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prepared weekly or so by Ian Byington if anything happens around here
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March 28, 2002

A beautiful day in the neighborhood: Wasn't last weekend awesome? Now, THAT's what spring is supposed to look like! Get outside & run!

And yesterday's gray, wet, chilly day is what sometimes happens. You know, we had baseball practice scheduled for 4:30, and at 2pm it was raining & muddy & crummy. I ran into the always-positive Rob Browne (his boy Justin puts 'em over the fence for our team), and he looked outside & said, "It'll clear up."

And it did, enough to practice, anyway.

More ball: The FHHS girls' softball squad plays their first-ever home fastpitch game tomorrow after school, over at the elementary field. Janna from Post San Juan told me they looked pretty awesome thumping Snohomish County Christian twice last Saturday in their season opener down there. Her grandaughter Genoa pitches for the Wolverines (by the way, it's her birthday tomorrow. Don't tell her I told ya.)

And - the baseball boys won their opener, too.

Off to a good start.

Eighth greaders rock: Our eighth grade basketball boys played a barnstorming team for Ketchikan, Alaska on Tuesday - the visitors had just come from playing in the AAU tourney in Spokane. Our guys did well, coming back from 11 down in the third to win in the last three minutes 60-56.

You know, we could have a pretty awesome high school squad in the brew here. Keep an eye on these guys.

And - special "way to go!" to Sandi Guard and Sandy Roe for setting it all up, as well as all they've done for 6th-8th grade basketball for the past three years. These are two wonderful women who really care about kids.

March madness: You probably filled out one of those NCAA bracket thingies a few weeks ago, saying who you thought would progress in the did I.

As I had Alabama & Oregon (my alma maters) meeting in the finals, I kinda blew it there. But I also had home-team Gonzaga, with one of their best squads forever, going all the way. Aggh... they lost in the first game.

Oh, well, I still like Spokane anyway. Nice place.

Port: Have you seen the Port of Friday Harbor's new re-design of their website? The project was led by Harbormaster Ed Barrett & features nice tours of the things the Port does, designed by By Design's incomparable Tim Dustrude. Check it out at

Milk it: The San Juan Islander reports a greater percentage of Island women breastfeed their kids than any other county in the state.

Once again, we're a leader.

Little show: Here is a message from Matt and Barbara at San Juan Gallery & Framing Services. It is a unique, interesting approach to an art show!

San Juan Gallery & Framing invites you to a Miniature Art Reception Thursday March 28th, 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Refreshments provided. 3 Artisans will be creating images for an auction at the show and the auction will be at 7:00pm. Proceeds will benefit the Chamber Scholarship fund, Soroptimist Scholarship fund and Wolf Hollow.

Please join us for a fun and interesting evening and enjoy over 75 pieces of some of our Island's most talented artists. All art will be offered for sale. Show can be viewed March 28 - April 11, if you can not make the reception

Wally's in: Last week, the Town Council filled the spot vacated by Vonda when she moved off-island with Wally Gillette, who lost in that one- or two-vote race back in the fall to Howie Rosenfeld.

Log in: Have you seen Mark Conner's cool houses? He's the guy who designed the Technology Center - wonderful wood places. Check out his website.

Peter does it again: Peter Fromm's show of his photos (which are still hung in the Theater lobby) was wonderful...I ran into people in the street this week who were there who said, first thing, "Wasn't that cool?" And it was.

The pictures he takes look great shown on a 12' x 12' screen, and his gentle, humorous narration makes you settle in for the evening.

And - it's his birthday last week! He's 55!

Way to go.

March 21, 2002

Late again: Just like everyone else with kids this morning, we got up to listen to the radio, and sure enough, school starts a couple of hours late again.

Did you know there's snow on the ground, again, for the second day of spring here on the island? Wow.

Which, if you think about it, is cool...means we gotta take the kids to work for a bit so they can see what we do during the day.

Most kids, of course, don't sleep in for snow days...hope you got to.

Up on the roof: Ace birdwatcher Susan Vernon told me she saw some "roofies" (that's a rufous to the right) last week...another indicator spring is in the offing....

Math magic: Did you know that at 8:02pm on the 20th last month it was 20:02 on 02/20/02? Did you KNOW that?

Sprung: Happy equinox to you...nothing but sunny days from here on out. Longer ones for sure...

You know the drill...snow in March brings April showers.
April showers bring May flowers.
What do May flowers bring?

Island Rec: Have you like at the Island Rec website (used to be Park & Rec) to see what you're gonna be doing this spring? Do it.

Reminds me of when I first moved here and was taking minutes for the San Juan Island Park & Rec - it was Park with no "s" because there's only one. My older boys asked his mama where Papa was, and where the car was. She said, "He went to Park & Rec." He said, "Is he OK? Do we need to get a new car now?"

Peter at the Theater: Peter Fromm, author of Whale Tales: Human Interactions With Whales (Volumes I & II) is presenting his slideshow & talk "Visions of a Water Rat" tomorrow (that's Friday). If you haven't seen his wonderful photos, check 'em out both at this presentation and in the lobby at the Theater. Good stuff.


March 20, 2002

Snowed in: Happy first day of spring! Island residents awoke this morning to a nice blanket of snow which means a two-hour delay for school and a chance to go outside & play in it before it melts. The photo at right was shot just before dawn, to give you an idea.

Just goes to prove - you think you know how things are gonna go, and then they surprise ya.

Meanwhile, sure is pretty outside.

Quote: "Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace."- Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, l950 

Corn: Someone told me Harbor Air's old website is now a porn site, so don't look at it.



March 18, 2002

Snow & sun & all: This drizzly morning sorta finishes the cycle: Pretty cold & wet on Friday, cold enough for snow that DID (after all) stick for a half hour on Saturday, and then yesterday's beautiful Sunday, with sunshine most all day.

It was pretty cold to start the day, though...the equinox may be this week, but it's still chilly for the start of spring. Doesn't mean people don't get out - I took a walk around Pear Point yesterday and saw plenty of runners and bikers for such a cold day. Get outside and play.

Hope you had a good St. Paddy's day yesterday, and didna get pinched.

Kate's show: Put it on your calendar: Kate Schuman's scheduled an album release concert at the theater on Saturday the 30th. Go to the store, buy her new CD (or get it online), and get ready. You're gonna love it.

The best: You know our airport got an award last month for being the best small airport in the state last year? Congrats to Pat Mayo and the crew for a super job!

Fair!: Ran into Christine Miller the other day and she says the County Fair's website is up to date...there's a lot of construction and building-moving going on this winter & spring - things are looking diferent over there. Make your plans's August 14-17th.

Stories on the ferry: You know Avery Adams, don't you? He's one of the friendly, easy-going kids around here...this sixth-grader was born on the Elwa some 12 years ago, according to dad Mike, who runs Funk 'n Junk with mom Annie. He said they were heading to Anacortes to deliver, but delivered him on the boat instead, holding up traffic for an hour and a half.

Speaking of ferries, with all the wind we've had the past 2-3 weeks, the seas have been more than choppy, but the ferries have been mostly on-time anyway. It's more of an adventure to ride the ferry with snow driving sideways and whitecaps all around.

Also on the ferry - it was neat to see Homer Smith, Lynnea Roberts, James Krall and other teachers coming back from NCCE (the Northwest Council for Computer Education) conference on the ferry Saturday afternoon. It's cool seeing out school folks keeping up with what's going on.

I went to NCCE a few years back to present a workshop with my then-8 year-old son, who asked me what the name of the conference was. I told him it was the Northwest Council for Computer-using Educators, and he asked, "Why would computers use educators?"

Good question.

Also on the ferry: I was surprised to hear from folks who dropped by my table (where my boys and I were TRYING to play cards) how many people actually READ this Update. Thanks for checking in, guys.

Where the garbage goes: Tomorrow the County will sign a ten-year contract with WMI to deal with our garbage...the process that led to the vote was controversial, however, as you can see in the San Juan Islander's recap of the discussion .

At issue: Some 1100 islanders signed a petition asking for a hearing about the choice of WMI, the folks who've been chosen to deal with the garbage. This is a good sign, when that many people care about how we get rid of garbage - that level of citizen involvement can make a difference. The hearing was denied, and the vote commenced with...this is at the heart of why the San Juan Islander editorial last week questioned the process, and the petitioners feel unlistened to.

Love: Saw Harvey driving his big log truck a week ago for Mike Carlson...tell him congratulations: he & Lisa McCormick got married last month.

Qoute: "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." - Jimi Hendrix

Visitors from Alaska: Looks like the eighth graders (our champs) are going to play a traveling team from Ketchikan in a couple of weeks over at the high school. Details forthcoming...

Jostlin' for position: I was surprised to see that in the yellow pages of our tiny phone book under "kayaking" that Sea Quest is now listed as "A Sea Quest" - presumably to gain alphbetical dominance of that list there.

It reminded me of when Trophy Fishing Charters decided to go with "A Trophy" a few years back - don't say it real fast. Looking in the same yellow pages this year, he's still there, ahead of Buffalo Works, the only other listing.

Saving gas - not: You'd think a country that's willing to go abroad looking for oil & fighting for it the way we do would try to make what we have last...but no, the Senate whacked a measure last week that would have kicked up the fuel economy of domestic auto/truck/SUV fleets. We still have work to do...

Increasing consumption of a limited and hard-to-obtain-without-wars resource is nutty, if you ask me.

March 13, 2002

The levy passes: One of the ways you can tell a community cares for itself and its children is how it deals with the opportunity to make its schools better...voters in the San Juan Island School District voted with an over-75% yes vote to continue its Maintenance and Operations Levy. Check here for latest posted results from the county.


March 11, 2002

Rainy days & Mondays: It drizzled a little yesterday, but that just set up the deluge during the night, and this morning's steady rain....

...but of course the sun came skies for the afternoon. Get outside & play.

Basketball: Yep. Our eighth graders did it again - they won both the regular season title and the end-of-season tourney this weekend, with only one loss in their three years. Way to go, Tigers!

Massage at the Lodge: Check out Susan Millington's massage practice out at Arbutus Lodge. She does both traditional massage and hot rocks treatments - I've had both with her and she's a great one. Call today & ditch that stress.

Passing: The memorial service for Bill Van Alen, who passed away early last week, was held Saturday.

Honorable mentioned: It was neat to see the writeups for Olympic Lights B&B and Friday Harbor House in Coastal Living magazine for the Jan/Feb 2002 issue. Don't have your copy yet? Check out the story online.

What it looks like: Eric Esselman put together a good-looking website of a kayak trip he took when he was up here.

Chile-bound: Local soccer coach & all-good dad Juan Lopez is leaving tomorrow for a trip to his native Chile - he's taking with him his sons Pablo & Felipe, and friends Devin Schwinge and Evan Anderson. Juan has led trips to Peru & Chile, and definitely knows the ropes...

Fast food review: Brad Gislason and others have told me about the time in the early '90s when there was a big hoax going around that several fast food type restaurants were thinking about moving here...people were up in arms then, and that "plan" wasn't even real....

There have been some ads in the paper doing surveys about the feasability of such things. Sharon & Matt at the San Juan Islander have been taking & publishing comments from folks about this issue - see what people have to say.

For my part, I'm hoping we stay like we are....

March 7, 2002

Brrr & double brrr: Yowee, it's cold! And the wind just makes it even more so...the weather report says it'll maybe even snow this morning.

Crowds crowd to crowded restaurants to eat: Last night was the Dollars for Scholars night, in which most of the restaurants donate whatever they make to the high school's scholarship, it was crowded.

I dropped by Mi Casita, which had lot B filled with cars & a line out the door, drove by the Pub, which was wall-to-wall people, and finally ate in the bar at Haley's, since the dining room was packed.

Pretty cool to see that kind of support for the kids.

Whale calf saga continues to unfold: What do you do with an orphaned whale? There's a 19-month-old kid whale down near Vashon that folks aren't sure what to do with (here's the Seattle story).

Do you wait to see if he dies? Do you capture him & save his life by putting him in a tank-prison? Do you air-lift him to his pod? What about - seeing if he can make it on his own?

Ferry notes: I rode over to Shaw yesterday, and ran into the Journal's Ron Bates, who told me Bob at the Little Store had a heart valve replaced about three weeks ago. I had wondered where he was...he's already been back to work some, and apparently is doing fine.

Also on the boat was remember Michelle, who worked part time at the library? She left last week to go teach English in Bali, and will come back in June to collect Ben (her husband) and move over to Indonesia, where he's from. He said she's already at work there & has called....

Also on the boat was Lisa Roell, who reported that her folks, Ted & Judy Roell have already sold their house & will be moving off-island in April. They've been really involved in the community here & will be missed...

Ready for the summer: If you need logos & hats & shirts and all that for your summer biz, contact Viv at Company Gear. You'll like what she does for you. I know she took care of my business....

You are getting sleepy: That hypnotist is coming back - he'll be here Friday & Saturday at the high school in a fund-raiser for the school....he's great fun. Get your tickets early & save two bucks each.

Too busy for that? Be sure and catch the play at the Theatre this weekend - it's your last chance.

New: Have you seen the re-design of the San Juan Island Web Directory yet? It's been plugging away since 1995, and strives to be THE comprehensive compendium of websites around here...see what you think.


March 4, 2002

That was then, this is now: Yep, yesterday was beautiful, warm, and sunny. Edith Dickinson was out mowing her lawn on the corner of Argyle and Rose, prompting passersby to comment, "I'll have to get MY lawn next week." Edith always has one of the finest gardens in town - you'll be able to admire it from the sidewalk in a few weeks.

As you know, Edith used to be on the Town Council years ago, and her house used to be the town limits line - the line went right through her living room. We had a nice visit about where the lines used to be, and are now.

The youth baseball folks had tryouts (everybody gets put on a team, though) yesterday in the sun...great day for playing.

Hope you got out in it.

Birthday madness: Seems to be a ton of birthdays in the past 2-3 weeks. David Bentley, Alex Jackson, Frankie Ausilio, Blaine Connelly & his dad Tim, Cody Fischer, Tori Polda (she's one), Deborah Hopkins (she's 40), Felicitations Bakery (turned 3 last week!), and more.

The needle and the damage done: It's not just a Neil Young song: Maggie DiGiovanni's been working at the Space Needle in Seattle for the past 2-3 years, and she told me last week that business really dropped off after the Sept. 11th attack, enough to where she had to get a second job...

Maggie graduated back in '97 from FHHS, and just finished at Cornish in '01...her stepdad, Ernest Pugh, has a part in the play at the Theater, "Lend Me a Tenor," which Jennifer down at Felicitations tells me was really funny. It's playing again this weekend.

Levy: VOTE!!!! VOTE!!! VOTE!!! Make sure you mail in your mail-in ballot for the M&O levy by the 12th...the schools need it! It's not a new tax - it's an extension of the existing setup. Read about it and then get your ballot in - and vote yes, willya?

This is an unpaid endorsement for doing the right thing, but you already knew that.

Real estate news: One way to stay current with what's happening in real estate around here is to check Merri Ann Simonson's online newsletter...she just posted her quarterly report last week.

After Bill: Last week in Australia, island resident and Strategic News Service boss Mark Anderson gave a major address about future trends...after Bill Clinton, who was also attending the conference and speaking.

Honduras/US: USA goalkeeper Kasey Keller said he didn't expect many Hondurans to show up in Seattle for the friendly between the US and Honduras, but he didn't know about Sonia Nash (she's married to Ed) and Sondra NAsh (she's married to David). The Honduran sisters made the trip to Safeco Field for the game this weekend, as did the FHHS girls coach Randy Martin, his wife Missy, and assistant coach Doug with his friend Kari Koski.

The World Cup-bound US won 4-0, by the way.

Sandpebble sanded: You saw the Sandpebble last week, looking like it was getting torn out or's not a new store (they've been there since '77), just a new floor. One of the guys working there told me they were putting in a bowling alley, but then assured me they were kidding.

Well, yeah - ten foot lanes...

Basketball tourney: The basketball Tigers from FHMS played this weekend in Mt. Vernon - the sixth graders (the white team - the black team plays this weekend) placed fourth in league during the season, but surprised Westside by a 39-27 count to advance to the finals, where they came within a basket and a half of beating Orcas for the first place trophy, losing 24-22.

The team consists of Alex Jackson, Daniel English, Travis Goff, Shay Byington, Charlie Buck, Brett Simmons, Brock Polda, and Frankie Ausilio.

The seventh and eighth grade guys play this weekend or next to end their seasons, with our eighth graders favorites to win their tourney.

By the way, one of the reasons things go so well for the basketball Tigers is its committed Board of Sandy Guard, Sandi Roe, and Denise Anderson. They do an awesome job of keeping schedules straight, practice times scheduled, ferry tickets and uniforms and equipment in place - they're great.


February 25, 2002

Kate's show: I called Kate Schuman this morning (she's back here on the island) to see how her radio show at WSM-Nashville went on Friday night...she had flown over there to get interviewed, live. She tells me they played five cuts from her new CD (order yours here) and she also played three songs in the studio during the show.

She said it went well and was fun...I noticed a jump in the number of hits on her website as well.

Bright light, shine on: Yep, that was the moon last night, which isn't even really full till tomorrow night - wasn't it bright outside?

You could read the newspaper - it was VERY bright. One of my sons got up and woke us, 'cause he thought it had snowed...

Changes: Brent and Kelly Snow (he runs Roche Harbor) welcomed their baby earlier this month (on the second), while Tori Zehner will be leaving Friday Harbor House to have twins later this year...

You know Angie down at the Little Store? She's back from a long trip to her native Germany. Welkommen back...

On Saturday's ferry, Republican Herb Meyer was working his way around the boat, visiting friends...he's running for Congress, you know. Also ran into Vonda, late of the town council (she got to be mayor pro-tem in her last meeting; Gary was away) and the Inns at Friday Harbor. She's finishing up at the Inns and will be moving to Whidbey Island....

Sarah Staude was on the ferry this weekend - you'll remember she graduated from FHHS in '96, and is working in Portland presently for the American Field Services folks, setting up foreign exchange students' trips. She was knitting, and asked me if I remembered Elizabeth Farr at the old yarn shop in Friday Harbor...Sarah's learning to knit from her mom Ellen, who teaches in Portland. Keep it a small world, willya?

Dog days: Over the past couple of weeks, you may have heard that Susan at Griffin Bay Books lost her dog Duncan (the golden retriever at the door - I know you've met), and Mollie at Skagit Valley College lost Hille, her longtime dog who was a fixture up at the computer lab. NIce dogs, who had a lot of friends....

Baseball tryouts: They're set for Sunday afternoon, the 3rd. For kids who aren't already on a team.....

We are
Like lutes
Once held by God.
Being away from his warm body
Fully explains

--Ibrahim Hafiz


February 18, 2002

Kate steps out: This week local singer & songwriter Kate Schuman (right) releases her new CD in grand style this week with a 2+ hour interview on WSM in Nashville on Friday. I've heard a pre-release copy of the new album, and believe me, it's a good one. You can order your copy from her website at

She'll be flying to Tennessee this week for the live interview, which you can pick up online at WSMonline at 9:30pm (our time) on Friday night (the 22nd).

In case you didn't know, WSM is the largest country music station in the US and the world - their support of Kate's album release is a great jumpstart for a talented songstress. You're gonna love it.

Thank you cards: Thanks, you guys, for all the positive feedback about the online postcards about our little island. Beautiful pix, by some of the best photographers on the island.

Overload: Seems like it ought to go the other way, but the ferry at 5 & 5:55pm on Saturday was overloaded (that means folks have to go on the 8 whatever it is). Lots of islanders returning home, far as I could tell. The boys and I, of course, went bowling, and both of them got over 100 for the first time.

If the island seems a little empty, it's probably because folks went skiing - seems I've heard the words "Big White," "Whistler," and "Stevens Pass" a lot this last week.

Great day: Wasn't Friday incredible? Sunny, 55 degrees (heat wave) with people driving around waving at each other with their car windows down. Speaking of paradise.....all the grey skies since are a little reminder that, yeah, it's still winter.

Quote: "Light, where is the light? Light the fire, if you have desire! Thunder, rushing wind, nothingness. Black night, black stone. Don't let your whole life go by in the dark.

"Evidently the only way to find the path is to set fire to my own life". - Rabindranath Tagore

Up in the air: Since the first time I was able to fly over our island, I've thought we should arrange for everyone who moves here to get up in the air & see what a wonderful place this is, and how incredibly wonderful it is from the sky. I can't help but think that would help people understand why some of us are working so hard to keep it in good shape for our children & grandchildren (which, of course, we can't do if we pave paradise, and put up a parking lot.)

Here's a shot from the air of Friday Harbor (click on it to see a bigger photo) from Kenmore Air, which provides seaplane service to the island from Seattle and other points around the Sound.

Let 'em know: Melonie at Rock Island wanted folks to know the Washington State Ferry System has added a feedback forum on their website for the proposed rate increases. Don't let 'em decide without hearing from you.

February 11, 2002

Changes in the air...and on the schedule: Did you notice the new Spring 2002 ferry schedules are out, and effective last weekend? You can check it online or go get one down at the terminal.

Don't be late.

Meanwhile, did you see the sunrise on Saturday morning at about 7am? The colors were amazing...don't miss the next one.

To a loved one: You know how pretty it is here, most of the time - here's your chance to send a postcard with a picture from the island: click on and you'll get the idea.

More, in the air: Northwest Seaplanes and West Isle Air have combined to form San Juan Airlines, Clyde Franklin and Shane Carlson in charge. I called to get a little more info this morning, but they're in meetings most of the day....this should help pick up the slack left by Harbor Air biting the dust last year; the area is also served by reliable Kenmore Air as well.

Kids rule: Lots of kid things happening last weekend - the middle school had a well-attended dance, "Robin Hood" was sold out at the Theater, and there were boys & more boys on the ferries on Saturday as the high school lost to Life Christian (we're eliminated from the playoffs) and six teams of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders went to Mount Vernon to play their Saturday games.

Fire engines on the boat: Harbormaster Ed Barrett down at the Port told me this morning one of the satellite buildings at Rosario on Orcas was afire, and was a big enough conflagration that they requested (and got) some of our fire engines.

The Nisqually returned to dock & gave the trucks a lift over to Orcas to help out. You could still see the smoke on this clear & pretty day by late morning.

Quote: "... all things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man ... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports." - Chief Seattle, Duwamish


February 6, 2002

Windy, windy, windy: The gusts continued through the night & into this morning...just the right kind, don't you think? No rain to speak of, it's kinda warm (in the 40s), and the wind's fun to walk in if you don't care what your hair looks like.

Nice winter day. Good for remembering dreams from before? Do you remember what was happening two years ago at this time, for example? Before that? Since? Good days for memories and dreams...

Westcott Bay Reserve: Speaking of getting out, have you seen what the Westcott Bay Institute's doing out near Roche Harbor? Their newly-re-designed website tells all:

The Westcott Bay Reserve (right) sculpture park boasts a rotating exhibit of over 50 sculptures placed in an open 19 acre setting, creating an outdoor museum. The sculptures include works in bronze, stone, wood, metal, glass and ceramic by noted artists from the San Juan Islands and all around the Pacific Northwest. The combination of extraordinary art and extraordinary landscape works its magic on the visitor; island residents and tourists alike have made the Reserve one of their favorite outings. (The entrance, for example, is graced by the mosiac below, by Chinmayo and Beth Spadafora.)

The Westcott Bay Institute (a non-profit organization) was formed as a volunteer group effort to create the Westcott Bay Reserve.

The Reserve officially opened on September 8th, 2001. The Reserve was made possible through the generous dedication of the land for open space, by Roche Harbor Resort. A site map is available at the entrance showing the location of trails, and listing the artists and their sculptures. A new birding brochure is also available at the entrance that identifies nearly 120 birds found at the Reserve.

Drop by & check it out.

Robin in the 'Hood: If you haven't seen FHHS' production of "Robin Hood" yet, don't blow it - this weekend's your last chance. The Theater has some photos from the production....the work that Fred Yockers & the kids do is truly inspired - the usual comment heard in the crowd during shows is something along the lines of, "These are just students? They're really good!"

Last two shows are Friday and Saturday night - be there.

Also: And...the Knowledge Bowl is tomorrow night at the Theater - watch the best & the brightest square off on stage.

Boys' basketball: The guys lost in their game last night, setting up a playoff-determining rematch with LaConnor (at neutral site Coupeville) tomorrow night - the winner grabs third place and plays Saturday; the season ends for the loser. Go get 'em, guys!

Quote: "Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the
basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the
rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by
- Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

January 29, 2002

Snow excitement: What does it take to make a few islanders go crazy? Just a few snowflakes...and so far, that's all we've gotten here, even though Bellingham schools were closed yesterday and parts of Seattle were dumped on today, we're getting off light, with little in the forecast. Sure was chilly last night though, as well as bright, with that full moon lighting up the evening.

Basketball: You know the boys & girls both play this afternoon at home - drop by and see them take on visiting Concrete if you've got time.

Gravel pit: There's a public meeting tonight at 7pm regarding the development of the Lafarge property into a community park. Drop by to let people know what you think (if you ask me, it's a great idea!) & find out what others think. See you at the middle school commons.

Vonda & Ed move on: The news that Vonda Sheiman's moving to the mainland has made it around the island...she's had a pretty big impact in her ten years here, and leaves her position at the Inns at Friday Harbor as well as her Town Council seat open. She's been in a leader in the local GOP since she arrived, with her tenure marked by nice bi-partisan touches like putting up Democrat state rep Jeff Morris whenever he's in town. She'll be missed.

Kayak company expands scope of operations: Bill & Colleen Wright with San Juan Safaris have received permission to operate from the marina in Friday Harbor by the Port of Friday Harbor. They've worked for years from Roche Harbor; they'll launch from both locations this coming summer.

Also, Colleen's done an awesome job with the redesign of their website - check it out!

For the birds: Dick Wright, who retired from teaching at FHES a few years back, has put together a wonderful website to help folks identify birds in the area. The colorful graphics help you tell a Black-headed Grosbeak, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch apart (which is actually kinda easy....)

Cool site - way to go, Dick!

Local guy goes for Congress: Republican Herb Meyer is one of several GOPers going for incumbent Congressman Rick Larsen's (D) spot this fall. Herb's got his website going and is offering his experience with the Reagan administration as one of his strong points.

Quote: "Conservation is the foresighted utilization, preservation and/or renewal of forests, waters, lands and minerals, for the greatest good of the greatest number for the longest time." -Gifford Pinchot


January 21, 2002

Time warp & MLK: A big thanks to all of you who wrote to tell me the date for last week's entry should be 2002, not 2001. Don't you do that with your checks, too, for the first month or so?

And yes, today's the day to take a moment to remember Dr. King, what he did, and what we still have left to do.

Hail, yes: Yep, that was hail we had falling around the area earlier this morning. It's been a day, so far, with everything - rain before dawn, snow (especially in the hills) and so far, no sunshine.

So let's leave some blue up above us
Let's leave some green on the ground
It's only ours to borrow, let's save some for tomorrow.
Leave it and pass it on down"
- Chorus to "Pass It On Down" by the country music group "Alabama"

Inn & out: There's been some turnover on the local b&b scene, as San Juan Inn's Linda Francis turned the keys over to Steve Judson in late autumn, and Trumpeter Inn's Don & Bobbie Weisner have headed south, leaving the place to Mark Zipkin and his wife Aylene. Sounds like Hillside House is also on the verge of selling, too - Dick Robinson says he and Kathy are ready to take some time off. They sure deserve it....

Islander notes: Saw the Whale Museum's Albert Shepard on the ferry last night - he was coming back from Houston, where he had spent the week teaching, doing outreach for the museum. He said something about it being 76 degrees there....

Lisa Nash Lawrence tells me 16 kids from Spring Street School (including her Mara, who is 5'9" now) are spending three weeks in Belize...she gets e-mail from Mara - sounds like things are going great for them down there.

Next time you go to the Fitness Club, drop by the hot tub area and see Wendy Harford's new painting on the wall - it's ten feet wide, and really brightens up the place. Commissioned by the club, Wendy finished it just last week.

Have you eaten at Mi Casita lately? As luck would have it, I've eaten there six times since New Year's Eve, and the average wait was about seven minutes before the food came. Greg and the folks there do a super job - and the food's good, which is why it's always crowded there, even during the winter.

Mark over at Trumpeter Inn tells me the trumpeter swans were hanging around in the Morrisons' pond, out in front of their property last week. It's always good to have our friends back....

Sounds like Kevin Pope's OK after flipping the family van last week out Cattle Point...his dad is Tim, the water guy. Kevin's sister and a friend are OK, too - there's a picture of the van on the San Juan Islander page. Kevin summed up why he was lucky: "Seatbelts work."

Mike Cohen with Project Nature Connect tells me he's able to offer more because his scholarship base is expanding, courtesy of a grant from a university in Hawaii.

Mountain Valley Growers has written a nice review about Lee Sturdivant's Bootstraps Guides. She's not just famous, she's well-reviewed.
Click on one of her book titles to see more.

Wolf Hollow keeps at it: I saw Serena from WH on the ferry last night - she was returning from releasing a young re-habbed eagle out near Concrete. I asked her what he did (I assumed the bird would just fly back here...), and she said he just flew up to a tree, sat there, and looked around.

Zero to Six, our local rock band featuring much of the Leighton family, had their album release party at the Grange Friday. Now go buy the CD.

Schools need the support: The Maintenance and Operations Levy ballots will be mailed in late February for the early March election. This one's a no-brainer - this levy kicks in approximately 20% of the money the schools use (the rest comes from the state)...and we're up a creek without the funding. Vote Yes on this one...if you have questions, check out the informational website.

Quote: "The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope." - Wendell Berry

Basketball: Our FHHS boys are doing great, looking for a spot in the playoffs for DAve Anderson's last year here, and the girls are playing with enthusiasm and skill...but what about the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys? Their standings are posted on the internet, or you can ask them how they're doing on the ferry any Saturday, as they travel to Mt. Vernon to play. You can also see several of the six teams here next Saturday as they play their only home games on the island of the season at FHHS.

Quote: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." --Mahatma Gandhi


January 15, 2002

New Year slides in: The last few days remind us why we're here - it's been sunny (if a little chilly) and beautiful outside. Seems to get the new year off to a good start, doesn't it?

Passages: Just heard that Utah Johnson passed away at the medical center on Friday; longtime entertainer & vaudeville vet Stan Kramer died earlier this month. They'll be missed....

Baker back East: Remember Cindi Baker, who was the first Park & Rec director, starting back in '94? She wrote to say hi from back east where she & Keith & the kids live now...says she just landed a fulltime P&R job there, and that the kids are doing well & playing sports - cross country skiing, soccer, and basketball. She does get things going: she was the first girls' soccer coach for FHHS when the program got started in '95. Good to hear good things are happening for her.

More P&R: By the way, Island Rec (which is what we call the Park & Rec here) just launched its new website, which contains program info and more. It looks good - check it out at

Superman leaves: Clark McAlpine has resigned as director at the Whale Museum. Clark came along six years ago and has been a a prime force behind settling down the Museum's cashflow, finances, and operations and management. He came to the island with a history of getting hired at troubled YMCA's and other non-profits, fixin' 'em, and moving on. His steady hand on the keel will be missed, but he's done a super job.

And...he was always running, no matter how busy things got. His runner-coach enthusiasm infected a lot of islanders, and will live on.

Crook caught: I had several friends (they asked me not to identify 'em here in the Update) who were broken into in the past couple of months here on the island. This being one of the safest places around to live - that kinda thing is pretty unsettling on an island where people are used to feeling secure.

But the San Juan Islander folks reported last week a likely suspect had been caught (apprehended after a scuffle with detective Jeff Asher - the guy was carrying a gun). Jeff and several deputies led the investigation that rounded him up.

It's good we all look after each other.

Quote: "Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not be for the stilling of my pain but for the heart to conquer it." -- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)


December 31, 2001

Full moon rising: The last couple of nights were wonderful for walking outside in the moonlight, with the full moon providing plenty of light to dance by. Nice time to run, too.

Passing: You've probably heard by now that Craig Carlson drowned last week in Costa Rica...tough times for Lisa and the kids.

Quieter: Most of the folks I've talked to seem to have a pretty quiet New Year's Eve planned, with lots of curling up at home with a little glass of wine & playing with the kids planned.

Have a good one.


December 28, 2001

Snow way: Seemed to me everyone at the post office today was saying that it was cold enough to snow (actually, 35-40 isn't, but that's what people say). The weather report, history, and a finger in the air all suggest there won't be any snow, but it's nice to imagine.

Weren't the folks at the post office great this holiday season? Those lines out into the lobby were long and relentless, and so was the good cheer by the folks behind the counters. Happy holidays, you guys!

Loopty loop: You noticed how beautiful it was on Christmas sky and just enough chill to be seasonal. I took a walk around the loop of Pear Point, passing all sorts of folks who were also out walking in the brightness of the day.

Pear Point loops around from near the Fairgrounds, down Argyle, past Jackson Beach and around for 4 miles back into town. Great place to walk, or to watch runners, or to run, or to bike...

Pacific Rim bites the dust: Back in 1994, internet service provider Pacific Rim Network from Bellingham dialed the islands into the digital age by starting the first ISP to serve the islands. In short order, they were suffering from lousy connections, flakey modems, and myriad other techo-probs, and were soon (in '96) supplanted by local ISP's like Rock Island and a couple of years later by Interisland, among others. In 1997, they were bought by the biggest hosting provider in the world, Verio, and over the past three years, tech support for the old Pacific Rim accounts has faded to near non-existence.

It all comes to an end next month, as Verio sold the Pac Rim accounts to Earthlink, which will discontinue them by early February.

That's how it began, and the whimper with which it ended.

Quote: Simplicity is making the journey of life with just enough baggage. -- Charles Warner

Joe's famous: Remember Joe Bongiorno, who grew up here & lived here till he moved to Seattle four years ago? A familiar sight at the Ale House where he cooked and waited table, he also ran MellowSounds Studio, where he turned out some pretty nice work.

Now he's released his latest album, "At Peace," which just got reviewed on Solo Piano Publication's website as well as receiving a positive (actually sorta gushing) review from the Victory Review. He's booking weddings for next summer already, so you better call soon....

Mapped: If you want a good online map of the island and town, go see Larry Morris' renderings...they're easy to read & easy to make plans with.

Art walk: This is great time of year to visit the galleries around's not crowded, the shop owners have time to visit with you, and I can't think of a place that doesn't have great stuff.

All connected: One of the more positive messages that seems to be going around this troubled world is the notion that we're all connected...Jim Nollman explores this from the perspective of communication between species on his acclaimed website, which examines the way we knowingly & sometimes unknowingly relate. A good place to start with understanding where Jim's coming from: An interview with a fellow named Derrick Jensen you might have heard of, which is part of Jensen's book "Listening to the Land."

New Year - make your plans: The Soroptimists and the San Juan Community Theatre are sponsoring a $75 a person gala event at the Theatre New Year's Eve...are you going?

Roll Tide: I know you've been wondering how the tides & changes shift - now you can look online and see when high tide is.

Surf's up.

Remember: In this time of uncertainty and reflection about where our country's headed, it's a good time to remember that there's enough suffering already...not just here, but in the world around us.

It's a good time to look and begin to plan what things we can do to make the world a better place, and to help with the healing. Much needs to be rebuilt, including a sustained (but currently shaken) belief that the future hold a fulfilling, secure life for all the people of the planet.

Happy new year...let's hope it's a good one.


December 19, 2001

It's the pits - yay!: In what should prove to be a huge deal for the island, and for the future of the island, the folks who own the now mostly-closed gravel pit (LaFarge) have agreed to sell the shoreline part of it and donate 55 acres of it to a consortium of the county, the Land Bank, and the Port, affiliated with Island Rec (the Park & Rec folks.)

P&R commissioner Alan Marriner tells me this could result in ballfields (that's the plan) for the kids here. We presently have a dearth of fields - you have only to try and get practice time for your softball or baseball team in the spring to get the idea. Former Island Rec commish Lee Sturdivant tells me, "This is the most wonderful news," and she should - she's been working on this and similar projects for years.

This IS wonderful news...and a good chance to take care of our kids.

80K: By the way, you know Lee sells her four Bootstrap Guides from her website...she's sold over 80,000 o fthe books - amazing! and a wonderful achievement.

Jam it: There's a Christmas jam for island musicians at Front Street Cafe starting at 6pm this Saturday. Bring your guitar, bring your drum....rump-pa-pa-pum. See you there!

Feral cats get a chance: There a new organization that's set up just to take care of feral cats on the island. The Cat's Paw Foundation hopes to capture, spay/nueter, and help get the cats adopted or relocated.

Eat: Have you ordered your Christmas goodies from Felicity yet? Chow down....


December 15, 2001

Beginning to feel a lot like Christmas: Brrrr. The weather report for this morning showed a windchill of 32 degrees this mid-morning (which is when I hiked to town and back). With the wind, it felt like winter was really coming....

Get inside and warm up.

One way to get into the season is to drop by Roche Harbor's Old Fashioned Christmas Caroling tomorrow night - folks dress up in Victorian outfits, and it feel a whole lot like you were dropped into the village 110 years ago. Starts at six.

Passing: John Stam passed away last week. His helpful, cheerful attitude will be missed...

100K: Check out the bottom of this page...your Update (that's this thing you're reading) just turned four years old last month and is about to turn 100,000 pageviews. Wow! It's so cool you read this...thanks for your support. And...thanks for writing. I love hearing from you. (Many of your comments are posted in the guestbook.)

Christmas comes slow: Does it happen with you, or just with people who have kids? The last few days before Christmas seem to slow things down, and the kids get more and more into "Is it Christmas yet?"

It's great. The lines at the post office have been trailing out into the lobby, which gives you time to visit with the rest of the folks in line.

It's slow. Like President Taft after a big meal. Like the taffy you're making for the holidays. Like the big trucks on Roche Harbor Road when you're in a hurry.

Enjoy the ride.

Roberto's goes Japanese: In this town we have two Mexican restaurants, Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean fare, English pub fare, Thai what are we missing? Japanese! The restaurant that was Roberto's (up above the Blue Dolphin on the corner across from the ferry parking lot) opened this week as Shogun.

The place started the year as Tapas on Tap, a pizza place, went through the summer as the Lighthouse, and emerges, phoenix-like, in its new incarnation. Charles from China Pearl is behind all this, so go check it out.

And - most locals still call whatever's housed there Roberto's.

Dan's the man: Have you seen Dan Levin's new website?

Solstice: The winter solstice marks both the coming of winter AND the coming of longer days...take a moment on Thursday and remember how the seasons go round...

Pipes up: You know Michael who runs the Carpet Connection's daughter Regan? She lives in Seattle with her husband Michael & new baby Piper...they were on island last weekend to get Piper (now 6 months old) baptized over at St. David's Episcopal Church.

Speaking of transitions, West Davis retires as pastor at St. David's at the end of the year. He'll be much missed...

Quote: "The only thing that is troubling with all these people is that they are all absolutely stick-thin. If everyone wants to be famous and everyone looks up to these famous people as idols, having the perfect figures and feeling pressure to look like that ... I think a lot of these eating disorders do come from that."
-- Singer Charlotte Church, 15, discussing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera with the New York Daily News.

Chamber of Commerce elects officers: outgoing prez Andy Duke announced today that Cathy Cavanaugh and Clark McAlpine (from the Whale Museum) have been elected to the C of C board to replace Kathy Johnson and Libby Thompson, whose terms ended this year. New officers for 2002 include Farhad Ghatan - President, Victoria Compton - Vice President, Tori Zehner - Treasurer, Ellen Johnson - Secretary.

Enter Stage Left: You have to see Stage Left's The Christmas Carol at the Theatre this weekend or next...they do excellent work. Two of the shows are donations only - tomorrow's at 5 is one of them).

While you're there, take a moment at look over Joan Benny's photos in the lobby...she's also the Ghost of Christmas Past in the show.

Late shopping: If you're like me, it's bad enough that kids are surrounded by the media portrayals of violence and such, but who wants to buy 'em that for Christmas or holiday presents? Think before you buy - the people at Lion and Lamb prepare reviews so you can see what you're buying your impressionable urchins. Good site by good people.

Congressional jostling: Word on the street is that Herb Meyer's running for Congress against one-term incumbent Rick Larsen. Long-term GOP member Herb worked for President Reagan as an assistant to Bill Casey in the CIA, and as vice chair for the CIA's National Intelligence Council. Presently he lives down in Cape San Juan...

Is it hard for someone with a spy background to get in office? Two notable examples in the last couple of decades are Andropov in the Soviet Union (he was the KGB head for a while, and in charge before Gorbechov) and the President's dad, who was CIA director for a spell.

Should be an interesting race.

Harry madness: Remember the lines that ran from the movie theater all the way up to the Little Store when Harry Potter opened in mid-November? The lines are shorter, but Harry enjoyed a nice five week run here....unusual for a little two-screen theater.

Much was made (correctly, I think) about how HP made children want to read again...does the release of the movie remind them how much fun it is to go to the movies and not read? Naah...I've heard at least two kids say the book was better than the movie, and that the movie wasn't as good as the book.

But I did have one kid-friend say, "Good! Now I don't have the read the book."

He's gonna love books on tape.

History is doomed to repeat itself:

Review the Update from September 11, 2001 - December 14, 2001

Review the Update from June 7 , 2001 - September 10, 2001

Review the Update from March 17, 2001 - June 6, 2001

Review the Update from December 18, 2000 - March 16, 2001

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:

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