buying into a housing development or condo were promised infrastructure (rec centers, swimming pools, tennis courts) that was either not delivered upon or funded in such a way that it could be maintained.  It was such disappointments that the legislature was seeking to forestall. 

OIC of course has not pulled the infrastructure rug out from under anyone.  If anything we have been able to develop an valuable ensemble of supports--docks, buoys, water system, utilities--for the access to and the viability of life on the island.  And we have accomplished this at reasonably modest expense.  The letter from Jennifer will be a first step in assessing the value of these assets and determining where we want to move in terms of the reserve.  As she points out, it is likely we have managed our assets in a way that will exempt us from coverage by the state statute.

North Dock Stairs. Three years ago an island work party nailed asphalt shingles to the North Dock Stairs to prevent slipping.  Unfortunately the materials did not last as long as we had hoped, and Alan Weldin replaced the treads with more robust shingle.  The job entailed pulling all the old nails and installing the new stair tread.  In the interim also, the life ring on the North Dock rail had broken loose and was salvaged by Beth Maloney from the bay.  Alan secured the life ring and holder to the North Dock and replaced the plastic ties holding the life rings on the other two docks with stainless steel bolts.

Contractor Checklist. The Contractor Checklist, a guide for islanders and contractors preparing to build on the island, has been updated and posted to the web-site under the Home paged menu item “Building/Contractor Checklist.”  This is a public site but the text includes three links to information currently posted more privately: the Contractor Reference Worksheet and maps for the water system shut-off and wellhead protection zones.  Clicking on these links will take you to the log-in screen and from there to a private page with the worksheet and water system maps. 

The Contractor Reference Worksheet is being set up to maintain a list of contractors who have worked on the island as a reference for any islander planning a building project.  If you have had a contractor work for you that you would refer to islanders as a resource, please contact jhart@lclark.edu and I will add your information to the worksheet.

The worksheet will include work-site by lot number, the lot owner, date, and the contractor phone number.  The worksheet is designed as reference only, not a recommendation; an island neighbor planning a project may call you for further information. 

For any islander planning a building project we can also send a hard-copy of the Contractor Checklist and the water system maps that show shut-off valves and wellhead protection zone. 

Internet Speed and Cell Phone Reception. The Summer Newsletter reported increased internet and cell reception from the OPALCO/Rock Island transmitter on Lopez Island.  This covered the west side of Obstruction andthe westerly Peavine shore.  Over the fall another transmitter has been activated on the north end of Blakely and this has measurably increased internet speeds and cell phone reception all the way along the eastern shore of the island.  Even areas along the north shore that showed “no service” a few months ago register a signal though weaker than along the west and east shores.  The north shore signal may increase however if a rumored transmitter is installed on Orcas near Deer Point.

The transmitters broadcast both internet andcell phone signals.  Receiving the internet signal requires the BEC 4G/LTE Wireless Broadband Router from Rock Island, available through their Eastsound office, 360-378-5884., Speed varies with location but reported speeds have been running anywhere from 20MB to 85MB (compared to the 1MB signal from Century Link). The cell phone signal is T-Mobile and registers on phones with a T-Mobile SIM card throughout most of the island, both along the waterfront and in the interior. Such cell phone service is available through T-Mobile itself or other carriers that can use T-Mobile Sim cards like Consumer Cellular or an unlocked AT&T. A stable and accessible cell phone signal on the island is especially critical for safety and emergency communications. 

A grateful community. . . . 2016 has been particularly challenging for those who maintain the desal plant and water-system.  The nine-year old plant, now with six thousand hours, has required pump rebuilds and other parts replacements, work that has consumed many hours and a lot of energy over the summer and fall.  A special thanks to Norton Smallwood, Alan Weldin, Harvey Smith, and Deborah Helleson for their service during this trying period.

Thanks also to Alan Weldin for treads on the North Dock stairs and for securing the life rings on the North Dock and the others.

Thanks to Beth Maloney for salvaging the North Dock life ring. . .

and to Marc Frazer for help on reserve fund and Karin Berghoefer for advising David Rolph in developing the Contractor Checklist.

We owe a lot to volunteers, both these and others whose acts are no less significant for escaping notice; they do so much to maintain the island.  Thanks to all.

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