Welcome to Friday Harbor Now!
Hi! Welcome to Friday Harbor Now! Events posted on this page are archived as soon as they are over, so there is room for current events and news. If you missed something, you can find it on the Search page. And for even more information and photos you can follow us on Facebook, we are on there as FRIDAY HARBOR. Thanks for visiting, and have a great day!
San Juan Island Grange #966 Marijuana Moratorium Letter
Letter to the Editor from SJI Grange # 966: At its January 7th, 2015 business meeting San Juan Island Grange #966 resolved to oppose the Proposed Moratorium on Marijuana Production. Even though the San Juan County Council has withdrawn the proposal, San Juan Island Grange #966 would like to make clear its position towards the regulation of marijuana production in San Juan County.
The Grange Movement in the United States is rich with the traditions and struggles of farm families and rural farm communities. The local, state, and national Granges have always, and continue to, advocate politically on issues important to rural families, including the right to farm, good government, land use policy, rural access to new technologies and vital services, job development, and strong rural economies. Part of the mission of San Juan Island Grange #966 is “to support a resilient community of growers, makers, and keepers” and “to foster social and political engagement.”
In 2012 the voters of San Juan County overwhelmingly endorsed the passage of I-502 Legalization of Marijuana by the largest majority in Washington State. A small number of local farmers, entrepreneurs, and county residents have endeavored in good faith to comply with all existing local and state rules, laws, and regulations pertaining to developing their farms and farm products. The proposed San Juan County moratorium on marijuana production would have placed new and unnecessary restrictions on growers without substantiating an imminent emergency. Continued here...
Community Seahawks Pride Photo!
Mike Scott has organized a group photo op! Here's the info he sent in: Are you interested in getting decked out in Blue and Green and gathering for a LARGE community Seahawks group photo? Below the Legion (Port parking lot) in front of the retaining wall will serve well as a nice neutral colored backdrop.
I will take the pictures and email them or tag people on Facebook. I will be down there Saturday, January 31 @ 1pm, with my bucket truck and my camera. There is enough room in that parking area for hundreds of people, bring your flags, banners, posters, etc down and be in the largest community group photo this year, maybe in a long time! Go Hawks! Join this event on Facebook.
Original Song by Local Band, The Jesus Chords. Go Hawks!
Native Plant Sale and Expo, March 21st
01/23/15 Press Release: The Master Gardener Foundation and the San Juan Islands Conservation District bring you the 2015 Annual Native Plant Sale and Expo. Pre-ordered plants pick-up will be March 21st on San Juan, Lopez and Orcas Islands from 9:00AM- 12:00PM.
Join Us for the Expo from 9-noon!
Plants native to the Pacific Northwest are beautiful in the garden and landscape, are beneficial for wildlife, and improve habitat and plant diversity. Bitter cherry, golden currant, vine maple, red stem ceanothus and evergreen huckleberry are just some of trees and shrubs to choose from.
Island resident and animal lover, Suzanne Bryner, was traveling through California during the holidays when she came across little Bunny wandering near the railroad tracks; cold, emaciated and frightened. She was traveling with her own dog, “Foxy”, who isn’t good with other dogs, so she had no choice but to leave Bunny at the local dog pound in Modesto where she would be kept for seven days and then euthanized if not claimed or adopted.
Suzanne didn’t forget about Bunny…she made contact with a group called, “Getting Em’ Home Transport” and with the help of several of the organization’s volunteers, over the course of three days, Bunny made her way up the I-5 corridor, driven in three or four hour shifts and finally delivered to Everett where Suzanne picked her up and brought her to the island.Bunny is currently at the Animal Shelter in Friday Harbor, awaiting extensive surgery on her ears, which are full of benign tumors that are beginning to impact her respiratory system. Continued here...
Meet Your Volunteer Firefighter - Mike MacLellan
Press Release from San Juan Island Fire & Rescue: If you ask any little boy what he wants to be when he grows up, many times the answer will be, "I want to be a firefighter when I grow up!" As far back as Mike remembers, he has always wanted to be a firefighter.
When he lived in Folsom, California, one had to go to school to be a paid firefighter, which did not fit Mike's life style at the time. When he came back to the Island, after being away for some twenty years, Vern Long, the then town of Friday Harbor's Fire Cheif, asked Mike to volunteer and join the Town Fire Department and Mike jumped at the chance. He was with the Town of Friday Harbor Fire Dept. for three years, transferring to San Juan Island Fire Rescue at its inception in 2006.
Mike founded and works at MJM Home Services. He is a liscensed contractor and can turn his hand to almost any job that needs doing. His wife, Elizabeth, is a member of SJIFR's Logistics team. They have two dogs. Volunteering is Mike's joy. He loves helping people. Continued here...
Pet of The Week
Grief Support GroupPress Release: Hospice of San Juan is again offering its Grief Support Group to anyone in the community who is grieving the loss of a loved one. This professionally-facilitated group offers participants an opportunity to share their experiences and to acquire tools and resources for coping with their personal grief.
Registration is open for the six week session of the 2015 Grief Support Group, which begins February 17th and continues through March 24th. The group, which meets Tuesdays from 4-5:30 p.m., is facilitated by Lenore Bayuk, MN, ACNS. Lenore has been a Psychosocial Nurse Specialist for 40 years and a nurse for 45 years and has worked with loss and grief in her own life and professionally as a nurse and psychotherapist.
Contact Lenore Bayuk at 360-378-3636, ext. 1, to register. Early registration is advised as the number of participants is limited. Continued here...
San Juan Island Real Estate Market Summary
Article by Merri Ann Simonson, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc: In reviewing the year-end results, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market on San Juan Island per the Real Market data report was $119,077,974, which reflects stable and controlled growth. We enjoyed an increase in volume of 34.5% over year ending 2013 when the volume was $88,640,111.
On San Juan Island we closed an average of 24 transactions per month which is up from the 17 per month in 2013 or a 41% increase. Total County volume in 2014 was $228,363,943 as compared to $171,347,017 in 2013. Overall, the County’s volume increased by 33.5%. The County closed an average of 49 transactions per month as compared to the 38 per month in 2013 or a 29% increase.
To recap year-end volumes, San Juan’s volume was up 34.5%, Orcas was up 43%, Lopez was up 11% and the non-ferry serviced islands and Shaw were up 27%. It is a pleasure to report that our real estate market is continuing to recover with land sales lagging somewhat. Continued here...
Vehicle Reservations System Update
Press Release from It was a great first week for our vehicle reservations system on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route - more than 5,000 reservations were made and 96.8 percent of these were redeemed! Thanks to our customers and employees alike for your contributions for a positive start to vehicle reservations in the islands. Please go online to save your spot for upcoming vehicle travel on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands, Anacortes/Sidney, BC and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes. More here...
Friday Harbor Film Festival Tuesday Night Film Series
In case you missed the 2014 Friday Harbor Film Festival, which focused on award-winning films to entertain, inspire and enlighten us about the the people, cultures and environment of the Pacific Rim, now you can enjoy the audience favorite screenings every other Tuesday night throughout the Winter & Spring. The films will be shown every 1st and 3rd Tuesday.
Feb. 17 Bidder 70
March 3 No
March 17 Running from Crazy More here...
2015 Call For SculpturesSan Juan Islands Sculpture Park: Our 20 acre outdoor (originated in 1998) park is inviting sculptors to submit recent digital photos (max 2 exhibits and max 2 photos per work) to be reviewed by our blind selection process jury of sculpture professionals and academics. Selections will be based solely on pictures of your work as no other information is provided to jurors.
Since becoming an independent non-profit organization in 2012 we have sold more sculptures on behalf of artists in 2013 and 2014 than in all prior years of park operation combined! Our visitor count in 2014 was well over 30,000 people. All sculptures have artist name, piece name, advertised price and our phone number which receives calls 24 / 7.
For submission instructions and complete details please visit our website at www.SJIsculpturepark.com. We are the #3 rated visitor site in the USA in Conde Nast 2010 and #4 Island in the world by Trip Advisor last year. The park is open year round. More here...
$4 Million Marina Reconstruction Project Complete
The Port’s multi-million dollar marina project has wrapped up. In October 2014 Manson Construction mobilized into the marina with their huge crane and made short work of removing old creosote pilings and wooden floats throughout the marina.
The Harbormaster relocated vessels to accommodate the major renovations and no vessels were turned away for guest moorage during the holidays. Manson Construction replaced the inner marina with new concrete floats, steel pilings and upgraded utilities. An integral part of this project was the partnership between the Port and Islander’s Bank for providing the financial assistance through a General Obligation Bond.
Port Commissioners Mike Ahrenius, Barbara Marrett and Greg Hertel invite everyone to come down to the marina on Wednesday, January 28th for a ribbon cutting celebration to commemorate the completion of the Marina Reconstruction Project. Members of the public and Port staff will meet in front of the San Juan Island Yacht Club at 3pm for a brief tour and light refreshments. More here...
Bob Jarman Elected Council Chair
Press Release from San Juan County website: At its regular meeting on January 12, the San Juan County selected District One Council Member Bob Jarman to preside over its meetings for the 2015 legislative year.
District Three Council Member Jamie Stephens will serve as vice-chair. Outgoing Chair Rick Hughes (District Two) followed a recent tradition by passing along a wearable paper target to the new chair.
The Chair of the Council sets the meeting agenda and presides over regular and special sessions of the meetings Councils.Contributed photo above: Newly elected Council Chair Bob Jarman (right) with Council Vice-Chair Jamie Stephens. More here...
Annual Homeless Count January 29
Press Release: San Juan County’s 2015 Point in Time Homeless Count will be conducted on Thursday, January 29. Count organizers and volunteers work with local family resource centers, food banks, churches, healthcare providers, senior centers, libraries, the sheriff’s office, and many other community support service providers to conduct the count. The count, initiated by the State of Washington in 2005 (RCW43.185C.030), is conducted annually at the end of January. Agencies not open on the day of the count are authorized to conduct the survey on their business day closest to January 29.
Last year’s San Juan County count identified 65 individuals, 44 of whom were living out of doors, in vehicles, or in abandoned buildings. The remaining 21 people were staying in temporary, unstable living arrangements, often with friends or family. Results of previous counts can be viewed at: www.commerce.wa.gov/Programs/housing/Homeless/Pages/Annual-Point-In-Time-Count.aspxIf you have questions or would like to help with the count, please contact Melanie Rollins, San Juan County Affordable Housing Coordinator, Health & Community Services, 378-4474, firstname.lastname@example.org
Illuminated: Glass by William Morris Opens Valentines Day at San Juan Islands Museum of Art
Press Release from the San Juans Islands Museum of Art: Powerful Sculptures in Glass by a Contemporary Master. For more than twenty-five years, in a career that brought him to the forefront of the modern Studio Glass movement, William Morris perfected a repertoire of techniques that virtually no other American glass artist can equal. Internationally acclaimed for his compelling work with glass, William Morris approached the demands of glassblowing and glass sculpting with an experimental eye and an innovative hand. For Morris, glass is an endlessly intriguing material, fragile yet timeless, preserving the spontaneity of the creative moment unlike any other medium. William Morris artworks in glass are widely admired by artists, sought by collectors, and praised by critics. (From wmorris.com)
The doors to IMA open on February 14 with Morris’ sculptural glass completed between 1998 and 2013. Morris' beautiful work speaks of human origins, myth, ancestry, and ancient civilizations. Symbolizing a harmony between humanity and nature, the artist’s extraordinary technical skill combines with a love for cultural history to create a body of work respected worldwide. More here...
Small Workshop, Big Talent
Press Release: Write: Doe Bay at Doe Bay Resort, Orcas Island, February 5-8, 2015. Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island is known for its rustic charm, world class farm-to-table café and its annual music festival, Doe Bay Fest. For the past two and a half years, something else has grown on the resort’s pristine 38-acres: a boutique writing workshop drawing first-class talent to aspiring and seasoned writers. And, like the resort’s annual music festival, tickets always sell out.
Event creators Jesse Michener and Jennifer Furber met at Doe Bay Fest in 2012 and put their talents to work crafting a workshop that’s as heavy on inspiration as it is on technique. Michener is a nationally-published photographer based in Tacoma and Furber writes a popular blog chronicling her life on San Juan Island with her family.New York Times bestselling author of Two Kisses for Maddy, and a prior Write presenter, Matt Logelin admits, “I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Write: Doe Bay. I have written, and I continue to write, but I don’t like to think of myself as a writer. I’d never before attended any sort of writer’s retreat/workshop, and I’d long ago decided they weren’t for me. Continued here...
Historic Preservation Review Board Members Needed
Press Release from Sandy Strehlou Historic Preservation Coordinator, Town of Friday Harbor: The Town of Friday Harbor is looking for two people to fill immediate vacancies on the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). The best candidates are people who appreciate Friday Harbor’s history and historic sites, and are willing contribute two evenings a month to help preserve Friday Harbor’s rural character. This time around at least one of the positions must be filled by a Friday Harbor resident.
The five unpaid citizen board members who make up the HPRB, are appointed by the mayor to help to guide the Town and the owners of historic properties toward the common goal of sensitive preservation of historic buildings for contemporary use. It is nuanced work that also requires a willingness to collaborate and the desire to serve the community. And above all, the HPRB is the advocate for historic buildings that have no voice of their own, except in our memories. Continued here...
Gov. Inslee Proposes Free Ferry Rides for Electric Vehicles
Governor Inslee has released his proposed 2015-2017 budget, which includes a proposal to allow electric vehicles to travel for free on ferries and HOV lanes. The budget also includes funding for a new Olympic Class 144-car ferry.
From the HeraldNet: “Electric vehicles are here and they’re here to stay,” said Charles Knutson, the governor’s transportation adviser. “We want to see them … promoted in Washington state.” Giving drivers of electric vehicles a break on ferry fares and traveling in high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes are the ideas eliciting the sharpest rebukes from lawmakers of both parties.
“If a vehicle is driving on the ferry, regardless of how it is powered, it requires space,” said Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton. “Why would you exempt a vehicle because of its power source and require other Washingtonians to pay their bill? That’s not fair.” Leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees seem certain that particular proposal won’t be in any funding package embraced by the Legislature.
”“I don’t see where you get the votes for that,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who chairs the House panel. “With all the different constituencies that you need to bring to the table to pass a package, this doesn’t bring a lot of people to the table.” More from HeraldNet...
Join the Friday Harbor Sailing Club in 2015!
Article by Celina Wright: Would you like to join a fun and friendly boating social and activities club here in Friday Harbor? The Friday Harbor Sailing Club is a mixed group of both sail and powerboat enthusiasts that organizes, promotes and encourages amateur sailing, sailboat racing and powerboat activities. All boating enthusiasts are welcome.
Consider coming to the next meeting and get a feel for the club and its members. The monthly potluck dinner meetings are held on every second Tuesday of the month and begin at 5:45 pm at the Grange Hall 152 1st St N, Friday Harbor. If you like boating and having fun, you will be glad you looked up Friday Harbor Sailing Club at http://www.fridayharborsailing.com/
Please call Don at (360) 378-4590 if you would like to attend as a guest and to get details. At this month’s meeting on Tuesday, January 13th, the speaker is renowned sailor Barbara Marrett who will present her lecture “The Best of Polynesia”.
Left to right new 2015 Officers and Committee Chairs: Jo King, Pat Megaw, Susie Hendrix (hiding in back), Ann Jarrell, Bill Severson, Laura Severson, Chris Wilson, Rebecca Hughes, Susan Eberhard, Theresa Pratt, Terry Lush, Howard Lewis and on the far right, Commodore Don Hendrix. Photo by Tim Dustrude. More here...
Tufted Puffins Endangered Listing Moving Forward
Press Release from The SeaDoc Society: In December, 2014, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife formally recommended adding tufted puffins to the State’s list of endangered species. Public comments will be taken at the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s meeting in Olympia on February 6 & 7, 2015. Comments may be submitted online until midnight on January 14, 2015. The Commission will consider adopting or amending the regulations in their March 20 & 21 meeting in Moses Lake.
Once again we want to say thank you to the generous donors who made it possible for SeaDoc to fund the crucial Status Review that set this process in motion. It’s been a long time coming, but Washington State is in the final stage of deciding whether or not to list the Tufted puffin as a state endangered species. Tufted puffins used to breed at 43 different nesting colonies in Washington State. Now they are found at only 19, and the state’s population is 1/10th of what it was in 1984.
Tufted puffins have been candidates for listing in Washington State since 1998. But you can’t move from candidate to listed species without a formal scientific status review. Since the Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't have the resources to write the status review, nothing happened for a long time. Continued here...
Small Works, Vendor and Professional Services Rosters
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: As of January 1, 2015, the Town of Friday Harbor will participate in a shared online database for our Small Public Works Roster, Vendor Roster and Consultant (A&E) Roster. These rosters are maintained by the not-for-profit Municipal Research & Services Center (MRSC) and are used by various participating local agencies throughout the State of Washington.
The Town will no longer maintain rosters separate from those provided by MRSC. Businesses interested in working with the Town using a roster contracting process must register at www.mrscrosters.org and select the Town of Friday Harbor in your application. Town’s adopted procedures and guidelines are available at the Town website at www.fridayharbor.org for any of the following rosters.
Small Public Works Roster: The Town operates water, sewer, stormwater, street, and refuse collection systems. The Small Works Roster is an alternative bid process for public works projects up to the amount of $300,000. Town Resolution No. 2070 describes the bidding process used in conjunction with this Roster. Continued here...
Check out this awesome time lapse video made by Chris Teren of Teren Photography on Dec. 27th. Sunset and clouds out at Cattle Point, San Juan Island. 1 hour of time, compressed into 30 seconds of zen.
Seasonal service adjustments and the start of vehicle reservations to the San Juan Islands usher in the 2015 Washington State Ferries winter sailing schedule beginning Sunday, Dec. 28. Highlights of the 2015 winter sailing schedule, in effect through March 21, include: Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia; As with previous winters, service to Sidney, BC is suspended. Anacortes/San Juan Islands; As with previous winters, three vessels will operate on weekends. Four vessels will remain in service on weekdays. An additional Friday 2:35 p.m. sailing from Anacortes will serve Orcas Island. The Friday 4:50 p.m. sailing from Anacortes will only stop at Friday Harbor.
Vehicle reservations for Jan. 5 through Mar. 21 are now available on the San Juan Island routes at Save a Spot. Currently, thirty percent of standard vehicle space is available to reserve on each sailing. An additional thirty percent of space will be available two weeks prior to each sailing, and the final thirty percent will be available 2 days prior to each sailing. Continued here...
Two Weeks, Two Strandings
Thanks to Monika Wieland of Orca Watcher for this post: On December 4th came the sad news that a dead killer whale had washed up near Comox, British Columbia. It took a few hours before we knew the identity of the whale, and sadly we learned it was J32 Rhapsody, an 18 year-old female in J-Pod. Often, when a whale dies, we may not know for weeks or months. For Southern Residents, who are always in such tight family groups, our best evidence of a whale death is typically the rest of its family returning to inland without it. It's unusual for us to know right when a whale dies, and even rarer for the body to be recovered. A large group of whales, presumably J-Pod, had been seen near Comox on December 3rd. When she was first seen floating off the beach on the morning of December 4th, Rhapsody had probably been dead less than 24 hours.It's sad when we lose any whale, but particularly when it's a breeding-age female, the age/sex class so critical if this population is going to recover. Earlier this season, rumors were running rampant that Rhapsody might be pregnant, because she looked particularly robust in several breach photos. Continued here...
San Juan Preservation Trust 2014 Year End Update
: In 2014, we have permanently protected an additional seven properties, including 230 acres and 7,146 feet of shoreline on four islands. These include 95 acres of working farmland (on Lopez and San Juan); 60 acres of shoreline salmon and forage fish habitat (on Stuart Island); and 75 acres in three forested parcels that connect and expand previously-protected Preservation Trust lands (on Orcas, San Juan and Lopez).
We are actively working on a number of other acquisition projects on Waldron, Orcas, Blakely, Sinclair, San Juan, Shaw and Henry Island (among others). These include the “quiet phase” of a potential capital campaign on San Juan, along with two neighborhood conservation easement projects on Waldron and Orcas: as many important island landscapes have been subdivided into multiple ownership, we have been commissioned by the State of Washington to develop a formal process for engaging several landowners at once to protect their adjoining properties with a common conservation easement. Continued here...
Island Arts League Donation to IMA
Press Release from the San Juans Islands Museum of Art : San Juan Islands Museum of Art (IMA) is the recipient of nearly $5,000 from the Island Arts League (IAL), which discontinued operations this year after 18 years. IAL offered local classes in pottery, wood, textiles and painting. The donated funds are earmarked to help support the museum’s Family Art Days, summertime outdoor art classes taught by local artists, and art programs at San Juan Island School District public schools.
Operation of the IAL’s Art Raffle booth at the San Juan County Fair was also handed over to IMA. The fair booth raises money for scholarships to graduating Friday Harbor High School seniors who show promise in the arts.
The donation was given in honor of IAL founders Teri Cooter, Trudy Dallas, Nancy Maron, Joe Miller, Pat O’Shea, and Gloria Upper. “The Island Arts League is happy to contribute to the children and families of San Juan Island in an effort to broaden participation in the arts,” said IAL president Diane Martindale. More here...
Preliminary Plans for Development of Sunshine Alley Now Available for Review
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Plans and concept summary on Town website. The Town has unveiled preliminary plans for urban improvements to the Sunshine Alley area. This is the result of months of research and collaboration by Town staff, the Public, Sunshine Alley stakeholders, and the Beckwith Consulting Group. The process included interviews with property and business owners, focus group sessions, public design charrettes, surveys, and open houses to determine the best uses and improvements for the area.
The preliminary plans include a concept summary displaying possible improvements for the alleyway. In addition to expanding the Brickworks area with a performance stage and seating, an outdoor dining area, and conversion of existing private cottages to retail, the potential improvements suggest adding an outdoor dining deck off of Haley’s, a clock tower on the public restrooms, walls of greenery, freestanding kinetic art, and light standards throughout. The three major gateways to the alley—First Street, Nichols Street, and the walkway from Spring Street—would be highlighted with pavement accents, overhead lighting, murals, and plantings. Continued here...
Prince of the Rain Realm
Saturday, February 7th starting at 7:30 pm at The San Juan Community Theatre. San Juan Island’s first and only professional dance company, La Danse De La Mer presents its first full length contemporary ballet, featuring professional dancers and was written and choreographed by La Danse de la Mer’s director Lina Downes,
Prince of the Rain Realm is an original full length "adult fairy tale"* contemporary ballet, danced by contemporary ballet company and is set to music from Pink Floyd to Mozart. La Danse De La Mer features world-touring professional principal dancers Danny Boulet and Sylvain Boulet, contemporary dancer/ballerina Caitlin Ross, and contemporary dancer Kerry Ratza. Also featured are dancers Julie Hagn, Stephen Moore, Michelle Randall, Ian Randall, Joely Loucks, and Middle Eastern dancers Amani and Ferah Bakuy.
Michael Blue is assistant Choreographer and there is a full cast of veteran actors onstage to round out this beautiful and imaginative production. "This ballet is all about what makes 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' so wonderful, with a 'good Prince' vs. a 'Dark Lord' theme. If you like Tolkien’s 'Ring', 'Harry Potter' or even Wagner’s 'Ring', you’ll love this fantastical production,” says Lina Downes, Choreographer and Director of La Danse De La Mer. Continued here...
2015 Drive-In at the Fairgrounds Movie Survey!
The San Juan County Fair Board is conducting a survey to choose the final 4 movies that will be added to the 2015 Drive in at the Fairgrounds Movie line-up. If you would like to take the survey the link is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QPBBXGB. Hurry! The survey ends January, 31st. More here...
AgGuild Year End Letter
Press Release from The San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild: Dear Friends, We come to the end of the year with gratitude and a little awe as we look back at 2014. We accomplished a great deal— all made possible by the help and support of this community. In summary we:
Town of Friday Harbor Receives $500,000 Energy Grant from Washington State Department of Commerce
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Town of Friday Harbor is pleased to announce that it has received a grant award in the amount of $500,000 from the State Department of Commerce for Energy Efficiency Projects on Town owned real properties. The Town made application for the grants in October of this year and was one of 70 submittals from around the State of Washington. Of those applications, 28 were awarded funding for a total of $8.6 million. In total, 21 local jurisdictions, two State agencies and five higher education institutions received monies.The Town will be responsible for a $50,000 match bringing the total budget to $550,000. The match portion can be repaid over five years after completion of the improvements. The grant will facilitate a number of projects including, in part, new VFD pumps, lighting, insulation and heat pumps at the Town’s Water filtration plant; tank mixers and lighting at the Water Pumphouse; heat pumps, insulation, variable speed pumps and new controls at the Sewer Treatment Plant; and new indoor and outdoor lighting, HVAC and duct work at Town Hall. Continued here...
We have compiled a pretty good collection of cool old postcards of Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor and the San Juan Island islands, see them all here...
Town of Friday Harbor Receives Clean Audit from State for 14th Consecutive Year
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Washington State Auditor’s office has completed the 2013 review of Friday Harbor’s financial records and has given the Town a clean audit report. This is the 14th consecutive year the Town has received a clean audit. The State auditors conduct annual reviews of each of the Town’s fund accounts including Current, Special, Debt Service, Proprietary and Fiduciary Funds.
Mayor Carrie Lacher and Town Administrator Duncan Wilson credit former Finance Director and Treasurer Wendy Picinich and current Finance Director and Treasurer Kelle Wilson for the continued positive audit reviews. “I am extremely pleased that the Auditor has once again confirmed the outstanding work of the Town Finance Department,” said Mayor Carrie Lacher. Continued here...
Blair Avenue Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Photos
Photo: Mayor Carrie Lacher is joined Wednesday, December 17, by those involved in and affected by the Blair Avenue improvement project as she cuts the ribbon to officially mark the substantial completion of the street renovation. L-R: Pete Dawson, Tia’s Tacos; Project Contractor Mike Carlson, Mike Carlson Enterprises; Mayor Carrie Lacher; Town Councilman Steve Hushebeck; TIB Project Engineer Greg Armstrong; Town Public Works Director Wayne Haefele; Foreman Brandon Baney, Mike Carlson Enterprises; Project Engineer Tamara Nack, Gray & Osborne; Town Administrator Duncan Wilson. Photo by Matt Pranger. Continued here...
Salmon Recovery Projects Awarded $18 Million in Grants
OLYMPIA – Organizations in 29 counties were given $18 million in grants to restore salmon habitat and conserve pristine areas, helping bring salmon back from the brink of extinction, the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board recently announced. Projects in San Juan County to receive $307,270.
In addition, the salmon board awarded $250,000 to replace culverts on salmon-bearing streams damaged by the Carlton Complex fire and subsequent flooding this past summer near Twisp. The money will be used to construct two additional bridges on Frazer Creek. Previously, the salmon board and Washington Department of Transportation funded replacement of five other bridges in the area.
“Salmon are important to Washington because they support thousands of jobs in Washington - fishing, seafood processing, boat sales and repair, tourism and more,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “When we restore land and water for salmon we also are helping our communities. We get less flooding, cleaner water and better beaches. We also make sure that our grandchildren will be able to catch a fish or enjoy watching the return of wild salmon.” Continued here...
Toxic Creosote Pilings Removed on Blakely Island
FRIENDS of the San Juans Press Release: Twenty-eight creosote pilings were recently removed from the waters of Thatcher Bay on Blakely Island to improve water quality for fish and other marine organisms. While creosote treated wood was commonly used in marine structures of the past, it is now known that creosote contains more than 50 carcinogens to humans and is also toxic to marine fish and other wildlife. Since creosote pilings can continue to leach chemicals throughout their lifetimes, efforts are underway to remove unnecessary and unwanted creosote structures including pilings and derelict docks.
The Blakely piling removal was just one component of extensive habitat restoration efforts conducted in Thatcher Bay and on its beaches by FRIENDS of the San Juans, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group and the private landowner. Continued here...
Town Arts Commission Call for Applications
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Mayor Carrie Lacher is appointing a seven member volunteer commission of San Juan Island residents to advise the Town Council on the cultivation, selection, acquisition and placement of public art. The commissioners are to represent the interests of the Town, the community and local artists. Those with experience, background or involvement with visual, performing or literary art should provide a letter of interest. Applicants may also choose to include examples of their art or experience. Initial appointments will be for one to three years, commencing on January 1, 2015.In addition, a non voting member age 16 to 19 will be appointed for a one year term to be served October to September each year, with the initial appointee serving a partial term January to October 2015. Application review will continue until all positions are filled, but a first review will occur on December 17. For specifics on the responsibilities of the commission, applicants are advised to review the ordinance and policies posted under “What’s New” at the Town of Friday Harbor web site. Continued here...
Jim Meredith Answers the Final Call
Press Release from SJI National Historical Park: One of San Juan Island National Historical Park's most long-term and beloved volunteers, Jim Meredith, died on Sunday, December 7 in Friday Harbor. Jim Meredith, a World War II veteran (he served in southern France following the landings there) was a constant in San Juan National Historical Park's living history program, portraying a British Royal Marine or a U.S. Army soldier here for nearly 40 years. His first volunteer job with the park was promoting the park while riding the ferries from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.
The park celebrated Jim's service last December by naming him the "Volunteer of the Century." There isn't anything Jim did not know about the British Royal Marines--their history, lore and uniform, to the smallest detail. In view of his already long years of service at the time, the Royal Marine headquarters in Whitehall, London, England, in 1998 declared him (along with his long-time colleague Fred Henley, with Jim in photo at lower right) an honorary member of their corps. Continued here...
Island Rec’s Revenue Reversal
: San Juan Island Park and Recreation District, locally known as Island Rec, was established in 1984 to provide parks and recreation for San Juan Islanders. Island Rec’s primary funding is limited to a six year levy. Every six years Island Rec must seek a new levy to continue to operate. In 2009 voters approved a 17 cent per year levy for Island Rec, designed to last for 6 years. Ten cents of this levy was for Island Rec’s operations, and seven cents went directly to the school district to pay for high school sports. Without this seven cents of support, high school sports would have to be eliminated due to serious shortfalls within the school budget.
What Happened?Island Rec and the San Juan Island School District are understandably disappointed that our County Assessor and the WA. State Auditor did not properly apply a very unique levy law that pertains to Park and Recreation Districts and property assessments. This error resulted in payments totaling over $377,000 over a three year period, unauthorized under this law, to be collected for Island Rec. Forty one percent (41%) of these dollars were destined to go for high school sports. Continued here...
Bulkhead Replacement Project
Press Release from t Port of Friday Harbor: The first step to rebuild the Spring Street Landing site is scheduled to begin December 1st. The Bulkhead Reconstruction Project will involve local contractor Mike Carlson Enterprises, who submitted the lowest bid at $1,673,069 dollars. This project will include replacement of the old deteriorated bulkhead with embossed concrete on the south side and similar stone for the remainder of the seawall exterior.
The Port’s contractor will need to take advantage of low tides, which at this time of year occur at night. The Port will work to minimize disruptions along the waterfront when night work is necessary. For questions on the project contact Joe Wheeler by email email@example.com. More Here...
Who is Interested in Property in the San Juan Islands?
Article by Merri Ann Simonson, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc: Over the last twenty years, the “typical” buyer profile has not changed. The majorities of the new-comers are between the ages of 45-65 and interested in purchasing a second home or property for their future retirement. Since the recession, we have not had many investors in our market due to lack of appreciation but that will change with more market recovery.
Looking at the chart, 76% percent of the buyers live in Washington. This falls in line with the premise that most second home owners desire to purchase a home within 2-3 hours from their primary residence. The out of state buyer’s percentage was 24% with California contributing the most. California was actually down a few percentages from the last time I created this chart (click to enlarge) back in 2008.
State Transportation Improvement Board Awards New Grant to Friday Harbor
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) announced their annual grant awards today and the Town of Friday Harbor will be the recipient of $800,000 for the reconstruction of the first phase of Tucker Avenue. The TIB is a state organization funded by a portion of the gas tax charged on each gallon of gasoline sold within Washington. Tucker Avenue is an arterial street and is one of the highest ranked projects on the Town Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan.
Town staff worked with the Engineering firm of Gray and Osborne to secure the funding. This is the third year in a row that the Town has received road construction monies, having previously been awarded grants in 2012 and 2013 that funded over 80% of the Blair Avenue project and Mullis sidewalk project.
The project plan submitted for Tucker includes improvements from the intersection with Guard Street down the hill to Harbor Avenue, just past the Town wastewater treatment facility. The total project cost for this phase is estimated at $1.1 million dollars of which $800,000 would come from the TIB. The Town anticipates paying their portion of project expenses from the recently adopted Transportation Benefit District sales tax of two-tenths of one-percent that will start in April of 2015. Annual revenues from this new tax are anticipated to be $240,000. Continued here...
Citizens Respond to Call for Food Bank Assistance
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Town of Friday Harbor utility customers have certainly shown their holiday spirit by contributing to the Harbor Life Ring program to benefit the Friday Harbor Food Bank this year. The Town distributed a letter in the October utility billing statement informing customers that any donations they made this month would be contributed to the Food Bank. In addition, the Town stepped up and agreed to match the first $1,000 donated. Including the Town match, the Food Bank will be receiving at least $3132, as contributions continue to arrive at Town Hall.
“The response from the citizens has been outstanding” said Mayor Carrie Lacher. “Each year I am heartened by the generosity in Friday Harbor”. Bill Cumming, director of the Food Bank was also excited to hear the news. “I cannot thank this community enough for once again supporting our mission here” he said. “On just one day last week we supported 91 families, and the need just keeps increasing. These donations will assure a happy holiday season for a great number of people in need.” Continued here...
Ferry Vehicle Reservation System Website
Washington State Ferries has created an informational website called Save a Spot which is about the upcoming vehicle reservation system that is scheduled to begin January 5, 2015. The Save A Spot online reservation system will make it easy to book vehicle reservations to and from the San Juan Islands. Currently, reservations are offered on international sailings to Sidney, B.C., and on the Port Townsend/Coupeville route.
Starting December 2, 2014, vehicle reservations will be accepted for winter season travel to and from the San Juan Islands. Washington State Ferries will not charge a fee to make a reservation. However, a no-show fee may be charged when a reservation is booked, but not used. More here...
Check out the Friday Harbor Ferry Cam here...
A little History: English Camp
A little history from the NPS: When Great Britain and the United States in 1859 agreed to a joint occupation of San Juan Island until the water boundary between the two nations could be settled, it was decided that camps would be located on opposite ends of the island.
Shortly after the British and American governments affirmed Lieutenant General Winfield Scott’s proposal to jointly occupy San Juan Island, the Royal Navy started looking for a home for its British Royal Marine Light Infantry contingent. Capt. James Prevost, commander of H.M.S. Satellite, selected the site on Garrison Bay, 15 miles northwest of American Camp, from among seven finalists.
Roche described the ground as "well-sheltered, has a good supply of water and grass, and is capable of affording maneuvering ground for any number of men that are likely to be required in that locality..." He added that a trail, 11 miles long, led from this area to the Hudson’s Bay farm at Bellevue. Continued here...
Town Council Forms Arts Commission to Advise on Public Art in the Town of Friday Harbor
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Town Council expressed their commitment to promoting and fostering visual, performing, and literary arts in the community with last week’s creation of a Friday Harbor Arts Commission.
Mayor Carrie Lacher will appoint a seven-member volunteer commission of San Juan Island residents to advise the Town Council on the cultivation, selection, acquisition and placement of public art. "I am thrilled to be implementing this long overdue advisory committee that will help to ensure the arts have an active and prominent role in our town," said the Mayor, adding, “Local artwork helps to bring meaning to public spaces, and art of all kinds can invigorate a community while reflecting our quality of life.”
The commission will include at least one council member, two representatives of the visual arts and one representative of the performing arts. Initial appointments will be for one to three years, commencing on January 1, 2015. In addition, a non-voting member age 16 to 19 will be appointed for a one year term to be served October to September each year. Town Administrator Duncan Wilson noted, “This is an excellent opportunity for a college-bound student to demonstrate their commitment to community service.” Continued here...
Look Out for Owls!
In the past few weeks we have received six owls that have been hit by cars. They have ranged in size from a tiny Saw-whet to larger Barn and Barred Owls. Two of them had minor injuries and were able to be released within a day or two, but others were more seriously hurt and will need longer term care.
Why so many owls? At this time of year it is dark when most people are driving home from work, or to and from evening activities, so there is a lot of traffic on the roads when owls are hunting, resulting in many being struck by vehicles. Owls may be too focused on a mouse moving in the grass to notice the oncoming vehicle, or they can be dazzled and disoriented by bright headlights. So please - LOOK OUT FOR OWLS when you are driving in the dark. Continued here...
Library Writes New Chapter in Convenience
San Juan Island Library: San Juan Island Library has launched its new collection of Playaway audiobooks for adults. The Playaway is the first self-playing digital audio book. Half the size of a deck of cards, Playaway is the simplest way to listen to a book on the go. With every title recorded in HD Audio, Playaway’s audio quality is unsurpassed. Using clearly marked buttons, Playaway gives listeners the ability to move back and forth within or between chapters and alter the speed of a narrator’s voice. It even has an automatic bookmark feature that remembers where you left off. Additionally, Playaway has a universal headphone jack that works with almost any type of headphone or mobility accessory.
“Playaway’s simple functionality and immediate usability separate it from other audio book formats,” said Laurie Orton, library director. “With Playaway, our patrons can enjoy best-selling content with first-rate digital audio.” The San Juan Island Library collection includes fiction titles: A Perfect Life, by Danielle Steel, The Heist, by Daniel Silva and The Fortune Hunter, by Daisy Goodwin. And non-fiction titles: The Map Thief, by Michael Blanding, Killing Patton, by Bill O’Reilly and The Underground Girls of Kabul, by Jenny Nordberg. Continued here...
San Juan County – a Third World Country?
Letter to the Editor from Merri Ann Simonson, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc: I have never thought of San Juan County as being as remote as a Third World Country although many of my friends tell me they are leaving for “America” when they go off island. I guess I was shocked and appalled to find out that the level of Internet service that is offered in our communities is less than most Third World Countries. I thought the poor service was just at my house or my computer.
As I was personally uninformed, I decided to write this article as a layperson so that the options for our Internet service could be easily understood. I have purposefully not used acronyms and the technical terms. I hope that this article won’t make the technical persons in the industry LOL, too much.
As I understand, there are several avenues for consumers to obtain Internet service in our County and they include the following:
The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest
Press Release from The SeaDoc Society: SeaDoc's new book The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, written by Audrey DeLella Benedict and Joe Gaydos, won't be out for a few months (March 31, 2015) but it is available now for pre-order. Call or head on down to your local independent bookstore and ask them to pre-order you a copy of The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, ISBN 978-1-57061-985-4. With over 250 stunning photographs and a beautifully written, fact-filled narrative, we think it will inspire everybody that reads it to know and love the Salish Sea. Another bonus - proceeds will go to support the work of the SeaDoc Society. More here...
How do we Reduce the Effects of Plastic Pollution on Wildlife?
Press Release from The SeaDoc Society: That's the question posed in a recent paper, "Global research priorities to mitigate plastic pollution impacts on marine wildlife," co-authored by SeaDoc's Kirsten Gilardi and published in Endangered Species Research. The authors worked with 26 expert researchers around the world to identify the biggest unanswered research questions about plastic pollution.
Important areas include understanding how plastic is changing habitats, how it's disrupting food webs, whether there are population-level effects from entanglements in plastic trash, how climate change will impact plastic pollution, how plastic pollution can be quantified, and the economic and social effects of plastic pollution. Initiatives like this can have a powerful effect in terms of setting a research agenda that will produce robust science that can influence our actions and recovery efforts. Continued here...
SJI Park Debuts Salmon Bank Webpage
Press Release from SJI National Historical Park: Before there was the South Beach, known and loved by San Juan Islanders and visitors from around the world as a summer picnic ground and a spot to watch winter storms, there was the Salmon Bank. And for thousands of years, it was a place to make a living. Spanish explorers during expeditions up the Strait of Juan de Fuca conducted 1790-1792 reported "...an incredible quantity of salmon and numerous Indians."
Fifty years later, in October 1853, James Alden of the U.S. Coast Survey enthused about the maritime resources. "Salmon abound in great quantities at certain seasons of the year, when the water in every direction seems to be filled with them…The Hudson's Bay Company has a fishing establishment at San Juan … where I am informed they have put up this season 600 barrels of salmon. Continued here...
One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer
By Merri Ann Simonson, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc: Unlike liquor, your water source in San Juan County is not guaranteed and must be acquired and cared for.
When you first consider purchasing an unimproved parcel of land you should condition your purchase upon a satisfactory water source. Due to the risk of closing before the water source is determined, the days of clients purchasing land without the source are long gone. If one hopes to use institutional financing, the lender will require that the water source be acceptable in quality and quantity; in addition to a valid septic system permit and access to an electrical power provider.
The majority of non-platted parcels in the San Juan Islands are serviced by individual wells. Most subdivisions offer access to a community water system, and some urban areas offer public systems.
Types of water sources in the islands include:
Alley Makeover Earns First Civic Pride Award
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Town of Friday Harbor recognizes Steve Buck and company. Curb appeal is typically reserved for the front of buildings, but businesses on Sunshine Alley are taking a critical look at their side and backyards. Voluntary efforts to improve the alleyway began at the First Street entrance with improvements to the building housing Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. Their investment is being recognized with the Town of Friday Harbor’s first Civic Pride Award.
Steve Buck and Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Inc. replaced the exterior staircase, redesigned the basement stairwell entrance, and screened off mechanical equipment. The result is a fresh, clean entrance to Sunshine Alley that respects and maintains the historical value of the building.
Constructed in 1907, what is now recognized as the Buck Building was originally home to San Juan County Bank until Sam and Barbara Buck purchased the building in 1980 for their real estate company San Juan Properties, which later became an independent affiliate of Coldwell Banker. Much of the historic interior woodwork can be seen today thanks to careful preservation by Sam and Barbara Buck and Steve Buck. Continued here...
OPALCO Broadband Unveiled
Press Release from OPALCO: Separate Entity to Deliver Internet Services to Co-op Members. At Thursday’s meeting of the OPALCO Board of Directors, a motion was unanimously approved that includes a $7.5 million acceleration of our efforts to provide member Internet connections to as many members as possible – and, eventually, serve the entire membership. A new organization will be formed to deliver these services, separate in its finances and staffing. The detailed plan and presentation are available at opalco.com.
“The plan is do-able, well balanced and does not rely on OPALCO for all of the funds,” commented Board Member Dr. Jerry Whitfield of Shaw Island. “I'm impressed with the inspired leadership of (Foster) Hildreth and (Gerry) Lawlor, their level of understanding of the problems ahead and their ability to pull it off.”
A rate schedule for member connections is now available online (islandnetwork.opalco.com/), beginning with basic Internet (10Mbps down/up data + home phone) services at $95 per month. Rates include a credit of $1,500 per member connection to help offset the initial costs.
OPALCO’s team has been out talking with Homeowners Associations to encourage neighborhoods to work together and share the cost of connection – the most cost effective way to serve the largest number of members. A map in the presentation shows more than 1300 members ready to subscribe as soon as services are available. The start-up phase of the project aims to connect 25% of our membership (about 2900 members) in the first three years. Continued here...
Updated App Lets Public Report Whale Sightings
Press Release from NOAA: The free mobile application, Whale Alert, developed in 2012 to help protect endangered North Atlantic right whales by reducing the risk of injury or death from ship strikes on the East Coast, has been updated to Whale Alert 2.0 for use on all whale species on the East Coast, West Coast, and off Canada. The app uses Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Identification System (AIS), Internet, and NOAA nautical charts to provide mariners with a single source of information about whale locations and the conservation measures active in these locations.
Researchers Christin Khan, Timothy Cole, and Elizabeth Josephson of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)’s Protected Species Branch were part of the team that developed both the original and updated app. Most of their efforts focused on how the app would work and how it would be applied. (Thanks to James Mead Maya for the photo below). Continued here...
Southern Residents and Chinook Salmon: An Undeniable Link
Thanks to Monika Wieland of Orca Watcher for this post: As another summer whale-watching season winds down here in the San Juan Islands, it's an appropriate time to reflect on how these whales are doing. Last year, we had an all-time low in both salmon numbers and whale visits to inland waters, that left many of us wondering what this year would bring. There was an undeniable sense of relief that we had the Southern Residents around a lot this year- no more stretches of days and weeks without whales as we experienced in 2013. Still, despite some proclaiming that this summer was "just like the good ol' days", it really wasn't.
While the number of whale days spent in inland waters was certainly up, the amount of pod-fractioning hit an all-time high. We had different groups of partial pods around on almost a daily basis for a while. Yes, there were whales around to watch on most days this summer - but often it was a group of a dozen or twenty whales, rather than 40 or 50 whales or all 79 together in a superpod (by my unofficial count, we only had all matrilines of all three pods in inland waters at the same time on three days this summer). Continued here...
Power to the Puffins!
Press Release from The SeaDoc Society: It's been a long time coming, but Washington State is in the final stage of deciding whether or not to list the Tufted puffin as a state endangered species. Tufted puffins used to breed at 43 different nesting colonies in Washington State. Now they are found at only 19, and the state's population is 1/10th of what it was in 1984.
Tufted puffins have been candidates for listing in Washington State since 1998. But you can't move from candidate to listed species without a formal scientific status review. Since the Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't have the resources to write the status review, nothing happened for a long time. Then SeaDoc stepped in. We knew it was important to get the status review written so that the State could eventually create a recovery plan for puffins. So in 2010 we raised money from private individuals, with gifts ranging from $100 to $23,000. (Crowdfunding before crowdfunding was cool.) Continued here...
Construction of Third Olympic Class Ferry Moves Forward
The Washington Dept. of Transportation recently signed the Notice to Proceed document for construction of the third Olympic Class 144-car ferry. Work will begin late 2014. Along with the Tokitae and Samish, this vessel will replace the 1950s-era Evergreen State Class ferries, which are approaching the end of their service lives. The third, unnamed ferry will be constructed at Vigor Industrial by a consortium of Puget Sound shipbuilders and subcontractors and is expected to be complete in early 2017.
WSF has a total budget of $383.6 million to build three 144-car ferries. The Tokitae, the first 144-car ferry cost $144 million. Samish, the second 144-car ferry cost is approximately $126.45 million. The lessons learned from construction of the first ferry, minimal engineering design, reduction in contingencies, and economies of scale reduce the cost of the second vessel. More here...
New Home for Animal Shelter
Press Release: The is very pleased to announce the kickoff of a capital campaign to raise funds for a new animal shelter facility on San Juan Island. The project, “New Home – New Hope” was formally announced to the community at last Sunday’s ‘Wags to Riches’ event, and the initial response has been extremely positive.
The project started as a vision of the executive director, Leslie Byron and the current board president Jaime Ellsworth. Two years ago, the dream became a necessity when APS was made aware that the current property lease with the Port of Friday Harbor would more than likely be shortened from 20 years to 5 years. With the deteriorating conditions of the current shelter building and the future loss of the current property lease it was decided by the APS board to start searching for a new location and build a new facility.
The project was able to move forward with a very generous donation to APS by Robert and Rebecca Pohlad in honor of their German Shepherd ‘Luca’. The donation was substantial enough to purchase property for the new building. After an extensive search for suitable property, a 5-acre parcel was purchased very near the existing shelter at 994 Cattle Point Road. Continued here...
Check out this cool time lapse video made by Chris Teren of Teren Photography of an hour long ferry trip from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.
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