San Juan Island Update - serving San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, and Roche Harbor

Photos with you in them:
Here is a gallery with over 110 photos
from the Fair and the Loop Run!
See yourself - see your neighbors!

Click here for yesterday's news...

August 24, 2007

Yvonne's pizza makes the big time in the Big Apple....
When Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso's pizza recipe won a paid trip to New York, she knew she was doing something right. As it happens, Yvonne (right) finished in the top five of the second Annual Cavit Gourmet Pizza Classic, and that's pretty cool.

To size up her competition and the winning entries, check out this article about the contest winners, who were chosen from over 15,000 entries. I also wanted to make her recipe for her Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pizza with Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts & Caramelized Onion available for you, so I made it a pdf that's easy to print (and go into the kitchen to make!) Click here for that. Make it, then bring me a piece & I'll tell you if you got it right.

Way to go, Yvonne!

Tonight & tomorrow at the Community Theatre....
If you're going to see the Encampment at English Camp you owe it to yourself to see Mike Vouri's Life & Times of General George Pickett (right) tonight at the SJCT...then tomorrow it's the Latin sounds of Correo Aereo. Click here for details.

Book signing at Griffin Bay Bookstore on Saturday
Laura at Griffin Bay has a happening:

Please join us for the book release party of local author Ron Keeshan’s new book “Journey into the Web of Life” ($24.95, Illumina Publishing) on Saturday, August 25 from 5-7pm at Griffin Bay Bookstore, 155 Spring Street. Light refreshments and music by Teddy Deane will be provided.

Ron and his wife, Liz, live on San Juan Island and have devoted much of their lives to photography and studying nature. “Journey into the Web of Life” documents their travels and their fierce protection of the environment. Ron and Liz support numerous environmental organizations and through their book hope to help preserve the earth’s fragile ecosystems for this and future generations.

Their book of stunning wildlife photography is comprised of four sections and begins with a chapter entitled “Isle of Wonder” which depicts the wildlife of San Juan Island. The second section focuses on the wildlife found in the North Pacific Flyway, an area from southern Washington to southern Alaska. The third section features the Keeshan’s total devotion to the study of grizzly bears and their survival. In the final section, the Keeshans use their photographs and beliefs in a discussion of the merits of creating a “web of life,” or eco-friendly environment, in your own backyard. They use their own San Juan Island home as an example of the beneficial beauty of this practice.

For questions about this event, please contact Griffin Bay Bookstore at 378-5511.

Pelindaba re-structures, AND grows...
Stephen Robins from Pelindaba sent me some exciting news, although it's a bit sad if you like that white-bean chili or African nut soup or those savory pies:

As a key part of a business restructuring, Pelindaba Downtown Friday Harbor has decided to cease serving light meals (soups, pies, salads, etc).  All other Café food and beverage offerings will continue as before. 

This change marks the first of several restructuring moves being made by the organization over the next few months in response to the continuing rapid growth in demand for Pelindaba's handcrafted lavender-based product lines.

“Food service, and especially non-lavender-containing foods, was not part of our original plan for Pelindaba Downtown, but rather came about through persistent demand as the community came to enjoy the unique space we had created to showcase our lavender food and drink lines,” said owner Stephen Robins.  

With the successful Downtown Seattle opening of the Pelindaba Lavender Product Gallery in the US Bank/City Centre building at Sixth & Union, and with more off-island stores in the works, it rapidly became obvious that the organization's overall mission would be better served by focusing attention, energies and resources more exclusively to the growth of the primary lavender-based business.

“We sincerely thank the many patrons of the Café for their encouragement and strong support for our food service offerings over the past three years,” said Robins.  “We look forward to continuing and expanding on other aspects of our multifaceted offerings on San Juan Island as we pursue the Pelindaba Project, remaining true throughout to our long-standing commitment to community service, open space preservation, and sustainable economic development.”

You've always wondered about seawood - here's the definitive word from a blog by O'Ceallaigh & The Quill...great fun. Check it out.

Too many people....
How many people are in the world? Check here.

Scientists now believe that the primary biological function of breasts is to make males stupid. - Dave Barry

Noted Photographer Rod Dresser to Give Free Lecture at Friday Harbor Labs
Over at the FH Labs, Bob sends this invite to the community:

Friday Harbor Laboratories invites the community to attend a free evening lecture by world famous photographer, Rod Dresser, on Tuesday, August 28th   at 7P.M. at Friday Harbor Labs in the Lecture Hall.  The topic will be on the history of photography, photographic collecting, and the status of the availability of silver gelatin material. Rod Dresser is a well-respected photographer, teacher and former assistant to Ansel Adams.

Rod's photographs are in many museums including The LA County Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum. His work is also in major collections in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Through a happy set of circumstances he met Ansel Adams and was eventually asked to serve on Ansel's staff as a Special Assistant. Rod had the unique privilege to work with Ansel and print off the master's negatives for the year prior to Adams' death in 1984. He continued to work at the Adams studio as a photographic assistant until 1987.

Rod is at Friday Harbor Labs to teach 6 students in a one-week workshop. The students, who have been chosen through a national juried competition, will be involved in a studying the entire traditional black and white process; beginning with negative exposure on day one and a display of mounted work by the students on the last day. There will be field trips to photograph the landscape and other subject matter on spectacular San Juan Island. Though there will be much technical information provided, the strongest emphasis will be on vision and esthetics.

For more information on Rod Dresser, go to his website at  For more information on the lecture, contact Bob Schwartzberg at 360-378-2175 ext. 2.

League of Women Voters of the San Juans Sponsors Puget Sound Partnership Session
Susan Dehlendorf (378-1082, wanted you & me to know about this:

Between 2008 and 2020 government will invest up to $8 billion to protect and restore our region's marine waters. A new state agency, the Puget Sound Partnership is in charge.

To find out how the new Partnership will undertake its environmental work, plan to attend the League of Women Voters of the San Juans' meeting from noon to 2 p.m., Wednesday, September 5 at the community room in Islanders' Bank Administration Building. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Guest speaker will be Hilary Culverwell, the Partnersip's s regional liaison, who works with local governments, tribes and other entities in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

The Puget Sound Partnership was created by the state legislature and began operation on July 1, 2007. It is the successor agency to the Puget Sound Action Team. By September 2008 it will create the 2020 Action Agenda which will identify and prioritize actions, name those responsible, identify funding, track progress and report the results publicly.

This meeting offers a special and timely opportunity to learn about efforts to protect and restore Puget Sound and its spectacular diversity of life, now and for future generations.

August 23, 2007

Questioning our water quality....
Where does the island's water come from? Generally, folks who live outside of town get theirs from wells & aquifers around the island (occasionally from de-salinization plants), while the folks who live in town get theirs from the Trout Lake Reservoir, which gets treated before we drink & use it.

Twice this year, the Town has mailed out a letter saying the triahalomethanes (called THMs for short) exceed the acceptable levels for drinking water, which echoes letters they sent in 2005, saying the same thing.

Here's a copy of the letter Town residents received, from the Town's website.

It includes this observation & recommendation:

This is not an immediate risk to your health. If it had been, we would have notified you immediately. However, some people who drink water over a long period that exceeds the acceptable level of triahalomethanes could experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system, or may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

You may wish to filter your drinking water by using activated carbon filters or simply leaving your tap water standing in a pitcher in the refrigerator overnight. These simple procedures help lower the THM's.

Last year I got a Brita filter for our water at home & in the office (both in town), and besides making the water taste better, it simply feels like a good idea, given the warning above. It's my hope we continue to hear more about this and other challenges that our water may have from our friends at Town Hall.

Steve's retiring....
After 21 years at the helm of the Port of Friday Harbor, port director Steve Simpson (left) announced at the Port Commission meeting last night that he'll be retiring at the end of the year.

We'll talk more about it all later, as we learn who is taking his place & how things might change, but for now it's easy to note that Steve has run a good ship at the Port for over two decades with a fair & steady hand, and he's going to be much missed.

He's the best.

Now you're famous!

The well-read National Geographic Traveler magazine features our own Juniper Maas (left) and her guesthouse Juniper Lane Guest House this month!


Music out at Roche Harbor...
Did you get a chance to hear Kate singing with the Local Harvest Band at the Fair? They were awesome! She tells me the songs go on:

Hi Ian! Great job on your "newspaper"! It reminds me of the Shaw column that used to appear in the Journal in the 60's. Check that out sometime!

Could you let folks know that there's local musicians playing at Roche Harbor weekends until mid-September? Keith Busha and Steve Keys play Friday afternoons 2 - 5, and Keith and I play Saturday afternoons 2 - 5. It's all on the deck at the Madrona Bar & Grill.

Thanks, Ian! Kate Schuman

The race is run....
While you & I were doing the Loop Run on Saturday, library director Laura Tretter was over in Victoria running a 50K as part of her tuneup for the Portland Marathon this fall. (That's a pic I have of her in the '04 marathon, here.)

Out at American Camp....
I took my friend Nick out to American Camp yesterday as part of his visit to the island, which reminded me of this photo by a photographer named Dave in Portland.

University grads from the island...
Last weekend at Portland State we had a couple of young women from here graduate - Robin Jacobson files this report:

Hi Ian,

Here's a photo I took at Liza's Portland State University Commencement last weekend. Several SJ Islanders traveled to Portland for the ceremony.

Pictured are Libby Concord, Liza Jacobson (both FHHS Class of 2003), Liz Illg and Janna Gingras.

Liza received a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science and has a great new job as a staff educator at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, one of the top ten science museums in the country.) She is saving up to visit Libby in England while she is in graduate school at the University of Bristol, beginning this fall. Libby's undergraduate Music degree is from the University of Puget Sound and her masters will be in Music History.

Thanks! Robin

Opening in a couple of weeks....
Dori & Kate Sears tell me everything is set for opening Stillpoint School this fall. The new school is located at 775 Park Street.

That's Kate with baby James in the picture (he was born a bit over a month ago), while Dori's due date is the first week of next month.

Robson Bight accident gets our attention...
It's a chilling picture - orcas swimming through diesel fuel from a barge accident at Robson Bight in Canada. Here's the story in yesterday's Globe & Mail.

And once again, another day dawns in which oil-carrying boats are escorted by tugs on the Canadian side (who apparently learned lessons from the Exxon Valdez), but continue on downsound without escort after they pass into American waters.

While a rescue tug was stationed at Neah Bay last year (an step in the right direction), we still need the escort tugs. An oil-carrying vessel with a million gallons of petrol losing power and running aground on Stuart's avoidable.

Today's quote
A first grade school teacher in Virginia had twenty five students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the first half of a well known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb.

It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.

While reading, keep in mind that these are first graders, 6-year olds, because the last one is a classic.

1. Don't change horses.................................................until they stop running

2. Strike while the........................................................bug is close

3. It's always darkest before..........................................Daylight Saving Time

4. Never underestimate the power of...............................termites

5. You can lead a horse to water

6. Don't bite the hand that.............................................looks dirty

7. No news is...............................................................impossible

8. A miss is as good as a.............................................Mr.

9. You can't teach an old dog new.................................math

10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll.................................stink in the morning

11. Love all,

12. The pen is mightier than the.....................................pigs

13. An idle mind is........................................................the best way to relax

14. Where there's smoke there's....................................pollution

15. Happy the bride who................................................gets all the presents

16. A penny saved is....................................................not much

17. Two's company, three's...........................................the Musketeers

18. Don't put off till tomorrow put on to go to bed

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry have to blow your nose

20. There are none so blind as.......................................Steve Wonder

21. Children should be seen and not...............................spanked or grounded

22. If at first you don't succeed.......................................get new batteries

23. You get out of something only what you....................see in the picture on the box

24. When the blind lead the blind....................................get out of the way


25. Better late than.......................................................pregnant

August 22, 2007

Another new baby to report....
Port Director Steve Simpson shot this picture of everybody's favorite harbor seal Popeye (she's called that 'cause one of her eyes is bigger than the other, not because she eats spinach, or seaweed) and her pup. She was in the water near Brenda & Eric's seafood place on the dock.....

Amy from the Whale Museum's Marine Mammal Stranding Network checked in with this report:

Hi Ian:
Steve Simpson of the Port sent these pics of Popeye and her baby to The Whale Museum. It's funny because almost every time I (the Sranding Network) gets a call about a seal pup in the marina area, there's always rumors that it belongs to Popeye.

Last week again three people mentioned to me that Popeye had a baby but I wasn't convinced until I actually saw the pics! I actually saw just Popeye in front of the ice cream shop around 12:00 yesterday - no pup that I could see. I'm very curious if anyone knows where she might stash her pup while she goes around and begs! That way if I do get a stranding call from the marina, I can seriously consider the fact that it may, indeed, belong to Popeye!! Thanks, Amy

Speaking of the whales speaking...
Monika Weiland is presenting at the Museum tonight - Monika's talk "Acoustic Communication of Southern Resident Killer Whales" will discuss previous studies and what is known about acoustic communication in Southern Residents as well as her research on the use of the discrete calls that make up their vocal repertoires. Following the lecture, Wieland will be available to sign her new book "Orca Encounters." Here's more.

Up for an Emmy next month....
You know Anand Khokha - he's the fellow who shot the wonderful pictures of southeastern Asian folks that hang in the Golden Triangle restaurant downtown (here's his site).

He lives on the west side of the island - he tells me his daughter Sasha Khokha's documentary Calcutta Calling has been nominated for an Emmy....she works for NPR station KQED down near San Francisco/Fresno. Way cool - here's more.

Joe's new CD is out...
You may have seen Joe Bongiorno on-island a couple of other times this summer, including the FHHS '87 reunion...he lived here till '97, when he moved to Seattle to make his fame & fortune. He's presently the general manager at Piatti in the University Village, and has become well-known internationally as a solo piano player, getting lots of airtime on Internet radio stations that specialize in the genre, and selling lots of CDs & downloads of his songs.

Well, he just released his third CD Somewhere Within last week, and it'll be available online (with samples if you wanna hear it) and at Island Studios later this week. Check it out...he's another gifted islander whose art is touching people around the world. The whole earth. The planet. Pretty cool.

A little bit to help out...
I had heard the EMT folks got a donation at the Fair, but found out there was more to the story when I asked Birgit Kriete from the EMT Association:

Hi, Ian! The donation was for $1000.00 through the San Juan Community Foundation. At the fair, the San Juan Community Foundation offered to donate $1000 to an island non-profit, as selected by fair attendees. The EMT Association, Rotary and the Home Trust were alternately in the lead as islanders cast their votes in the form of donations to the Foundation. The Foundation decided, very generously, to make a $1000 donation to each of the three groups.

Anyone who thinks there's safety in numbers hasn't looked at the stock market pages. - Irene Peter

August 21, 2007

Meeting up & kissing babies...
Besides graduation, the Fair, and the Fourth of July, the place that most islanders get together & visit is the produce section of King's Market.

That's Laurie Buck (right) admiring Val & Neil Curtis' new baby Cole, right next to the potatoes.

Looking good...
It was good to see Stephen Robins up & about at the Fair, after the heart work he had done last month - he's looking healthy & well, and has kind of a glow. It's a purple glow, but that what happens when you hang around that much lavender. Looks like it works!

Similarly, Tim Cowell was moving well only 2-3 weeks after his surgery when I saw him at the food court at the Fair with Kathy - it's good to see our friends on their feet.

Cool bookstores 'R Us....
You know, and I know, that a place our size having four bookstores is not only numerically wonderful, but also is proof this a great place to live.

This blog has a write up of one writer's visit to the island & her love affair with our bookstores...check it out.

Moving on...
Regular Update readers know that I'm a huge fan of John Sinclair's photography and his wife Liziee's work with Natural Horsemanship. When I saw them with shy daughter Cameron (right) at the Fair they told me they're making plans to move to Thailand soon.

Local firefighters deployed to help with wildlands fire near Hanford....
Wanda from the County Fire Department sent me this writeup of what local heroes Noel, Tad & Michael are up to:

This last Friday, August 17th while locals and tourists alike enjoyed the festivities of our local fair, the San Juan Island Fire Department dispatched three firefighters and a wildland fire engine to assist firefighters attempting to contain a 43,000-plus acre wildland fire near Benton City, WA.  The fire, which was burning near the Hanford Site, threatened 250 structures including residences within Benton City.

Lieutenant Noel Monin was assigned to the incident as a Strike Team Leader.  Lieutenant Tad Lean and Firefighter Michael Henderson responded in one of the San Juan Island Fire Department's specialized wildland firefighting vehicles. 

Over the course of their three day mobilization, they were assigned to assist with efforts to protect threatened structures.  While some deployments could last up to 14 days, depending upon fire behavior, recent weather contributed favorably in this particular event and as of this morning, the fire, dubbed the “Wautoma” incident, has been contained.

San Juan Island Fire Department personnel are often asked to participate in wildland fires statewide. Local firefighters have earned a good reputation off-island for being well trained and skilled, essential assets when it comes to battling the region's wildland fires which rage each summer. All factors are considered when a request is received to ensure local needs are not impacted.

Speaking of the Fire Department.....
It wasn't a fire sale, exactly, but Carolyn from the Fire Department (right) and Beth from Harbor Books found some good deals at the Mullis Center's Garage Sale a couple of weekends ago.

Where the ferry is...
You already know that you can look at the ferry cams at Island Cam to see what's docking where, but if you really want to know where your boat is (and how late you are, or early for the next one), click here for this GPS rendering of where the boats are in the water, between islands.

By the way, I keep a link to that page at the bottom of this page, for your convenience.

Superpod & a new baby...
They just don't happen that often - my friends Roxy & Pete went out with San Juan Safaris on Sunday & saw a transient whale (that's rare) and a superpod with all three pods coming together (that's way rare). Pretty cool.

Meanwhile, Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research says they have positively identified the new calf in L pod & assigned it the number of's the kid of 17-year-old L83. Here's a pic of the new baby (you may have to scroll down that page a bit.) This brings the number of orcas in our three pods to 87.

Speaking of sales, not whales....
Yep, Teri & Maureen at Dominique's are having their end-of-summer sale that started last weekend - 50% to 75% savings on all summer merchandise!!

That's Teri with her son Conner right before Saturday's race.

The Encampment is coming....
It's this coming weekend, and it's great.

Every year I've gone, I learn more about how it was to live 150 years ago, here on the's more about the tenth anniversary of this event, with a bunch of pictures - you'll get the idea.

See ya there.

Before you go back to work....
Look at this. It'll put you in a good mood. (Ya need Windows Media Player to see/hear it.)

Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work - that goes on, it adds up. - Barbara Kingsolver

August 20, 2007

A look back at the Fair....
Maybe the great thing about the County Fair is that there are so many points of contact for so many islanders. There are all the exhibits of clothes & animals & art, where we can show each other how talented we are, as well as the music and the vendor booths and beads/shirts/buttons you can wear by the end of the day.

Then there's the great gathering place of the food court with friends...if you don't see someone you'd like to talk to, just sit there & someone will come along shortly.

So, here are my portfolios of the Fair and of the Loop Run, taken by me and my student intern Michael Nelson over the past few days. There are over 100 photos involved, with some 300-400 people you know in them - see if you're in there. You are, you know.

The Loop Run...local boys make good.....
Gallery of photos from the race (click here)
It was the 30th running of what is now called the 8.8K Loop Run (it started life as the Record Run, then the Journal Run - here are a couple of vintage shirts), and the weather was exactly what you'd want - not sunny, not hot, not cold or windy, and it didn't rain....just like Baby Bear's porridge, it was just right.

The men's side was won by FHHS senior Otto Schmidt (right), followed eleven seconds later by FHHS frosh Nick Roberts (here's a pic of them about a mile from the finish). The women's side was led by Gaylene Donner about three minutes later - click here for complete results & to see your name.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. - Henry David Thoreau

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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