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 County Cooperates on Broadband Deployment in Eastsound
Press Release from Rock Island Communications: San Juan County is allowing Rock Island Communications to install fiber optic cable in the conduit associated with the County’s Eastsound Village streetlight project. “Co-locating our fiber optic cable in the streetlight conduit will save businesses located in Eastsound Village a great deal on connection costs,” said Gerry Lawlor, Rock Island’s Executive Vice President. “And, it will help us connect those businesses more quickly.”
“San Juan County Council member Rick Hughes and County Manager Mike Thomas were instrumental in making this happen,” said Foster Hildreth, General Manager of OPALCO and President of Rock Island. “It’s the best use of our county and co-op resources to utilize the existing streetlight conduit for dual purposes.”
Rick Hughes added, “I strongly support OPALCO and Rock Island joining forces to bring high-speed broadband to Eastsound and to the entire County. This is another example of how San Juan County is spearheading economic development in our community and solving complex issues in cooperation with local businesses.” Continued here...
San Juan Island Pilot’s Association Donates $500.00 for Public School Museum of Flight Field Trip
Press Release from the San Juan Island School District: The San Juan Pilots Association was please to donate $500 to the San Juan Public Schools Foundation to help fund the 7th grade field trip to the Museum of Flight. This donation provided assistance with transportation to the museum, located just south of Seattle. The Museum of Flight web site is http://www.museumofflight.org/about
The Museum of Flight exists to acquire, preserve, and exhibit historically significant air and space artifacts, which provide a foundation for scholarly research, and lifelong learning programs that inspire an interest in and understanding of science, technology, and the humanities.
The central focus of the Museum's educational programs is to broaden science literacy within an historical context, relating the evolution of technology to the human needs that drive it, and the resulting changes that technology brings to humanity. Continued here...
"Know Your Island" Mount Grant Preserve Walk
Know Your Island Walk, Sat. March 28, 2015, 1-4pm. Meet Kathleen Foley of the San Juan Preservation Trust and Tanja Williamson of the San Juan County Land Bank for a 'behind the scenes' look at an exciting land acquisition project being undertaken for future public use. Learn about the Mount Grant Preserve (formerly known as Lawson Ridge) and get a peek at its spectacular presence on San Juan island.
Distance: 2 mi. RT., Terrain: old paved road and rough unfinished path with significant uphill and down. Altitude gain, 500'. Rating: moderate to difficult. No dogs, please. Rain or shine. Binoculars suggested. Meet and park at the Preserve entrance on West Valley Road. Look for sandwich sign saying "San Juan Preservation Trust/ Land Bank Event". Parking limited, so please try to carpool.
SJI Trails Committee KNOW YOUR ISLAND walks are January through October, 2015, 4th Saturday of each month. Call 360-378-2240, ext. 2233 or 2227 for information or visit the San Juan island Trails Committee website at http://sanjuanislandtrails.org/. More here...
Frogs, Newts and Salamanders
San Juan Island Garden Club will meet Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm Mullis Community Center (589 Nash Street, Friday Harbor). "Frogs, Newts and Salamanders" is not a recipe for a witch's potion, but tiny amphibians that might be living in your garden!! We are lucky to live in an area where these amazing little animals are still relatively abundant, but they are very sensitive and face many threats. Come learn why they are important and what we can do to protect them.
Shona Aitken will be our speaker. She is Education Coordinator at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. She is originally from Scotland, but has lived on San Juan Island for 25 years (so she is almost a local!) and has worked in various animal care and education roles at Wolf Hollow for most of that time. She has a degree in Ecology from the University of Stirling in Scotland and has worked in a range of wildlife-related positions including being a Countryside Ranger and carrying out research for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Come hear her share her knowledge of the world of amphibians. Continued here...
New Nature Preserve for San Juan Island?
: The San Juan Preservation Trust and the San Juan County Land Bank are collaborating on an exciting land acquisition project on San Juan Island that, if successful, will become an extraordinary nature preserve accessible to all.
Long valued by adventurous hikers willing to trespass to capture its stunning 360-degree views, this 141-acre ridgetop property had been subdivided into twelve view lots and listed for sale as “Lawson Ridge,” an exclusive residential development. A portion of this property drains into Trout Lake, the Town of Friday Harbor’s primary source of drinking water, and includes important native plant and animal habitat, lush wildflower meadows, miles of trails, and easy road access to the summit and its spectacular panoramic views.
On March 9th, the San Juan Preservation Trust, a private non-profit land trust, and the San Juan County Land Bank, an agency of San Juan County, made a $1.0 million down payment on the $3.0 million purchase. A $2.0 million seller-financed loan is secured by the land itself; should this conservation partnership default on this loan, the sellers would likely re-list the lots for sale as private residential estates.
The Preservation Trust will launch a community fundraising campaign on San Juan Island to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the purchase. “If we succeed, this could provide San Juan Island with the very first place where visitors with mobility restrictions can enjoy such sweeping vistas,” said Tim Seifert, Executive Director of the San Juan Preservation Trust. Continued here...
2015 Community Needs Task Force
Press Release from the San Juan Island Community Foundation: We need your help! Many of you will remember the major undertaking of the Community Foundation back in 2008-2009 when our island was hit so hard by the economic downturn of those couple years. At that time, we convened a multitude of organizations and individuals to determine what the most critical needs were that could be addressed by a cross-community united effort, helping to shore up those areas of greatest need during such a difficult time.
Now it’s five years down the road, and we feel it’s time to reassess community needs and determine if new courses of action should be developed for addressing them. The 2015 Community Needs Task Force will provide a forum for discussion of community needs, increase awareness of current and future projects, and facilitate collaboration among organizations.
We invite nonprofits, business leaders, agencies, and the community as a whole to attend a one-hour kick-off stakeholder meeting on March 30, 2015, 11:00 am at the San Juan Community Theater. Following a short introductory presentation, you will be able to meet the chairs of each workgroup in the areas of social services, environment, education (secondary through college), education (childhood development), food supply, housing, community service, emergency preparedness -- and sign up to get involved. Continued here...
New San Juan Island School District Superintendent
Press Release from the San Juan Island School District: The San Juan Island School District Board of Directors announced on March 19 that Dr. Danna Diaz has accepted the position of Superintendent for San Juan Island School District. Currently the Board and Dr. Diaz are considering the terms and conditions of her employment contract. When the document is complete to the satisfaction of both parties, the Board will adopt the contract. The first opportunity for this would be during the regular Board meeting on March 25.
“Dr. Diaz is grounded in the fundamentals of the learning process and child development yet is also keenly aware of the regulations that provide accountability to our citizens,” commented Board Chair Jack McKenna. “She has a strong record of responding to challenges with successful initiatives.”
“Our process brought five excellent candidates to the forefront,” said Board member Jenn Furber, “any one of whom would have done a good job as our Superintendent. The problem of choosing between strong candidates is a problem that is good to have. As a parent with young children I’m keenly interested in making our schools academically successful. Our schools must also be places where students are excited to go, feel safe, and have a strong sense of belonging. Dr. Diaz shares these values and I’m glad she will be working with us.” Continued here...
Volunteer Opportunity at San Juan Islands Museum of Art
Press Release from the San Juan Islands Museum of Art: If you enjoy art, and are able to spare a few hours a month, you might love volunteering as a docent at San Juan Island’s newest museum. Being a docent enables you to learn about exciting and ever changing art exhibits, share your knowledge with visitors from near and afar, and become a part of a community of people committed to educating and inspiring others through art. You don’t need to be an artist or have an art background to be a part of this; we provide training.
If interested, please join us at the museum for an informational gathering on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, from 5-6:30pm. We will give you a tour of the museum, tell you more about what it means be a docent, and answer any questions you may have. San Juan Islands Museum of Art, 540 Spring Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. More here...
Spring into a New Sailing Schedule
Press Release from Plan ahead for the new spring 2015 sailing schedule and upcoming fare changes. The spring sailing schedule begins on Sunday, March 22, and annual peak-season fare surcharges go into effect May 1. The spring schedule includes the following changes:
As we head into warmer weather, it’s a good idea to arrive early, plan for busier sailings and make a reservation if you’re traveling on the San Juan Islands, Anacortes/Sidney B.C. or Port Townsend/Coupeville routes. More here...
OPALCO Board Candidates Announced
Press Release from OPALCO: Our local member-owned electric cooperative, Orcas Power & Light Co-op, announces the slate of candidates for its Board of Directors. This is each member’s opportunity to influence who sets Co-op policies and rates. Every OPALCO member has the right to vote in each election, regardless of their home district, with one vote per membership.
For this 2015 election, there are four candidates running for two open positions in District 2 (Orcas, Armitage, Blakely, Obstruction, Big Double, Little Double and Fawn Islands). The 2015 candidates are: Winnie Adams (incumbent), Randy J. Cornelius, Ed Sutton and Chris Thomerson (incumbent). Candidate bios are sent by mail to each Co-op member with their ballot, and are available online. This year, there is one member-initiated bylaw amendment.Ballots and a voting guide will be mailed the week of April 8, 2015 and the Annual Report will be posted online. Co-op members can vote one of three ways: online, by mail or in person at the Annual Meeting. Continued here...
Volunteering at the Animal Shelter – Everyone Wins!
Press Release Do you have some free time, love animals and have an interest in making a difference in your community? If the answer is yes, then the Animal Shelter is the place for you! The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor is always in need of caring folks for a wide variety of tasks. Whether you’d like to walk dogs, greet visitors, spend time with cats or help out at a fundraising event there are many ways you can make a big difference in the life of homeless animals. Here are just a few of the benefits of volunteering:
1. Be part of the solution. You'll join a network of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, working to make the world safer and more humane for animals. You'll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection.
2. Get warm fuzzies. You'll never find a more grateful and accepting friend than an animal you've been kind to.
3. Keep good company. You'll make lots of new friends—and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.
Press Release: Emily Connery, who has lived on San Juan Island since 1988, has written a memoir, Educating Emily. This book illustrates, through case descriptions, her work as a clinical social worker in Watts, at a psychiatric hospital in Long Beach and, in northern California, at a treatment center for adolescent boys and a county outpatient clinic. Interwoven with therapeutic verbal images are several trips taken to provide the author diversity and to satisfy her curiosity. The reader will find Educating Emily a thoughtful well written story of human drama and compassion. Those who have read it call it a "page turner."
The last 25 copies are available at Griffin Bay Bookstore and Island Studios, Spring Street, Friday Harbor. $12.95.
IMA Susan Middleton Wildlife Photography Workshop
Press Release from the San Juans Islands Museum of Art: June 15 - 19 and June 30 - July 4. A Five-Day Wildlife Photography Workshop with Susan Middleton, Author of Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates. This workshop offers a unique San Juan island experience designed to maximize photographic opportunities for photographers of all skill and experience levels. Explore San Juan island through your camera lens, learning tips and techniques from workshop leader Susan Middleton.
Examine the treasure trove of marine life that thrives in tide pools, encounter marine life (think orca whales!) from our chartered boat, witness glorious bald eagles in flight, take in exceptional island views and seascapes, experience a visual realm from tiny jewel-like invertebrates to magnificent sunrises! Meet some of the creatures portrayed in IMA’s Susan Middleton “Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates” exhibition face to face! Workshop attendees will be guests at a private exhibition reception with the artist.
This is a special opportunity for a limited number of participants, weaving the best of art and science, picture making, fine dining, and island camaraderie. Attendance limited to 12 per workshop. For more information, please contact IMA at 360 370 5050 or apply online athttp://sjima.org/susan-middleton-workshop/
The Spineless exhibition will be at IMA May 23-August 21. 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.Tuesday, January 6, through Tuesday, May 19, 2015.
Next Up: April 7 Sharkgirl
For 20-year-old Madison Stewart, nothing feels safer or more natural than diving straight into shark-infested waters. Since childhood, growing up by the Great Barrier Reef, she's treated these predators as family. But they're vanishing from existence, and because of their bad reputation, few people seem to care. Follow Madison on her mission to protect our sharks, a battle that began when she put her studies on hold, grabbed a camera, and set out to save these incredible, misunderstood creatures. More here...
Student Appointed to Friday Harbor Arts Commission
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Mayor Carrie Lacher has appointed the final member of the Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC), an advisory panel formed to assist the Town Council with the cultivation, acquisition and placement of public art. The Council confirmed the appointment of student Commissioner Audrey Sable at a meeting on March 5th. The Friday Harbor High School senior will hold the position until she leaves for college this fall. In the future, the position of student Commissioner will be a one-year appointment commencing each September. “Although this is a non-voting position, it is one the Town sees as essential to creating a broad-based commission that is representative of our community,” said the Mayor. “We are fortunate to have Audrey participate in the development of her new position, and look forward to her contribution to the process.”
The next meeting of the FHAC is scheduled for 5 pm Tuesday, March 10 in Council Chambers. PHOTO: Mayor Carrie Lacher with newly appointed student Arts Commissioner Audrey Sable and Arts Commissioner Lori Stokes. More here...
SeaDoc Helps Complete Necropsy of J32, Rhapsody
Press Release from The SeaDoc Society: Since publishing the first comprehensive paper on diseases of killer whales in 2004, SeaDoc has worked with collaborators to learn more about diseases of killer whales and how they might impact recovery of the endangered southern resident population. Last week, that tradition continued. SeaDoc’s Joe Gaydos, working with scientists from NOAA, UC Santa Cruz and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, completed the necropsy of beloved southern resident J32, known to killer whale enthusiasts as Rhapsody.
In December, J32 was found dead near Comox, British Columbia. Led by Dr. Steve Raverty of UBC, researchers from 8 different organizations, including Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, First Nations and the Vancouver Aquarium conducted a necropsy on the beach. They found she was pregnant with a near term fetus that had died. J32 was unable to expel the fetus and became sick and died. The head was sent to the United States for more extensive diagnostics.While examining the head last week, Gaydos and Dyanna Lambourn of WDFW found roundworm parasites in and around the ears. While these were not associated with the stranding, it does add to our understanding of killer whale health. The ears were dissected out for CT scan at the VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle where preliminary evaluation showed nothing significant. Continued here...
2015 Best Small Library to get Software Upgrade
San Juan Island Library: San Juan Island Library contracts with Innovative Interfaces to use Polaris ILS. The San Juan Island Library is switching the software used to manage Library services (books, movies, and patron records) to help Library staff serve users better. The Library announced the upgrade along with notice that it has been awarded the 2015 EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award from the Public Library Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association.
The Library selected the Polaris integrated library system (ILS) after a year-long process of comparing more than 10 software systems. Staff developed a 400 point score sheet to evaluate various functionalities, appearance and ease of use for the volunteers, staff and the public. Staff attended demonstrations and visited other libraries to see different systems in use, and concluded that Polaris ILS would best serve the needs of the San Juan Island community.
In order to transition away from the current ILS, the Library will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, March 23-24, 2015. During the transition placing new holds, purchase requests and interlibrary loan requests will also be suspended from March 16 through March 24. Continued here...
It's T Time!
Thanks to Monika Wieland of Orca Watcher for this post: As we get into March and April, we hopefully anticipate whale sightings to start increasing. In years past, this is the time the residents start to spend more time around the San Juans, and in more recent years with the residents elsewhere it has been a time of abundant transient sightings. So far, March is shaping up to be a transient kinda month!
On Thursday, March 5th, I heard a group of transients was out in the middle of Haro Strait. It was too tempting not to take a long lunch break to go investigate! We met up with the T18s near Kelp Reef. T18 Esperanza was nearby but off on her own, while T19 Mooyah was traveling with her two sons T19B Galiano and T19C Spouter. (This group is among the transients named by the Vancouver Aquarium.)They were swimming in circles, intermittently fanning out and then joining up again. That unpredictable surface behavior combined with long dive times led to this unexpected close surfacing by T19B. I've seen this whale a decent amount over the years, and he's definitely grown up, because our little boat felt downright tiny as he approached! Continued here...
Rock Island Communications: Why it Makes Good Sense to Opalco
Press Release from OPALCO: The news last week that Orcas Power & Light Co-op and Rock Island have joined forces to deliver Internet services to islanders in San Juan County is the latest in a long chain of thoughtful decisions and deliberate action on the part of the OPALCO leadership.
“This is a community effort reminiscent of getting electricity to the islands back in 1937,” said Bob Myhr, OPALCO Board member since 1986. “It’s a game changer. Moreover, the revenue from Rock Island will come at just the right time to help finance the increasingly expensive costs of necessary future submarine cable replacements, hence -- keeping the power flowing to us in the islands.”
OPALCO funded the start-up costs and working capital for Rock Island Communications in the form of a loan. The impact on members is $3 per month for 24 months and is included in the recent rate increase.
The merger with Rock Island is a mutually beneficial effort. Rock Island founder Mike Greene calls it a “win-win-win.” Both parties share a strong desire to meet the communication needs of islanders in San Juan County. Rock Island Communications is a local company committed to providing excellent service for the benefit of the local community. Continued here...
A Third Baby Orca!
From Joel Connelly and the Seattle PI: A third baby orca has been born this winter into the endangered southern resident killer whale population, bringing to 80 the number of orcas “resident” much of the year in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and inland waters of the Salish Sea.
The baby, christened L-121, was initially spotted off Cape Lookout — one of the great beauty spots of the Oregon Coast — with L-pod since moving north and spotted off Westport on the Washington Coast.“The calf looked very energetic,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported from a research vessel following the pod.And, added Shari Tarantino of the Orca Conservancy, “The other two are looking great. If one (baby) had not died, we would have four.”
The L-pod is the largest of three pods that make up the southern resident population. Both of the previous babies are in the J-pod, which now numbers 26 orcas. The K-pod has 19 whales. With the latest birth, there are now 35 orcas in L-pod.
The orcas are listed under the Endangered Species Act, largely due to the decline of their food source. Continued here...
New Report Shows Status of Salmon Recovery
OLYMPIA – Salmon recovery efforts in Washington are making a difference – more salmon are returning home in some areas, although significant work remains – according to a new report released by the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.
“Washington State has been investing in salmon recovery for more than a decade, and we are starting to see some results,” said Kaleen Cottingham director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, home of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, which created the report and Web site. “That’s heartening. But we also see that we have a long way to go until all salmon species are healthy enough to be removed from the endangered species list.”
The newly released State of Salmon in Watersheds Executive Summary and interactive Web site show Washington’s progress in trying to recover the 15 populations declared as at risk of extinction by the federal government and listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Web site puts online live data from many sources around the state and offers interactive story maps from efforts statewide. Continued here...
Thousands of Ferry Riders Reserving Spots to San Juan Islands
Press Release from Passengers looking to secure a spot aboard Washington State Ferries vessels in 2015 are sailing to success using WSF’s new vehicle reservation program, launched earlier this year.
Between Jan. 5 and Feb. 22, about half of all drivers departing from Anacortes, Friday Harbor and Orcas Island took the guesswork out of the equation by traveling with a reservation. The numbers swelled during Presidents’ Day weekend, with 75 percent of San Juan Islands-bound travelers reserving their space in advance.
“Customers with reservations experienced much shorter wait times traveling to the San Juans during Presidents’ Day weekend this year than in previous years,” said WSF Vehicle Reservations Program Manager Brian Churchwell. “Reserving a spot in advance not only guarantees a space on the ferry, it will help reduce wait times during our busy spring and summer sailing seasons.”
WSF is making 90 percent of every sailing to the islands available for vehicle reservations. Reservations are released in three, 30 percent tiers to help meet both the needs of customers planning far in advance and those making travel plans closer to their sailing date. Continued here...
OPALCO and Rock Island Join Forces to Deliver Internet Services to San Juan County
Press Release from OPALCO: General Manager Foster Hildreth announced on Thursday, Feb. 19th that Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) has acquired Rock Island Communications. Rock Island will merge its staff, infrastructure and operations with OPALCO to deliver modern, scalable and reliable broadband services for homes and businesses in San Juan County. “The full transition may take a little time,” said Hildreth, “but we can hit the ground running, thanks to the tireless efforts of Gerry Lawlor, who will serve as the Executive Vice President of Rock Island."
"This is a win-win scenario for all of us in San Juan County,” said Mike Greene, founder of Rock Island. “We have the expertise and a long history in the community, and OPALCO has the infrastructure backbone to take us to the next level.” Mike will continue to manage the system as Vice President of Technology. “The sale satisfied all my criteria,” said Greene, who has entertained a number of offers. “This acquisition meets my personal and professional goals, protects the interest of our employees, and benefits the community with an exciting new line of services."
For existing Rock Island and OPALCO customers, the transition is planned as seamless: the same excellent, local customer service and increasingly faster, more reliable Internet services. Rock Island Communications will build on its strong foundation to provide several new types of services. Learn more at http://rockisland.com.
Rock Island’s Friday Harbor office and retail store on Court Street will remain open. A new office at 208 Enchanted Forest Road, adjacent to the Orcas Rental & Saw shop, will open on Orcas Island. Continued here...
Marguerite Place Water Line Replacement Project begins 3/2
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Marguerite Place water line replacement is the Town’s next utility improvement project. Construction will take place between Park and Guard Streets. The project should commence on or near March 2nd and is expected to be completed within 60 calendar days.
Travelers should expect delays and limited or no access during certain phases of the project which includes removal of portions of existing asphalt, trenching and grading. The Town has notified neighboring property owners of the potential road closures and possibility of utility interruptions. According to Town Administrator Duncan Wilson, every effort will be made limit closures and to have both lanes of traffic open in the evenings and on weekends.
Later this year drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians can look forward to safer travel on this portion of Marguerite Place when the second phase of improvements begin bringing new asphalt and a sidewalk on the east side of the street. Notice of this project timeline will be published at a later date.
Questions regarding either project should be directed to Administrator Wilson at Town Hall. For more information on the 6-Year TIP, view “Town Documents” at the Town’s website: www.fridayharbor.org. Continued here...
Meet Your Volunteer Firefighters' New Fire Engines
Press Release from San Juan Island Fire & Rescue: Six new engines are all here now and ready to go! Actually they have been in service for several months. They are replacing the fire engines that have protected us for 30 years.
San Juan Island Fire Rescue purchased your new engines from General Fire Equipment in Spokane, Washington. Not only did we get a good deal, but we also were able to arrange the sale so that much of the sales tax revenue stayed local. The new engines should serve the community for at least 25 years. The Fire District paid about $350,000.00 per engine. (That's about $50,000 LESS than most communities pay for a fire engine.)
The engines are island specific. In other words they were designed with our island's particular needs in mind. They provide much better driver sight therefore providing more safety for the crew aboard. The crew all face forward providing safety and much better communication between them. The retiring engines had firefighters sitting facing backwards and exposed to the elements. Continued here...
Another New Baby in J Pod!
Press Release from Orca Network: After spending the past two weeks near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, J pod finally came back into the interior Salish Sea waters and showed off another brand new baby whale to the few observers that braved the mist and light rain and watched the whales swim by from land and from vessels at respectful distance. Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research, and Jeanne Hyde who first heard the whales on Lime Kiln hydrophone this morning, embarked on the Center 's research vessel "Chimo" to Haro Strait while CWR Senior Scientist, Ken Balcomb, watched from shore and managed communications.
The late December calf, J50, with its J16 family were seen today as well; but, the big news is that J19 and J41 were swimming protectively on either side on another new baby that we estimate is about one week old. This newest addition to J pod is designated J51, and the presumed mother is thirty-six year old J19. Her ten-year old daughter, J41, was also in attendance. The newest baby appears healthy.
This brings us to twenty-six whales in J pod, the most viable pod in the Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population of the US and Canada Pacific Northwest. K pod has 19 individuals, and L pod has 34 individuals for a total population of 79 SRKW's as of today. That number can change anytime with the birth or death of one of these charismatic whales. Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research.
EMS Recognizes Excellence at Annual Banquet
Press Release: San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services and Medevac completed another successful year serving the community with 1399 emergency calls. In recognition of this community’s medical responders, the annual San Juan Island EMS Awards Banquet was held on January 10, 2015 at the San Juan Island Yacht Club.
The EMT of the Year Award for 2014 was shared by Steve Brumsickle and Deanna Banry. Jody Vogel was recognized as Rookie of the Year. Both awards are decided by a vote of their peers. Officer of the year went to Deanna Banry for her significant service to the agency. Ben Waldron received the Chief’s Award for going above and beyond.
Dr. Michael Sullivan presented the San Juan County Medical Program Director (MPD) Award to both Noah Waldron and Doug Harmon for their outstanding leadership, dedication and professionalism to patient care. A rare EMS Community Service Award was presented to the Roche Harbor Marina Staff for their continual readiness for emergencies. Their training is excellent. They are consistently ready to help the medical responders in any way necessary. Our crew appreciates their “can-do” attitude. Continued here...
Town Appoints Seven to New FH Arts Commission
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: Mayor Carrie Lacher has appointed seven members to the Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC), an advisory panel formed to assist the Town Council with the cultivation, acquisition and placement of public art. The Council confirmed the appointments at a meeting on January 22nd. “We were fortunate that every candidate was well-qualified and would have been an asset to the Commission,” stated the Mayor. The final appointees were selected so as to ensure a balanced commission given the candidates’ ability to represent various sectors of the arts community. In addition, the finalists were chosen based on their current involvement with the arts and longevity with the community.
Commissioners are appointed for three-year terms, with four of the initial commissioners serving abbreviated terms to stagger timing of future appointments.
Positions 1 and 2 (one-year terms): Diane Martindale and Traci Wilson
Positions 3 and 4 (two-year terms): Susan Williams and Ruth Offen
Positions 5, 6 and 7 (three-year terms): Debbie Pigman, Lori Stokes, and Council member and chairperson Noel Monin. Continued here...
Friday Harbor Sailing Club Salutes the Compass in 2015
Article by Celina Wright: What is a Frikadeller? Gloria and John Bentzen know. It’s their regular contribution at the Friday Harbor Sailing Club’s monthly meeting and potluck dinner. These delicious, flat, pan-fried dumplings of minced meat are often referred to as the Danish version of meatballs.
That’s just one tradition the Bentzen’s of Friday Harbor bring to the FHSC. There’s another one that happens less frequently, only once a year to be exact.
On New Year’s Day, while most are recovering from fun filled reverie on the last night of the year, some of the hardiest members of the sailing club get their boats out on the water to practice the tradition introduced to the club by the Bentzen brothers, Arne and John, back in the 60’s.
Theirs is a reboot of an age tested nautical practice that’s used to sharpen one of the oldest of navigational tools, the ship’s compass. “Saluting the Compass” is Friday Harbor Sailing Club’s version of “Swinging the Compass”. Continued here...
Illuminated: Glass by William Morris at IMA
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. Continued here...
Captive Killer Whale Included in Endangered Listing
Press Release from : NOAA Fisheries will issue a final rule to include Lolita, a captive killer whale at the Miami Seaquarium, in the endangered species listing for Southern Resident Killer Whales that spend much of the year in the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia.
While Lolita will now share the endangered listing status of the population she came from, the decision does not impact her residence at the Miami Seaquarium. Lolita is a killer whale that has resided at the Miami Seaquarium since 1970. She was caught in Puget Sound, and the Southern Resident killer whale population she originated from was later listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
However, because that listing included an exemption for captive members of the population like Lolita, she did not share the endangered listing status of the Southern Resident population. In 2013, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation petitioned NOAA Fisheries to drop the exclusion, so the listing would also cover Lolita.
NOAA Fisheries considered the petition and concluded that captive animals such as Lolita cannot be assigned separate legal status from their wild counterparts. The final rule NOAA Fisheries issued today will include Lolita in the endangered listing status of the Southern Resident killer whale population. Continued here...
Native Plant Sale and Expo
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.
Small Works, Vendor and Professional Services Rosters
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: As of January 1, 2015, the Town of Friday Harbor is participating 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...
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 until 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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
12th Annual Roche Harbor Salmon Classic
02/08/15 UPDATE: Dave Reep with Tater Yachts had the Top Fish at 22.03lbs. More stats to come. Thanks to Vonni Reep for this photo of Dave and the winning fish. Follow the Derby on Facebook for the latest. More here...
The 2015 derby will be held February 5-7. $25,000 in guaranteed cash prizes. Again, this year Roche Harbor will add $30,000 to the first-place fish if it weighs in at 30lbs or more! Three nights of hosted dinners, including prime rib night.
On-site lodging (not included in the entry fee) with options for everyone to stay together on the property. Donated prizes from NW favorites like Fabill, Soctty, Shimano, Laminglass, Simrad and Berkely. Raffle for entry in NMTA Derby Series Grand Prize.
The three-day sport fishing extravaganza attracts anglers from all walks of life to fish the island waters. $750.00 per boat (plus sales tax), which includes Angler's dinner all three nights, with Roche Harbor's Finest Prime Rib Dinner.
$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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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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