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!
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...
Island Stage Left Presents "Omnium Gatherum"
Vehicle Reservations Available for Jan. 5 - Mar. 21
Vehicle reservations for Jan. 5 through Mar. 21 are available on the San Juan Island routes. 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.
Online reservations are available 24/7 at the Save a Spot website. WSF staff are currently available to assist our customers by phone from 7:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. by calling 206-464-6400 or 1-888-808-7977. Save A Spot: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/reservations. For more information on reservations to the San Juans go to www.takeaferry.com. More 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:
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...
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...
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...
SJ County Council to Hold Meetings on Marijuana in January
Press Release: The San Juan County Council will hold two public meetings in the new year - January 12th and 26th in the Council Chambers starting at 9:15 am, to solicit public comment regarding the merits of possible regulation of state approved marijuana businesses in San Juan County.
Although the topic of regulation has been discussed at several council meeting this year, the Council has taken no legislative action to adopt regulations or enact a moratorium. The Council looks forward to hearing from those interested in this issue. More 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...
Old Postcards of Friday Harbor
I have compiled a pretty good collection of cool old postcards of Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor and San Juan Island, see more old postcards here...
Peace Island Volunteers Celebrate their 2nd Anniversary
Press Release: More than seventy guests attended the Peace Island Volunteers’ (PIV) second anniversary luncheon on December 2 at the San Juan Island Golf Club. The event’s festive atmosphere was enhanced by 68 hand decorated and themed miniature Christmas trees, all available for purchase by silent auction.
Over a delicious soup and chicken salad lunch served by the club staff, officers for the coming year were elected and the Island Carolers treated guests to a lovely seasonal song performance. A drawing for a beautiful quilt, “Storm at Sea” donated by the Rainshadow Quilt Guild raised over $1000 in funds for PIV projects to benefit PIMC. Peace Island Volunteers' mission is to support and promote healthcare services in San Juan County, especially at Peace Island Medical Center. 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...
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...
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 we have two specific needs to fill: one of the positions must be filled by a Friday Harbor resident, the other should be an architect residing anywhere on the island. Above photo credit: San Juan Historical Museum, Mullis House, c1905.
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. Above all, the HPRB is an advocate for historic buildings that have no voice of their own, except in our memories. Continued here...
2014 Resurrection Fishing Derby
12/07/14 Update: Here are the top placers for the 2014 Resurrection Derby. Follow The Resurrection Derby on Facebook for the latest.
1st place-Steve Martin 18.89 lbs
2nd place-Pete Nelsen 18.22 lbs
3rd place-Bill Havland 17.27 lbs
Secret weight 12.7 lbs (Pearl Harbor Day)
Joel Skerlong with 12.81 lbs
313 fisherman, 244 fish weighed Friday, 169 fish weighed Saturday and 413 total fish weighed. More info and photos here...
The 2014 Resurrection Fishing Derby, organized by the Fidalgo-San Juan Islands Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers, takes place December 5 and 6, at the Port of Friday Harbor. This is the fifth year of the event and coincides with the opening week of the winter fishing season in the San Juan Islands.
The entry fee is $400. The 100 teams (with up to four anglers per team) will get a spot to vie for $15,000 in guaranteed purse money. 1st place prize $10,000; 2nd place $2,500; 3rd place $1,500; $1,000 for total team weight, and a free 2015 entry for the winner of the Mystery Fish prize. More 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...
100 Year Old Friday Harbor Ads
These old local advertisements were discovered in The Library of Congress series "Chronicling America" and were originally featured in The San Juan Islander newspaper in the early 1900's. See more 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...
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...
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.
San Juan Island Artisans sponsored their 36th annual event featuring the 'best of the best' San Juan County artists, Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Over 50 venders sold their unique, hand-made arts and crafts including soaps, lotions, jewelry, clothing, cards, paintings, island-made foods, scenic photography and much more. More info and photos here...
THINK RED: Annual Holiday Show
Press Release: With the holiday season approaching, WaterWorks Gallery is pleased to announce THINK RED Holiday Show opening on Saturday, November 29th from 4.30 to 7.30. This show runs until Saturday, January 3, 2015.
Adding to the festive activities of Thanksgiving weekend, the gallery celebrates the season with some wonderful new works of art by Kathryn Trigg, Joan Stuart Ross, Randall Tipton, Danielle Dean Palmer, Nichole DeMent, Caroline James, Georgia Gerber and Tom Small and introducing Doug McIntosh - abstracted photographer. Exciting wearables by Dianne Coe, Tana Acton, Maru Alemeda, Micki Lippe, Judy Morgan, Anna Skibska, Caroline Viene, and introducing Jane Adams from England.
The gallery offers complimentary gift wrapping and/or free shipping [subject to limitations]. Gallery hours are 10:30 to 5:30 Monday - Saturday, Closed Tuesday & Sunday. Other hours by appointment. The gallery be open till 7 PM on Thursday & Fridays in December. Come on out and see all the lights in Friday Harbor, as this year’s Island Lights Festival will run from December 1st through December 31st. Continued on The Art Scene...
Press Release from Council Member Bob Jarman on Proposed Moratorium on Marijuana Producers
Press release from Council Member Bob Jarman: On Nov. 25th the Grange will take up and discuss the San Juan County Council’s proposed moratorium on marijuana producers. Although I was cordially invited to attend to speak in favor of the moratorium, I have declined to do so. It is my opinion that the County Council has a lot of work to do on this issue and that any remarks I might make would be premature at best. At this time I feel it is important that I continue to use my time to gather information, including how our neighboring counties have dealt with marijuana.
It is clear from the discussion that I have had since the introduction of the moratorium at Council, that there is great interest in this issue. Therefore, at the County Council meeting on Nov. 25th, I will propose to my fellow Council Members that the Council hold a series of public workshops in January to take input on the proposed moratorium, including possible regulations. Through an inclusive public process, I am confident that all voices will have an opportunity to be heard and that a viable solution can be crafted; one that balances individual rights and voter intent. Continued here...
Meet Your Volunteer Firefighter - Brien Sesby
Press Release: Brien is a 2nd generation firefighter for San Juan Island Fire Rescue. He follows in the foot steps of his father, Jim, who retired from the department this year. He is trained in structural and wildland firefighting and is also trained in rope rescue. Brien started life on Shaw Island and when he was sixteen years old, his family moved to San Juan Island.
He attended Spring Street International School and was a member of the 2nd graduating class. After that he went into the excavation business which he learned pretty much by trial and error. He earned his Washington State Excavation Contractor Insurance License and Bond very recently. Congratulations! Continued here...
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:
NPS Exotic Plant Management Team to Visit American Camp
Press Release from SJI National Historical Park: A National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) plans to complete two experimental herbicide treatments on the American camp prairie for Canada thistle this fall, weather permitting, announced Superintendent Lee Taylor. The American Camp herbicide treatment will target 1.5 acres east of Picket Lane and 1 acre south of Redoubt road. This step is only one treatment in San Juan Island National Historical Park's efforts attempt to restore habitat for the rare prairie species: the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), a federal species of concern.
"The island marble butterfly population is dwindling and American Camp is their final stronghold." Taylor said. "We have to take steps now to improve and expand habitat for these creatures or they will not survive." Herbicide use will help combat nonnative invasive species that compete with island marble butterfly host plants for habitat, she said. No road closures are anticipated, although a few trails in the immediate vicinity of the applications may be closed for a short duration. Caution signs will be posted along road ways and trails near the projects. For safety, park visitors are urged not to stop along the roadway or enter areas where herbicide operations are taking place. Continued here...
Proposed Moratorium on Marijuana ProducersPress Release: I-502 is a voter approved initiative to legalize the production, processing, and retail sale of marijuana. Locals on San Juan Island have already invested in the process towards growing marijuana as a business venture only to run into many obstacles, including, but not limited to, neighbors who are trying to shut down their operations. Now there is a proposed moratorium in place that will prohibit the production of all Tier 2 and Tier 3 production facilities. Please sign this petition if you are against the proposed moratorium. It is not yet in place and can be overturned. More 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 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...
Thanks to Caroline Lene for this post: Timing is important and does work out sometimes. I was helping out at the Center for Whale Research when we heard L-Pod whales were sighted in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Ken Balcomb, Erin Heydenreich, and I headed out to take photo identification, location, and behavioral data. The rain stopped and gave us two and a half dry hours. I was a very enthused passenger taking videos and photos with my smartphone.
The trip was bittersweet and ironic. Knowing the new baby L-120 born in September, and the first calf in the Southern Resident Orca community in two years that we’d been celebrating, hadn’t been sighted with her mother L-86 Surprise and relatives on the last few sightings. L-Pod families had been out in the Pacific Ocean for a few weeks. Most whale species sink when they die, so we will probably not know what caused the death. I believe the Orcas grieved their loss, I have seen Orcas and Gray whales grieve.
The Orcas were spread out from Eagle Point heading west and north. Sad and ironic the first group and whale we see is L-86 Surprise with her son and relatives, but no baby L-120, confirming the loss. Our Orcas and our Salish Sea are indeed in dire straits. Continued here...
San Juan Island Real Estate Fall 2014 Summary
By Merri Ann Simonson, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc: In reviewing the year-to-date volume for 2014, the real estate market volume on San Juan Island reflects an increase of 33% for the period of January through September as compared to the same period in 2013. As for the number of transactions, the gain over the 2013 January through September was 28%. This strong increase is a good sign of recovery in our market.
Per the NWMLS as of October 15th, San Juan Island has a total of 390 listings for all property types, which includes the 34 properties under contract or 8.7%. The current inventory level is very similar to the same period last year when we had 389 listings with 30 under contract or 7.7%. The slightly higher percentage of transactions in escrow is another good sign. Our percentage of transactions in escrow is very similar to other second home markets such as Chelan County, which currently has 7.8% in escrow. Port Ludlow has 9.9% of their inventory under contract and in escrow.
Metropolitan areas such as Snohomish County and Seattle are in FULL recovery and have 34% and 44% respectively, of their inventory under contract and in escrow. Their recovery includes multiple offers and bidding wars, both of which can be very stressful on parties involved in the transaction.
Press Release from the San Juan Island School District: The San Juan Island School District has learned about the tragic school shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, located in Snohomish County. Our hearts go out to the students and staff in the Marysville community. This brings to mind another example of concern about school safety and security. If you know of a student who needs help, please feel free to contact us on our safe schools reporting system located on our website at Safeschools Alert Reporting Link -https://sjisd-wa.
In addition, you can reach our schools at the following numbers:
District Office 378-4133
Friday Harbor Elementary School 378-5209
Friday Harbor Middle School 378-5214
Friday Harbor High School 378-5215
Griffin Bay School 378-3292
For emergencies please dial 911. Working together we can ensure our schools are safe for all. More here...
October Whales: Always a Surprise
Thanks to Monika Wieland of Orca Watcher for this post: We always say the peak whale-watching season in the San Juan Islands lasts through September. Once October hits, it seems we never really know what to expect. Sometimes the residents stay around still on almost a daily basis, and other times they become scarce almost as soon as the calendar changes. This year, in early October, we had J-Pod and part of K-Pod hanging around. On October 4th, I got to Lime Kiln just in time to see the second half of the group go north.
As the whales continued north, I was surprised by not one, but two, small groups of Pacific white-sided dolphins, or Lags. We've had small numbers of these guys around for much of the summer, and occasionally large groups of up to a hundred or more. They tend to be more common a bit further north in the Strait of Georgia and Johnstone Strait, but if they start hanging around here more often I don't think anyone will complain! These guys are awesome. 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:
Press Release from Deirdre Morris - Member, San Juan Islanders for Safe Shipping: Last weekend, the Russian cargo ship Simushir, “carrying mining equipment and unnamed solvents, as well as hundreds of tonnes of bunker and diesel fuel” (according to The Canadian Press) lost power and was drifting toward Haida Gwaii (aka Queen Charlotte Islands). Fortunately, disaster was averted this time when a tug finally reached the disabled ship and towed it to dock in Prince Rupert BC.
In stormy seas and with emergency equipment miles away, the Haida people had reason to fear the worst. This time they got lucky. Accidents happen. Islands are precious. That’s why we would like to protect ours. With the proposed increase in shipping coal, crude oil, and natural gas through our island waterways (on tankers 2 or more times larger than the Simushir), are we just hoping to get lucky, too? Or will we be prepared?
If we are not able to prevent the shipping expansion, then we deserve the best protection we can get. Please ask our representatives for emergency response towing and oil spill response equipment and personnel to be stationed in our own County. Continued here...
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...
Help Local Artist Aaron D'Errico with His Goal to Make a Printed Comic of Soccer Superhero, Ammon Walker
From Kickstarter.com: goal is to produce and release the 22-page, full-color comic book/manga origin story of Ammon Walker: “The World’s First Soccer-Hero, seen in this Emmy winning Q-13 Fox Sports news segment.
Anything over that funding goal of $11,000 to make printed comics of Ammon goes towards making a narrated, animated and scored motion comic book of Ammon.
Making Ammon's story is a personal goal for many reasons. I created Ammon from a desire to play pro soccer for the Seattle Sounders FC, like my Father, USMNT Captain and original NASL Seattle Sounders first round draft pick, David D’Errico, despite me living with cerebral palsy effecting my legs.
That kept me from entering the King 5/Disney Seattle Sounders Super Search contest in 2009, seeking people to tryout for the new Sounders team, yet that contest gave me a great idea for a story of a soccer super hero I’d been developing since 1998. Continued here...
A couple of weeks ago we received this sad Canada Goose from the mainland that had been found stuck in tar. Thankfully she was able to be removed, but she still had a large amount of tar covering her feet, legs, and belly and she had become stuck to the box she was transported over in. To remove her from the box, staff had to cut most of her belly feathers away, and then we wrapped her feet to keep them from sticking to anything else.
We don't know how long she had been stuck in the tar, but she was also lethargic, dehydrated, stressed and had breathing problems, probably from inhaling the fumes from the tar. Over the next 2 days we worked to treat these problems and to gradually remove the tar a little at a time, without stressing her too much. But, despite our best efforts, her condition worsened, and by the third day we sadly decided that the most humane course was to put her down and end her suffering.
We sometimes get calls about animals that are oiled, tarred, glued, covered in paint, or stuck in miscellaneous traps and we can have success in helping them depending on the severity. 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...
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...
Corrections to KING 5 Story Regarding Ferry Reservations
Press Release from San Juan Islands Ferry Group: KING 5 produced a story October 14th about the vehicle reservation that begins soon in the San Juan Islands. There are two errors that has asked the station to correct. We’re sharing them with you here in the hopes of avoiding confusion.
Here is the text of the corrections that were sent to KING 5: In addition to Anacortes-San Juan Island and Anacortes-Orcas Island, we also will offer reservations from Anacortes to Shaw and Lopez islands, just not from Shaw or Lopez to Anacortes. Also, I wanted to clarify our no-show policy. No-show fees only apply when reserved travel is not completed on the same day and terminal as booked.
It is true that customers have until 5 p.m. the day prior to reserved travel to cancel or change their reservation. However, if a customer arrives late and misses the sailing they have a reservation on, then they may use their reservation on a different sailing within the same service day from the same terminal without being charged a no-show fee. Read the story from KING 5 here. More 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...
Town Announces Improvements to Evergreen Park
Town of Friday Harbor Press Release: The Friday Harbor Town Council welcomes the public to enjoy the new walking path, picnic area and greenery recently added to Evergreen Park. The park is one of five parks within the Town, and is located off of Spruce Street on Green Way in the Greenway neighborhood.
“Sarena Schumacher has earned a special thanks from the Council and the community for the design and labor she put into this park,” said Town Administrator Duncan Wilson. Schumacher is an employee of the Town. Mr. Wilson added that the Council is actively encouraging the community to share ideas for additional improvements to the Town parks. Town parks are open to the public during daylight hours. Click here for a link to a map of Friday Harbor parks. The public is invited to suggest additional enhancements, please contact Duncan Wilson, Town Administrator (360) 378-2810, ext 226 firstname.lastname@example.org. More 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...
Whale Watch with J34
Thanks to Monika Wieland of Orca Watcher for this post: On Saturday, with some friends and family in town, we decided to head out on a morning whale watch trip with Western Prince. With all three pods hanging out on the banks the previous evening, I was worried they might all head out west and leave, but was thrilled instead to hear the news that whales were spread from Eagle Point to Hannah Heights as we left the harbor.
It was a beautiful day to be on the water, and fun to see some of my favorite spots from the water after spending so much more time on shore these days. Here's Cattle Point with harbor seals and cormorants on Goose Island in the foreground and the Olympic Mountains in the background (below left). As we pulled out into Haro Strait, the whales were suuuuuper spread out - one here, one there - and seemingly all foraging. Continued here...
New Fire Engine for SJI Fire & Rescue
Press Release from San Juan Island Fire & Rescue: Steve Marler received the first of six new fire engines from General Fire Apparatus on Friday morning, September 12, 2014. The engines were built in Lyons, South Dakota by the Rosenbauer Corporation and sold through General Fire Apparatus of Spokane, Washington. General Fire has been distributing fire engines since 1957. The new engines will replace five fire engines which are nearly 30 years old and satisfy an insurance industry requirement that penalizes policy holders when a community’s fire engines are more than ten years old.
By retiring a bond debt ahead of schedule, the fire district was able to purchase the new fire engines without asking the voters to raise their fire tax. Two of the older engines will be located on Shaw Island to help improve their fire suppression capabilities and to provide a shared emergency reserve engine for use on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw and San Juan Islands. The other three engines eventually will be sold as surplus property. Continued here...
WA State Art Grant for IMA
Press Release: The Washington State Building for the Arts advisory committee has selected the San Juans Islands Museum of Art (IMA) as one of 14 non-profit organizations from a field of 50 applicants. IMA placed number 6 out of the14 in their rankings of “desirability”, and incidentally, number two of those with an Arts orientation. The award can mean a $650,000 grant toward finishing the visual arts museum currently under construction. The list of recommended recipients will now be sent to the legislative branch for consideration in the upcoming capital budget.Ranking criteria include the ability to complete the project expediently, the organizational capacity to run the facility effectively, community need, and availability of other funding resources. 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 this year. 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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