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Friday Harbor - San Juan Island Update


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prepared weekly or so by Ian Byington
To comment, feel free to add to our guestbook, or view it.

March 15, 2001

Whales & whales: I asked Western Prince's Jean to let me know how the Whale Watch meeting on Tuesday went, and she filed this report (it's kinda long so I made a separate page for it).

Sports: Both baseball and softball got started with wins yesterday...way to go. The boys hope to return to state, while the girls hope to build on a solid group from last year. Great things ahead.


March 13, 2001

And the winds did blow: The breezy evening last night led to brief, cool showers this morning, and that has given way to a blue-sky, unseasonably warm mid-day (see the photo of the Port, right). It'll be fun to see what comes around this afternoon.

Looks like rain...

You can tell it's almost spring around here because there are so many runners out in the morning, getting in shape for the summer, spring sports start at FHHS this week, and businesses are gearing up for the season. All that will kick into higher gear after the equinox next week.

Ralph bows out: Four years ago Ralph Hahn came to FHHS as principal. During that time he has overseen the remodel of the school, a steady upgrade of academic standards, and an increase in what he calls the Wolverine Spirit. I've worked with Ralph on different projects at school, and his enthusiasm for education and his concern and care for kids is wonderful to be around. Good luck to him in his retirement.

The new subdivision jumps a hurdle: That new multi-lot subdivision - last count: 44 lots - at the end of Grover Street (above the elementary school) has been approved by the Planning Commission, and now awaits review and approval by the Town Council. Matt & Sharon have the whole story.

Osito's sold: Celie Lansing tells me she sold Osito's, but toy-lovers don't need to worry...she says the new owners are going to keep the same attention to toy inventory she has all these years. She tells me they're really nice, and to go by & say hi...

Meanwhile, the Lighthouse Restaurant opened last week on the 7th...they're located on the corner above The Blue Dolphin, in the old Roberto's building (shown below, freshly re-painted).

People around here still call things by their old names...Friday Harbor Grocery is still Whitey's to many locals; the place that is now Haley's used to be the Riptide and the Wounded Pig; Vic's was called the Driftwood Drive-in for a while; Downrigger's used to be the Mariner Restaurant, and China Pearl was called Turnagain (pronounced "turn-again" and probably spelled wrong here), and of course, Bella Luna used to be the Electric Company (named after the kids' TV show).

The Front Street Cafe was long known as the Sweet Tooth Saloon, which was originally began by Mary Lou DuBoise where Amigo's has their salsa shop now.

Mullis Community Senior Center opens: You now, it's finally open & ready for business. Actually, looking at the crowd of cars in the lot this morning, they're already GETTING the business. Director Susan Schirmer says the long-awaited Center is scheduling events already - and that you should drop by and check it out.

And...the parking lot just got paved last a couple of days ago, so you won't sink in the mud. Go visit!



March 1, 2001

Earthquakes, again: Yeah, we noticed we had a quake. Bill Chevalier said he thought a big truck was going by, but it felt like a really big truck that kept going by. A cashier at King's said the people working upstairs could feel the shaking and swaying better than than folks downstairs, while Dan Gillespie, who works on the bottom floor of the Courthouse, said he could barely feel it.

Meanwhile, Commisioner Darcie Nielsen wrote in with a county-wide request:

Hi Ian!

Wow, the earthquake was pretty scary here in the courthouse! I was sitting
in my office here on the 2nd floor of the 1906 brick courthouse talking on
the phone with Senator Spanel's office about affordable housing when it hit.
Mary Kay at Sen. Spanel's office said "Oh, my God, we're having an earthquake"
and hung up and then a few seconds later the old courthouse swayed and
creaked. We dove under desks and stood under door frames. We have
discovered some cracks in the courthouse and other county buildings but
nothing major yet. We are inspecting our roads, ferry docks, and bridges.

Please advise your readers to refrain from using the solid waste facilities
here on the islands in the next few days. Our refuse is transported
off-island by truck to Seattle where it is long-hauled by train to a
regional landfill in southeast WA. Train tracks south of Seattle have been
damaged due to the earthquake and therefore the garbage trains can't get
through and Seattle has very limited storage capacity. We may not be able
to long-haul for a week or so and we also have very limited storage at our
transfer facilities in the islands. So please REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and
keep it at home for awhile longer!

Thank you for your help in getting the word out on this, Ian!

Darcie Nielsen
San Juan County Commissioner
(360) 378-2898


Another tax cut, another needed service cut: The earthquake struck the day President Bush proposed to kill a federal program designed to help communities protect themselves against the effects of natural disasters.

Bush's budget recommends saving $25 million by ending the Project Impact disaster preparedness program, saying it "has not proven effective." Seattle was one of the nation's first Project Impact communities, and authorities there are crediting the program with enabling the city to withstand major damage yesterday.

February 28, 2001

Earthquake: I'm sure you've heard by now about Seattle's earthquake this morning at nearly 11...we felt it here as a pretty good shake. Jill at the elementary school said the kids handled it well, and reported no damage, while I had to go restack some things in my kitchen window.

The shaking lasted for perhaps 15-20 seconds, and was recorded in Seattle as a 6.2 quake.

Dining for Dollars: As if you needed an excuse to eat out - the scholarship fund (which benefits graduating FHHS seniors) receives half the proceeds from folks eating at these restuarants on Thursday, March 1st:

Angie's Cannery House
Bella Luna
China Pearl
Friday Harbor House
Haley's Bait Shop
Herb's Tavern
Hungry Clam
Mi Casita
Roche Harbor
San Juan Brewing Company
The Place Next to the SJ Ferry


February 26, 2001

Basketball bows out: The first game with LaConner, months ago, we lost by one; the second was a replay of a previous game (which we won) because the clock was funky - which we then lost. But Saturday's match was for a trip to State...and sure enough, the game stretched into overtime & high drama as they nipped up by four.

The boys should be congratulated for going as far as they did - 15-9 for the year and a near-shot at state - all in all, a good year.

February 24, 2001

Basketball, down to the wire: Well, this is it. With Thursday's loss to King's in the tri-district playoffs, our boys have one last chance to go to state: Tonight's game (at 3:30pm, at Mountlake Terrace High) against LaConner. Yep, we lost to them twice this year - by one and not much the second time - so it should be a dandy.

Second year: Felicity at Felicitations is having a second anniversary celebration today...drop by for some free food and to thank her for doing such a great job.

Bob passes: Hearing that Bob Buck passed away last week at 83...his loss leaves a empty place in the community. Bob had a long a distinguished career in law and other things, including being a well-respected member of the community. All the best to Barbara...he'll be missed.

Surprise: Yep, it's true - there's a surprise birthday party for Emily Reed at the Grange at 5:30pm on Monday. It's a potluck with music and memories. Drop by to say hey to the person Tricia Justice calls the "saint of the San Juan Islands." (Call Tricia for details...)

Ferry meeting: It was mostly civil, but Wednesday's meeting with the ferry folks mostly affirmed what many feared: that the proposed fare increases for this summer are pretty much inevitable. If you're interested in the details, see Matt's well-prepared article in the San Juan Islander, online.

In otter news: I was talking to Jim Asher on the phone today & he said there was a four foot otter just outside. That's pretty big, for those of you keeping score at home.


February 20, 2001

Sunny: Wasn't the weekend great? After all the snow melted, the sun came out & stayed...yesterday was wonderful - alost everyone I ran into said it felt as though spring had arrived, maybe a little early. Since it's winter break here - the kids have the week off - get outside and play.

Boys' trip to state goes through Darrington, again: The FHHS boys lost their first game in the tri-district playoff on Saturday by over 40 points to Seattle Christian, but return to charted territory against Darrington tonight at 6:30pm at Mountlake Terrace High near Edmonds. Our Wolverines beat our league's champs earlier this month after losing to them early in the season, so we actually bring some momentum into the game.

A loss sends FHHS home for the season; a win means we play later in the week to see if we continue. Parent Anne Williams reports that the crowd will do a "cheer ring" for the boys when they're announced & introduced tonight; be sure & drop by the game if you're on the mainland! (Or - get on down there!)

The meeting: The Ferry Meeting to discuss the rate hikes is tomorrow night. Be there.

February 16, 2001

Snowed in: And then the snow snowed through the night and through the morning today. Over at the Middle School, Cathy Bordi had her Humanities kids measure the accumulation till school let out at mid-morning, and reported it went from two to five inches. She reported her class was about half full; over at the elementary school numbers were down as well - it's hard to get to town from the far reaches of the island!

The picture at the right looks down Argyle Street on the way to Griffin Bay, early this morning.

Nancy Young at Coldwell Banker told me it was fun watching people do wheelies in the snow outside her window downtown.

Should warm up tomorrow (according to the weather report). Till then, this is pretty exciting for our first (and probably last) big snow ofthe winter.

Quote: "Love that's wise will not say all it means." - Edwin Arlington Robinson, American poet (1869-1935).

There's the rub: I just talked to Shannon Dean the other day - she looked pretty relaxed - so I said, "You look pretty relaxed." She said she felt good because she had been to Susan Millington for a massage & felt absolutely great. I've had other good friends, including marathon runners, tell me she does a good job. Quit stressin' out & go see her!

Other quote: "Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile." Franklin P. Jones

Reading: Dee Gaylord drops this note regarding our little write up about how to behave when you're here:

Hallalujah! I wish that was required reading for all who
come to the islands! I visit as often as possible, and was more than once
embarrassed at the attitude of the other visitors. I kinda wonder if some
of the ones that come on island, then proceed to say everyone is slow, things
aren't done right, and that there's no McD's, realize where they are???
When my husband and I visit, we try our level best to follow what we see the
locals doing. (We like winter better, it's prettier by far, and less
visitors. Wimps.)

Anyway, other than my terminally forgetting sales tax,
(duh, gee, am I an Oregonian, or what?), we have found some wonderful people on
the islands, and would like to let others know that working by ISLAND schedule,
rather than push, push, push, works a whole lot better. After seeing a man
turn purple with rage because the mail wasn't in, (the fog, and high waves had
slowed the ferries), I sometimes wonder if a reality check should be required
before visitors come on to the island!

Have a great one!

Dee Gaylord

Wayne in the spotlight: Did you see that nice little story about Wayne Pullman in the San Juan Islander?

More whale news: Jim Nollman studies interspecies communication and says, "I've just added a new web page that goes into some depth about the computer tools we're developing to study beluga calls and behavior. The process starts from the provocative premise that these whales possess a language.
Check it out!"

Interesting stuff.

To the edge: Tomorrow: Basketball playoffs in Edmonds. Go, guys, go...

Literary news: Robert Weimer writes:

A new issue of The Dragonfly Review is now
online. Our contributors range from Vienna, Austria to the Pacific Northwest... but always
present is the sea... SOUNDINGS, THE SAILBOAT, OUTWARD
BOUND FROM PUGET SOUND. Included in this issue are short stories, creative
non-fiction, essays, a character study, and poetry. EMERGENCE, cover photo by
Bob Weimer... the beautiful marine mammal Orcinus orca.

The next issue of The Dragonfly Review will be published in the summer.
Submissions are always welcome. Send to <>.


February 13, 2001

Library will miss her: You heard Kathleen's leaving the library, didn't you? She's taking a gig down in Arizona, looking for warmer climes...she was instrumental in her participation in the library's re-model in the mid-90's which has helped make the library as wondwerful as it is. The other part she's helped make wonderful is her tasteful book selections, which make the library a key reason many of us like living here.

She'll be much missed.

Playoffs: In wrestling, FHHS is sending five folks to this weekend's state meet: 171-pounder Chris Jamieson, 140-pounder John Zizz, 135-pounder Roccay LaRock, 119-pounder Dane Foley, and 130-pounder Arlyss Lee. Good luck, guys!

Meanwhile, the brackets are set: the basketball boys take on Seattle Christian at Edmonds-Woodway High in the Tri-District Tourney at 6:30pm Saturday, with the winners' round continuing on Tuesday. At stake: A trip to the state finals in Yakima. The guys looked good in their dispatching of Concrete last'll be cool to see them take their show on the road.

Training starts: The Whale Museum's Marine Naturalist Training is only offered once a year... they are registering for it now through March 16 (or when it fills
up). It's a good way to learn how to be a good steward of the land and waters, and how to educate others along the way. All the presentations and field trips are on Saturdays, beginning March 17. Details are on their website:

Ferry rate meeting: You're remembering that the meeting to discuss and give input about the ferry fare increases is on the 21st, right? Be there.

Global warming: A good place to check is this website ( which details how it's going for us...

Quote: "The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders." - Edward Abbey

Other quote: "The Bible declares that on the sixth day God created man. Right then and there, God should have demanded a damage deposit." - From Jim Hightower's book "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos"


February 8, 2001

President comes around on the environment: This was in Outlook magazine in 1913:

"The civilized people of today look back with horror at their medieval ancestors who wontonly destroyed great works of art or sat slothfully by while they were destroyed. We have passed this stage... Here in the U.S. we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy our forests and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals - not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at best it looks as if our people are awakening." - Theodore Roosevelt, June 25, 1913.

Meeting, really big meeting: There will be a meeting for citizens about the ferry rate increases at the high school on the 21st. So far, I haven't talked to anyone who is NOT gonna be there...we'll let you know how it goes.

Snow it goes: Did you get out & play in the slush puppy snow this morning? Remember the sunset from two nights ago?

Quizzer: Take Kelly's online quizzes to see how much you REALLY know about San Juan Island and things that happen here. Drop me a line and tell me how you did...

FHHS boys make playoffs: Friday Harbor (7-4 league standing) claimed victory over the Darrington, the number one seed in league, Tuesday night. After last Saturday's loss to Orcas, Friday Harbor stood in a four-way tie along with Coupeville, LaConner, and Orcas. The boys need a win against Concrete here this Friday to nail down the second place spot in league and a free ride to the playoffs.

Overload: WSU's Extension boss Tom Schultz tells me he was overloaded Tuesday morning on the redeye ferry...I can tell by the fleeting snow it's not summer yet, but really - overloads in February? C'mon. Are locals getting off-island too much?

Throats: At the schools lately there have been classes with a quarter to a third of the kids gone with varying types of sickness. I'm not sure what the difference between pandemics, epidemics, and just everyone being sick is, but when I went Saturday to get MY pitiful croaker checked, Dr. Marcia Zachariason said there's enough strep running around to call it an epidemic. (She's Tom Schultz's spousal unit, by the way, and a warm, caring doc...what a great team.)

Whale Museum hits the big time: This is great news from Robin over at the Whale Museum:

Ian and crew,

I continue to be a big fan of your Friday Harbor Update and its positive

Have you seen the current issue of DISCOVER magazine (at King's Market)?
One of the cover stories is "Sick Oceans, Sick Whales" and it's about our
waters here and the health of the local orca pods. There's a nice photo of
The Whale Museum's Dr. Rich Osborne in front of the Lime Kiln lighthouse.
The article is 8 pages long with a lot of local photos and references to The
Whale Museum and its programs, such as Soundwatch.

The Whale Museum is thrilled to receive coverage by such a prestigious
publication, but more importantly that the plight of the local orcas has
been addressed by DISCOVER magazine with their large readership base. Good
things happen when enough people know it's time to get out there and do what
they can in the interest of environmental preservation.

So if you are looking for what's new on the island, that's my suggestion for
your next Update. Thanks.


Robin Forrest Jacobson
Education Coordinator

The Whale Museum

Long time: A year is a really long time, don't you think? Remember it was only a year ago that we were wondering if it would ever snow, where the Y2K disaster went, what the coming tourist season would be like (they came), what the commissioners' race would look like, would the boys make the playoffs in basketball and baseball again (no & yes) and holding out for good things to happen. Anything could happen, you know.

A year is a really long time.

Greens collect: Tom Munsey tells me (this is HIS press release):

The Green Party of San Juan County (GPSJC) invites the public to attend its
Saturday, 10 February, General Meeting on Lopez Island. From Friday Harbor, take
the 8:25 AM ferry, 9:15 from Orcas, 9:30 from Shaw. Arriving about 10:00, we'll
be transported to the Senior Center courtesy of local members. Remember to
bring your sack lunch; hot water for tea, coffee etc. will be provided there.
(Return on 1:10 PM ferry from Lopez arriving Friday Harbor at 1:50, Orcas 3:05,
Shaw 3:20.)

The meeting will include a visit to the Lopez recycling center and a
presentation and discussion of GPSJC's position paper on ferry service.

For a complete meeting agenda and other information, see GPSJC's web site .


January 29, 2001

And the wind did howl: You heard it last night, and saw the branches scattered in the road this morning. It sent small children to their parent's bed. It made windows shake and chimneys whistle. It whispered the names of faraway lovers and gave birth to thousands of agitated dreams.

And in the morning, it cleared, and the clouds were cold and windless. And we picked up and started over again. Like we do.

Other sports: The streets of Friday Harbor were pretty quiet yesterday during the Super Bowl...nice quiet time to be out & about, you know.

Basketball: The boys resumed their march to the playoffs by beating Coupeville last Friday. Tonight: The makeup game with LaConner, in which we play the last 4 minutes of that disputed game.

Meanwhile, the high school play kicks off on Feb. 2nd. Be there.


January 26, 2001

Blue sky: Looks like winter may never come - it was a bit chilly, but sunny & bright yesterday, which is a great reason to go outside and play (like the kid to the right at Family Park, next to the Fairgrounds). A wonderful day in the neighborhood...

Notes: Remember Debbie Cornell, who graduated from FHHS back in the early 80's...she's left her job at Allstate in Marysville to come work at the Medical Center part time and at Friday's Inn part time. Welcome home!

The salmon eggs have hatched at the elementary school, which has caused great excitement 'mongst the kids and junior biologists everywhere. They're in the tank in the 4th-5th grade wing, if you want to check them out.

Is it next week Felicitations and The Front Street Cafe open back up? Hope so...

The high school's play is coming up...make your plans & get your tickets for "The Skin of Our Teeth" soon. You don't want to miss this one.

Speaking of missing: Our boys lost a close one to Lopez earlier this week, but return to action today to make up for it in their hunt for a playoff spot this year. Then, as weirdness goes, they have to re-play the last 3-4 minutes of our pre-supposed win over LaConner next Monday, because of an error in the game clock keeping...we'll see if we can beat 'em again.

Meanwhile, the girls beat Lopez for their fourth win of the season this week, as hurt-footed Kelly Domico returned to action for the first time since early December...

Boat books: If you like boats, especially old boats, you'll love Jeremy Snapp's take on Northwest boats in his new one, "Destiny By Design." He's got the info on his website.

Quote: "The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way." -- William Blake


January 22, 2001

Whales in the 'hood: Carline over at Panacea Bed & Breakfast tells me she saw J-pod this weekend over on the west side...she was listening to them with a hydrophone and she says the conversation amonst the orcas was animated and energetic.

Fog: This morning's fog seems sad and lonely, with the ferry's horn making it even sadder.

Roberto's sold: Looks like Roberto's (lately a pizza place called Tapas on Tap) has been bought by Charles, the guy from China Pearl who bought & started Mi Casita's, Bella Luna, and the Donut Shop, turning them all into going concerns. He's good at this...

Basketball: The FHHS boys jumped LaConner Friday to vault into second place in league, as their run for state continues. The game packed the gym with screaming FH partisans...the kind of support these guys deserve. Cool.


January 11, 2001

Through a glass, darkly: Well, the big news this week was the power outage on Monday - seems a truck hit a power pole in Anacortes & knocked out not just our island but the rest of the county. The lights went out at midday - around 12:30 or so - and were restored for most folks by 7pm or so.

It's always interesting to see who has generators - the boys and I went to King's and Friday Harbor Grocery (both were well lit) mostly to watch the people, and there was a general scramble of folks buying food that didn't take much cooking. ET and the town were lit up, too, but most of the town was solid black. People seemed to be taking it in good humor, mostly, and looking forward to a romantic evening at home, playing with the kids by candlelight. Overall, it was fun, as power outages go.

Notes: You heard Mimi Miller had a baby, didn't you? She's married to a fellow in Australia, so they had a summer December Chita and friend Bernadette (she's a midwife) were in attendance.

If you haven't haven't heard Sotto Voce yet, you've been blowing it. They sing this Saturday at the Theatre...they're wonderful...

No contra dance this weekend, so it was held last weekend, and it was great. Lots of people and smiles all around.

Have you seen Teresa Smith's watercolors at Island Studios or around town? That's one to the right...she does nice work. Click on the picture to see a full sized version fill your screen.

That's Lisa McCormick over at the school district office, now - she's been there since late fall, replacing Sharon Kivisto, who's over at Rock Island, now...

Where do ferries go in the winter? Ever wonder where your ferry is? You can find it with this handy site the state ferry guys do which shows where in transit the big boat went.

Basketball: You heard the boys and the girls beat Orcas last Saturday, didn't you? Looking pretty good this year. Catch 'em next time they're week.

West & surgery: Word is that West Davis, the rector at St. David's Episcopal, underwent surgery this Monday, according to Nan Simpson at the elementary school. Dave Eden told me the next day that Emma says he's resting & doing fine...the church has an online update page about this.

Whale Tales in England: Peter Fromm sold copies of Whale Tales to some folks in Middlesex, England this week, over the Internet. That doggone net IS bringing us all together, eh?

Only game in town, really: When I dropped by FHHS Monday to visit science & all-star teacher Mark Vermiere, who is a huge Minnesota fan, I realized I didn't know if the Vikings had won that weekend. So I asked Maude (who knows EVERYTHING & is the best fan the Wolverines have) in the office if the Vikings had won, and she said, "No, we beat 'em."

She meant the Orcas game, with the Orcas Vikings, of course.

More roundball: The 4th-5th grade basketball league starts Saturday at Hall Gym, with the girls & boys' games between 10 and 3, every hour. Check 'em out! Every Saturday...

Baby whale - hooray!: Jean from Western Prince reports Samish (J14) has delivered J37 - you can see cool pictures on OrcaCam from the west side of the island.

Quote: "I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author.


January 3, 2001

Fire light: Those fire engines out front of Island Studios all afternoon were doing a smoke investigation...looking for the source of smoke reported earlier in the day. They were there much of the second part of the day, with no one hurt, and with the firepeople having some difficulty locating the smoke's origin.

Ferry news: Starting yesterday, the Anacortes-Friday Harbor run at 5:05pm stopped docking at Lopez on the way to the island (at 5:55pm). Plan accordingly....

Quite a ruckus around here about the ferry rates going up 27% this summer, with continuing raises anticipated over the next six years. It's going to be interesting to see the effect on both the tourist industry and the quality of life for residents...and the cost of things, which, as you might have guessed, are mostly shipped here.

Closed: Felicitations Bakery is closed for the month, as owner & head baker Felicity takes a little Hawaii break, and a much deserved rest.

New Year's Day: What a beautiful day, and what an auspicious start to the year. I went out to Mt. Finlayson for a walk at midday with my boys and friends - what a great way to start the year: sunny, clear skies, and nearly warm weather, looking out over the water. Easy to feel you're a soulmate with the sea...

Pretty quiet night the night before, with the obligatory fireworks and pan-banging at midnight quietening down by 12:05 or so. Pretty laid back, by all reports.

It was nice to have the World Peace Meditation over at the Grange New Year's Eve...good way to start any year.

101, or 102: Carolyn over at the County Fire Department tells me she hasn't taken Dottie, her nicely spotted Dalmation to see '102 Dalmations' yet, even though '101 Dalmations' is one of her favorite movies. Dottie, you may remember, is a big hit with the school kids when Carolyn teaches them to drop & roll.

Healing: Good to hear Dodie Gann's out of intensive care down in Seattle after her car wreck last week. Scary wreck, with the car rolling over...glad she's being taken care of.

Dark: Cloudy, wet gray days like today make it feel like the sun never rose. Luckily, all this will pass.

Journal re-do: Did you notice the way the Journal re-did their website? Nice, easy-to-navigate interface, with a place for the news that happens before Tuesday evening when the weekly comes out. Check it out.

Quote: "What's the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" - Henry David Thoreau.

Other quote: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you." - anonymous


December 28, 2000

Foggy bottom: The last couple of mornings have been pretty low on the visibility index, with heavy fog sweeping over the island's east side, slowing ferries and traffic. Yesterday the fog burned away for a bright & sunny day by midday (which of course got cloudy later), while today's just been kinda gray, but pleasant.

Drinkin': There's enough drinking planned for this weekend to float a boat, but that doesn't mean ya have to drive. Get someone else to...don't hurt someone just because you like to party. Take it easy & start the new year right.

Whale notes: Received this note from Jean at Western Prince a couple of days ago:

This just in from Kelley Balcomb Bartok and sent to us from Sue Berta -

Merry Christmas Eve Day to you all,
and happy, warm holidays to everyone!!!

Mark Sears reported to me just moments ago (3 p.m.Dec. 24) that Jpod and
Kpod were traveling together this morning northbound, when Lpod came from the north and joined up in what became a very social and excited bunch of whales!!! The gathering is still occurring just off Vashon Island in south Puget Sound, and the new calf is doing well, presumably being introduced to all the extended family who are all down in the Sound even as I write this!

The whales are likely chasing the Chum salmon, which I'm told is running pretty thick right about now, and let's wish them well on their hunting!!!

So as you all sit down to your Christmas Feasts, say a prayer for the whales and their families as they gather and forage together today; and pause for a moment to give thanks for their being near us this holiday season!

Poetry in motion: Bob Weimer, publisher, Chiron Press, writes:

Chiron Press is pleased to announce that BEACHFIRE GATHERING
<> is again online - with a new format
and a new editor, Ladd T. Holroyd. Ladd has put together an excellent
Winter Solstice issue featuring the work of island poets Jane Baier-Nelson
and John Sangster, plus four others.

A new issue of DRAGONFLY REVIEW will appear online very shortly. P. L.
Morningstar has again chosen a fine mix of short stories, poetry, and
personal essays.

We always enjoy hearing from you, the reader - so please let us know what
you like and what we can do better <>. Happy New Year!

Rubber soul: Someone told me on the ferry a couple of weeks back that this is the time - in the weeks after solstice - to open your heart to your soulmate, so that she/he can find you.

So do it.

Class act: When the Island Rec newsletter comes to your mailbox sometime in the next couple of weeks, take a peek at it & then sign up for stuff. It's hard to read the class offerings and then say there's nothing to do around here with a straight face.

Similarly, classes begin next week for the new quarter at Skagit Valley College up above the airport - get by and see what's going on! Besides academic classes there are also community classses to take as well. Check 'em out!

The last Noel: You heard about the Ferry Folks (WSF - Washigton State Ferry) taking the Noel sign down next to the landing....looks like the whole hoorah has made national mention in the news (see The San Juan Islander for details.) Seems to me we're famous enough...

Quote: No matter what our attempts to inform, it is our ability to inspire that will turn the tides. Jan Phillips, Syracuse Cultural Workers


December 21, 2000

Holidays: Happy solstice to you! Today is the shortest day of the year, and a good time for reflection and renewal. All the best to you & yours in the spirit of the season.

Passing: Just heard word that Marilyn Madsen passed away, down in California. Marilyn was a familiar site down at her Tourist Information Booth next to the ferry (she started it in 1994), setting up gigs for Elderhostel, taking minutes for every board in the county (it seemed), and ardent protector of the environment.

When I last talked to her about a month ago, she ended the conversation with, "I'll talk to you again soon, my friend." She was able to call many people friend, and she leaves us much missed and much loved, and richer having known her.

Baseball: Ken Franklin tells me Roberta Crist has stepped down as head of Little League and that his wife Suzanne will be in charge for the next season. Good moves: Suzanne is an energetic go-getter who is very organized, and Roberta's many years of being the boss are much appreciated & remembered. She's one of the great ones, and has made baseball around here what it is.

Stay: If you're loking for a place to stay this summer, check out San Juan Propety Management at Gretchen and Michele (the ex-FHHS volleyball coach) are running a good show. You can also check out the vacation rentals at Windermere or the ones listed in the Directory.

Need a place to give this holiday season? Consider the Fellowship of Reconciliation as they continue their work for peace (the dove above is from one of their holiday cards.)


December 17, 2000

The answer, my friend: The reason the Christmas lights in town are a little askew is the wind that's been blowing since mid-week. Thursday and Friday the chill of near-30 temperatures made the wind really bite; yesterday was warmer with a morning-full of rain. This morning, the sun's out and it's pleasant, so it'll be a nice day to go pick up all those branches in the yard.

Lit: The town's been lit up the last couple of weeks, and looks great. As usual, Post San Juan looks great from the air, and you can see the Island Living lights from down the street. The Royal Theater's all decked out (right), and Islanders Bank looks like they had a lot of fun working on their place. Take a ride and check 'em out.

Shop: Have you seen the new Island Studios website? You can buy all kinds of things online with their new shopping cart setup.

Nearly solstice: Shortest day's coming up - then they do nothing but get longer. Sunset tonight is just after four; sunrise is just before 8. And a happy solstice to YOU.

One thing you can do to ring in the solstice is wonder as you wander...go walk the labyrinth over at Ev Tuller's bed & breakfast at Moon & Sixpence, Thursday from 5-7pm. Anyone & everyone's welcome. A gentle way to welcome the new season.

Holiday book: A great gift: Noël Murchie's new book, The Accidental Hermit. Tells the story of how she moved to the islands (she lives on Orcas) and lived alone for the first year. People who have been reading it (Ladd and Skip at Harbor Books, Carol at Serendipity Books) tell me they really like it....and I read it, too. It's hard not to laugh out loud while you're reading it. You can order one from her website, or get one at Harbor Books, Serendipity, or Island Studios in Friday Harbor.

You recognize the style: The cover was painted by Nancy Spaulding, whose other art is also available at Island Studios.

Noël told me she went to the Orcas Library and checked: both copies were checked out! So now you HAVE to buy your own.

Ferry load: Lots of people heading off-island on Friday's ferry, right after school - literary agent Alice Acheson was heading for another book soiree down-sound somewhere. FHHS senior Kim Wargo (who was just named all-league defender in soccer this fall) was heading to visit her dad Mike, who works in Seattle during the week, while Wendy Pemberton was taking Mari and Paul to get Allison from SeaTac, home from her freshman year at Whitworth in Spokane. Mexico-bound: Windermere's Bill Percich and his brood were headed south; Shannon Dean and Tim Dustrude were headed for Baja. Cody Fischer was off to take his first airplane ride alone to see Grandma in Walla Walla.

Second grade teacher Linda Cooper was addressing Christmas cards while husband Fred Yockers was playing with the kids. Then, some people were just going shopping - Sonia Nash was headed for Bellingham, Homer and Elizabeth Smith had stuff to do in Everett, and Claudia and Rob Browne and the kids were off for a few days in Seattle.

That's all I know about...I didn't have time to talk to everybody.

Fire!: I heard that at the Fire Department's holiday party last night they had a skit with "Bill's Angels," with Carolyn, Claire, and Holly as the angels (Bill, of course, is the chief.) I can kinda imagine them kicking a door in....

GOP picks head: While the rest of the country watched the Supreme Court action last week that gave us a new president, the local county Republicans were choosing Lopezian Geraldine Boone as chairwoman of the San Juan County Republican Central Committee, taking the gavel from last year's Albert Hall. Herb Meyer was named vice chairman, while Dot Vandaveeer was selected as treasurer, with Kay Berg picked to be secretary.

Showtime: The San Juan Singers are on at 2 this afternoon for their holiday show, and there's old-fashioned carol singing at Roche Harbor tonight at 6. The song in your heart can take wings....

Quote: "The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders." - Edward Abbey

History is doomed to repeat itself:

Review the Update from July 25, 2000 - December 17, 2000

Review the Update from April 21, 2000 - July 25, 2000

Review the Update from January 1, 2000 - April 21, 2000

Review the Update from October 21, 1999 - December 31, 1999

Review the Update from August 12, 1999 - October 21, 1999

Review the Update from May 17, 1999 - August 12, 1999

Review the Update from April 8, 1999 - May 17, 1999

Review the Update from February 26, 1999 - April 8, 1999

Review the Update from January 3, 1998 - February 26, 1999

Review the Update from November 1, 1998 - January 3, 1998

Review the Update from August 31, 1998 - October 31, 1998

Review the Update from July 2, 1998 - August 30, 1998

Review the Update from May 25, 1998 - July 2, 1998

Review the Update from April 3 - May 25, 1998

Review the Update from January 22, 1998 to April 3, 1998.

Review the Update from November 24, 1997 to January 22, 1998.

The information here is simply stuff we here at By Design think is important around Friday Harbor or on the Island. Some of it's news, some of it's 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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Other places with info about the island:

San Juan Island: The Web Directory

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