June 6, 2007

Agi passes: Sunday morning, our friend Agi passed away at her home here on the island. The island, and the world, couldn't have a lost a greater friend.

You saw her everywhere - each County Fair, she was at the Amnesty International booth; helping set up an AI charter at the high school; speaking about her life during the Holocaust and after; marching in the Fourth of July parade; and, earlier this year, on stage playing violin. She played that night, as she did so much of her life, so well - her grace and charm and incredible intelligence, all put to the service of people here and around the world who were oppressed, will be much missed. Here's a bit from the AI (USA) blog about her:

Many of you know Agnes Vadas, founder, as well as longtime group coordinator, of the Friday Harbor Group 607 (Friday Harbor is part of the San Juan Islands, a cluster of islands off the coast of northwest Washington). Agnes passed Sunday, June 3, 2007 after a long sparkling life.

She was born and raised in Budapest where she survived the holocaust in a Budapest ghetto and remained in Hungary throughout German occupation, escaping as the Soviet regime started to become stiflingly repressive. She escaped Hungary in 1956, walking across Europe to the liberated west. Having been something of a child prodigy, she was a violinist from early childhood on. By the time she left Hungary she was rather well known. She'd been a State Soloist, concertized in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, and received several international prizes. From 1956 to 1962 she lived in Paris. From 1962 to 1966 she resided in Germany. Came to the United States in 1966 and taught at the Universities of Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Ithaca New York. (Also played as a soloist in those states.) In 1980 Agnes joined the San Francisco Opera orchestra from where she retired in 1993.

Not only was Agnes an accomplished violinist, but she was also an author, writing about her childhood and harrowing flight across Europe to escape the communist revolution, and in later years publishing her letter correspondence with Ohio death row inmate, Richard Neilds.

Those of us who know and love Agnes will remember her humor, spunky nature and will most certainly never forget her unflappable dedication to human rights.

Quote: "I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have the light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me." - Henri Matisse

June 5, 2007

Jazz at the Labs: If you haven't taken the chance to hear the annual Jazz at the Labs at the Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, this is a great weekend to go - the show is so hot that KPLU is recording it...here's more:

On Saturday night, June 9th, Friday Harbor Laboratories will hold its 7th annual ‘Jazz at the Labs’ - an evening of food, fun and great music at the Labs. As in the past, proceeds from ‘Jazz at the Labs’ will benefit the Friday Harbor Laboratories K-12 Science Outreach Program in the San Juan Island Elementary, Middle and High Schools and the Spring Street School. Here's more....

See you there!

Quote: "Do not say, 'It is morning,' and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name." - Rabindranath Tagore

Here's a portfolio of pictures from the start of the race, and some of the finishers. There are a bunch of islanders in there - see whom you know!

June 4, 2007

The fifth one was great: It's the fifth time since it was begun in 2003, and it was a great one.

Everybody knows that marathon-type runners will run in any kind of weather, so last year's rainy & chilly start was actually welcomed by the second or third mile. But, you know, it's also nice for runners and their support when it's a pleasant 50s-something start temp with the sun out, on a day you're glad to be outside.

The winners are posted on the San Juan Islander (there was a tie for first in the Marathon, as the winners crossed the line hand-in-hand).

Jason Sawyer sent me some cool pictures, including one of the women from the island who ran on Sunday:

Even though one of my women friends responded to my question, "How are you feeling?" with something about that's not somethng you wanna ask after this kind of run, or childbirth, she also said it's like childbirth because you forget how you feel & come back again next year.

Jason sent me one of the best pix I've seen yet from the event - the kids cheering for their moms with a third of the race to go (here's the same shot from the other side)....

It was nice to talk to people from all over - there were runners from Boston & Texas & Connecticut & Orcas & Idaho, people who made the trip to run in a beautiful place.

Kudos to organizers Clark Gilbert & Paul Hopkins (helped by Samantha Gilbert & Jane Hutchinson & a cast of zillions of volunteers) for pulling off a continually cool shoulder-season event which draws a couple of thousand visitors (runners & their support) to the island before the regular tourist season gets going. Clark told me the official number of runners was 431, up about ten percent from last year. Far as I can tell, the race just gets better each year.

Gone to the chapel...: Remember Maia Yip, who worked at Coldwell Banker for so long? She's working at Camp Nor'wester now, and came by to tell me she got married to her friend Kenny, so I took a picture of them.

Katelyn, on the ferry: Here's a nicely composed picture, which you'll want to frame. Check the whole set.

How they see us: Here's a blog posting their air trip to the island - here's what they think.

Passing: James Lundin moved from the island seven years ago, and passed away while serving in Iraq last week. Here's more.

Quote: "You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion." - Meister Eckhart

June 2, 2007

Alums play hard, everybody wins: Last night it was a great community project - FHHS junior Kiersten Radden put together a varsity vs alumni game for the guys & the girls, and it was great to see how it turned out.

The games attracted a near-full house, with both squads of alums needing more chairs for a bench, because so many ex-players wanted to get in there.

It was cool to see Rod Turnbull bringing the ball up the court, just like in the old days, as well as just-graduated Chris Benz back to play, too. Kiersten (right) said it surprised her how the older players were so easy to recruit - everybody wanted to play. She said the event went so well that she'll try to do it again next year.

And the winners? Everybody - it was cool to see the kids cheering for their coaches & former coaches, and the adults gasping & hollering "Wow!" at the acrobatics of the varsity. And...at the end of the night, the big winner was Purple & Gold, the parents' support group.

That's present FHHS player Parker Lawson (soph next year) in purple working it inside with last year's grad Chad Stoddard on defense...Kiersten got the shirts made, too, so you could tell who was who.

Ferry crash leaves the islands short: After that ferry crash on the Mukilteo run yesterday, the WSF re-assigned the Evergreen State (87 vehicles) to help with the crush there (they have about 11,000 commuters each workday), replacing it with the much smaller Nisqually (59 vehicles).

With hundreds expected to visit the island this weekend with the marathon & the golf classic & all the stuff going on, this isn't a great weekend for us to be operating short, but we'll make do. Glad no one was hurt downsound.

No complaints. Hey, we have boats.

On sale: Teri & Maureen tell me they have a start-of-the-summer sale going on, with special markdowns & deals at Dominique's Clothing...this is a great weekend to drop by & see what they've been up to!

By the way, that's Teri in the masthead on the top of the page, coming home on the ferry at sunset last fall after a soccer game. We won, by the way. (I knew you'd ask.)

New school on the block: If you've ever seen Dori Sears and Kate Sears around kids, you know they're natural teachers who understand the role that having a kid enjoy learning has in making education work.

Well, they're putting their experience (and enthusiasm!) to work by beginning a new school in town this fall for K-5 students, with the first day of school set for the day after Labor Day. I could tell you a bunch about the school, but their website does a better job, so here.

Education runs in the family, with their mom Peg Hodgkins serving as a longtime teacher at FHES, and grandma Sally Bryan presently serving on the school board for the district here.

And yes, these two identical twins are married to identical twins (which is why they have the same last name), and both are giving birth not only to a new school, but also children (in July & September - so everything's not exactly identical!)

It's a gas: A good friend asked me how much gas was in town, so I went to check when I went to lunch, and found the Big Store sign had different prices on opposite sides of the sign.

I guess if I was really curious I would have sidled over to the pump to check if they all had the same prices, too.

Walks With Thunder returns: Kenneth at the Spirit Tree says he's back for another workshop:

Spirit Tree Gifts is honored to host Walks With Thunder's Healing Drum Circle on Saturday June 9th 1:00 – 3:00pm and from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The class fee is $45.

The Beat of the Drum Connects our Heart With the Heartbeat of Mother Earth.

This is a healing interactive class. Feel welcomed to bring your aches and pains, as we will work to make these ease or even go away. The more people we have gathered the more free energy we will draw upon. Diversity is the heart of creativity.

The drum is a deep and sacred part of Native American culture. The beat of the drum is in sync with the heartbeat of Mother Earth. It is the healing rhythm that we hear when singing, dancing, or walking through the world. The round form of the drum represents the circle of life and the whole universe. Its steady strong beat is the pulse, or the heartbeat, at the center of our world.

Please bring a Drum or a Rattle or a Flute, and comfortable dancing shoes.

Quote: "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." - St. Francis of Assisi

June 1, 2007

Sticking up for our friends: Earlier this week, the "big story"around the islands was that some jerks burned the little American flags put on graves of vets over on Orcas, and replaced them with flags with swastikas on them. (Here's the story, from the San Juan Islander.) Heck, I heard the story on the Seattle radio the next morning, and heard that it was in Pravda later in the week.

Good enough, but here's the deal.

The people that did that don't represent us. It's not the island way. We have room for folks here - anybody - and destroying folks' efforts to honor those who have gone before simply isn't the way we do things. The people who did that aren't us. It's not a liberal or conservative thing, or a pro-war or pro-peace thing...our community, as a whole, loves our country & our home & is appalled that anyone would do such a thing to someone's grave.

It's hard to understand how lost someone must feel, to have done that.

I heard that some people from off-island have said they won't come here to visit this summer, because our community condones such a thing. I heard others say it's the liberals that did it. Well, that's both illogical & unsubstantiated - I don't know anyone who condones it, not one person, and the liberals I know would never make a statement that way. As we come to terms with this awful act, let's don't make the mistake that just because one person (or persons) does something awful, that we're all complicit.

May 31, 2007

Susan's grandchild: Remember yesterday I told you about Susan Eyerly's grandchild? That's her son Frank's Owen (at left, with mom Erin) - born Saturday, May 26th at 1:19pm (10 days overdue). 8 lbs. 1 oz., 21 1/2" long.

The glow: Yep, I ran into Neil Curtis at the store last night, and he says he & Val & baby Cole just returned from the mainland....he was just glowing, still. They're gonna make great parents...

Blue moon: Once in a blue moon - what the expression means is those rare months which have two full moons (that's today & we had one on May 2, you'll remember).

Happy blue moon to ya....

Petrol on the rise: The gas price posted at the Big Store last night was $3.86, with no particular indication it's going down. Here's more on the effects of rising prices on summer travel....

Artists' reception at waterworks gallery this Friday: Ruth tells me you can meet Linda Lighton, white ware lustre fired ceramic sculptures and Ian Martin, photogravures and hand colored photogravures. Reception to meet the artists on Friday, June 1 from 5.30 to 8.00. Gallery hours in June are Tuesday thru Saturday, 10.30 to 5.30 and the gallery will be open first Sunday, June 3, 12.00 to 5.00, Linda Lighton will talk about her work.

New beginning: The dream was begun yesterday, as the ground was turned for the beginning of the Village on the Harbour project, across from Marketplace.

That's (from left) Brian Brown, Bill Ragland (hidden), Seanene Kennedy, Gordon Steele, and Mayor David Jones getting the project going in yesterday's sunny afternoon. The assisted living center is expected to be finished next year.

Photo by Bruce Gregory for the Update.

Passing: Shirley Nielsen's long bout with illness came to an end last weekend. She had moved here after university back in the 1950s, and was an established part of the direction the island, and Friday Harbor, evolved into what it is today. She'll be missed...here's the writeup from the San Juan Islander.

New yoga class: Amy Trainer (left) is going to offer a new yoga class:

I will be teaching a yoga class on Tuesday evenings from 5:45 to 7:00 beginning June 5th. Please consider joining me! Here's more...

Karaoke queen, maybe: Kristina Thalaker reports that we have a rising star - you'll remember Dr. Kimberly lived here, doing chiropractic for a few years:

Ian, here is the photo of Kimberly Cincilla singing in the karaoke competition on May 19th that I told you about. She won her qualifier so will compete again on August 3rd. If she wins that round, she will be opening for Keith Anderson and Josh Turner at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe on Aug 30th. - KT

Quote: "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching." - Satchel Paige, baseball pitcher

May 30, 2007

The Island's Artists' Studio Tour is this weekend: Be sure & check out the Tour this year!

It's Saturday & Sunday - here's the scoop.

The artists this season: Beth Hetrick, Michael Bertrand, Debbie Pigman, Linda Jensen, Melanie Hester, Riki Schumacher, Chinmayo, Dona Reed, Andria Butwinick, Nancy Spaulding, Lewis Spaulding, Darleen Nixon, Peter Fromm, Beth Spadafora, Pat McDole, Kristy Gjesme, Paula West (above, in photo), Tom Small, Thaddeus Krol, Pat McDole, Mary Sly & Dan Wyatt, and Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso.

For a map of the studios, so you can see these talented folks, check here.

Quote: "I would venture to warn against too great intimacy with artists as it is very seductive and a little dangerous." - Queen Victoria

Concert for Darfur: Some folks are trying to bring a bit of light into the present darkness in Sudan, and one is my good friend Becky Phillips' mom, who's got a concert on Friday in Mt. Vernon....sounds like it'll be a ggod evening for a good cause, if you're headed that way. It's received rave reviews in its previouse performances:

Hi Ian... I thought I'd shamelessly plug my mom's upcoming concert... She recently founded a non-profit group that sings chamber music to raise money for local (and not so local) causes in the Mount Vernon area. Their group is doing a benefit concert for the survivors of the civil war in Darfur on Friday, June 1st. I've attached the poster, in case you'll spread the word for them! Thanks... Becky Phillips

(If you want more about the concert, click on the poster for a larger version.)

Griffin Bay re-opens: Laura got Griffin Bay Books open this weekend just in time for the big weekend, and for the summer...and that's a huge achievement. She's gonna get the coffee part hoppin' in the next couple of weeks, and is still working on the shelves & paint, but you're gonna like the open, sunny feel of the new spot, in the shop that used to be the Toggery on Spring Street.

Meanwhile, Susan Eyerly's gotta be smiling, as her grandkid was born Saturday as well...I'll get more on that tomorrow.....

Let 'em eat cake: That'll make 'em happy - check out Carlene's Cakes' new site.

Headed to the frozen North: Shannon Bailey from the Pacific Catalyst says she had some local riders earlier this month:

Ian, Locals Susan Harris (far right), Liz Little and Andy Urbach joined us on the northbound trip to Alaska on the Catalyst. Susan celebrated her 75th birthday with us. - Shannon

It's the principal of the thing: Yesterday was the day folks could meet the finalists for the principal's job at FHHS - Rick Bartman & Bob O’Connor. The search committee should make its recommendation later this week....

The direction that Town is headed: The Town's Historic Preservation Coordinator, Sandy Strehlou, tells me there's a forum set for Friday:

Our Town: Economic Incentives for Historic Properties in Friday Harbor

Friday, June 1, 2007, 8:30 am-noon at the Historic Grange Hall, 152 N First Street, Friday Harbor....

Dear Friends:

Please mark your calendar and plan to attend an upcoming community forum sponsored by the Town of Friday Harbor. The event promises to be a insightful discussion on the incentive-based strategies being used by property owners, local governments and community organizations throughout Washington to preserve and adaptively re-use historic buildings and landmarks—incentives that are being considered for implementation locally. Here's more....

Internship: The Conservation District's Steve Hussey tells me there's an opening:

The Washington chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is funding a 10 week paid internship on San Juan Island during the summer of 2007. The intern will be working on a wide range of educational and outreach projects with the SJC Marine Resources Committee. Hours and dates of work are somewhat flexible. Email applications are preferred - contact Jody Kennedy at jkennedy@surfrider.org or call 206.940.6509.

What's up, Dock? Sally from Island Rec says they completed the renovation of the Egg Lake dock this weekend - that's Island Rec board Commissioners (standing at the bottom of the ramp) Scott Zehner on the left and Jim Ricks on the right. Jim chaired this project) with Leos and high school students working in the background.

Here's more:

On Saturday May 26, Island Rec, the Leo Club and students from Friday Harbor High School installed a new dock at Egg Lake. Island Rec initiated this project, under the leadership of Board Commissioner Jim Ricks, earlier this year when repairs to the existing dock were no longer a feasible option. The original dock was built by the Lion’s Club around 1978 and was later replaced by Island Rec and Lions Club. 

The new completed dock, expected to last much longer then the original dock, consists of an aluminum ramp, two 6 foot by 15 foot floats, a 8 foot by 18 foot float and swim ladder. Island Rec collaborated with Leos, a youth based community service group of the Lions Club, and Friday Harbor High School students through the Gates Grant, along with Larry Wight High School Advisor to see this project through.

Total cost of this project was over $8,000. $2,500 was received from the Gates Grant with the balance paid by Island Rec and significant contributions made by Browne Lumber and Williams Enterprise. Egg Lake Dock is the only public dock on San Juan Island that accesses fresh water.

Barbershop singers, unite! It's happening at the Community Theatre this weekend on Sunday - here's details. It was sold out last year, so go get your tix now, late bloomer.

Then: Go by the Health & Fitness Expo, at the Fairgrounds on Saturday before Sunday's Marathon.

Then: Say hey to Clark Gilbert, who puts on the Marathon with Paul Hopkins, 'cause Clark's gonna be a grandpa. Here's the rest of the story, by his son Ammon (with to-be mom Angela).

The information here is simply stuff we here at By Design think is important around Friday Harbor or on San Juan Island.

Some of it is news, some of it is old news, and all are just things we wanted to mention, with most of it about the things that make living here great.

There will be more next week, if anything happens.

Ian Byington

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