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Friday Harbor - San Juan Island Update

Prepared weekly or so by Ian Byington, if anything happens around here
To comment, feel free to add to our guestbook, or view it.

December 18, 2002

Sun makes brief appearance: The sun actually came out for part of the morning today. Did you see it?

Santa visits the library: Santa Claus dropped by the library today around the same time as assistant librarian Laura Tretter (right, with friend Nina) was reading holiday stories and singing with the kids visiting from Tori Prescott's Head Start program.

I asked Santa (speaking through his alter ego, Michael Perrin) afterwards what the kids said they wanted for Christmas...he said there were a lot of Barbie shoes on the girls' lists; mostly candy for the boys.

Syd shot a pile of photos of the children (I helped a little, and got to sing a little, too.) See if you know any of the kids in this photo gallery.

Barn un-raising: Teresa Smith told me one of the casualities of the gale-force winds that rocked the island this last week was her barn, which blew over. Luckily, she got the horses out in time before it fell.

Night out: Get out on the town tomorrow and Friday! Debbie Pigman of the Chamber writes:

Members of the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce want to offer you the chance to do some Christmas shopping after work or after dinner by remaining open until 8:00pm on Thursday and Friday, December 19 and 20. Enjoy shopping in the festive, holiday atmosphere that emerges as evening falls in our wonderfully decorated town.

Look for balloons, carolers, maybe a little refreshment here and there!

Shopping locally is important to our merchants and they want to make it
easier for you to do so.

Participating Chamber retailers include The Computer Place, Dan Levin Originals, Elephant Crossing, Giclee Printworks, Islands Studio, Osito's, San Juan Cellular and The Toy Box

Solstice: Nearly there. This weekend the days start to get longer.

Two Towers opens: The line didn't stretch around the block, but at 3:50pm before the 4:30 show, there was a nice line collecting to see the Tolkien movie's opening today down at the Royal, oops, I mean Palace Theater.

As you can see in the photo (shot by By Design's Shay Byington), Aaron has decked the place out for the season again - always looks good this time of year.

Quote: When any government . . . undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. - Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On...

December 16, 2002

Solstice cometh: The days always seem even shorter when it's gray outside, because it feels as though it gets dark that much earlier...the forecast calls for lots of rain today & tomorrow, so hunker down & get inside & keep warm.

The winds finally eased up, after a week of pushing us around. This weekend was especially breezy, with lots of tree pieces scattered around. People were talking about 50-70 mile-an-hour gusts Saturday & Sunday.

The Lighted Boat Parade happened on early Saturday evening, in between the wind & rain - the wind actually let up for the parade, which was a bit under-attended (boat-wise, not people-wise) because of the threat of the weather.

It's always good to see the Santa Ship, anyway.

School's nearly out: Just four days left. A number of kids I've talked to are staying put this winter break, not going off-island. It's always nicer to have friends around, but sometimes you gotta go see the grandparents, wherever they may be.

Come watch her paint:
Kristy Gjesme will be doing a water color portrait demonstration this Saturday, December 21 between 12 and 2 p.m. at Island Studios. Drop by & see how she creates those wonderful pieces

December 13, 2002

What's new around here: The feeling that the wind would never quit...three days of wind, sometimes getting up to gale force, made it feel as though it would blow forever. Finally, last night it let up - it's just wet and a bit chilly, like it's supposed to be.

Bands & fine music: You know, music teacher & band director Janet Olsen does such a super job with the music program at both the high school and the middle school.

That was evident as both schools presented their holiday programs this week. Tuesday the high school strutted their stuff; last night it was the middle school's turn (that's the 7th grade band to the right - you can click on it to see it larger, if you're looking for your kid.)

News & clues: The comings & goings continue, as Victoria Compton has sold her At Home business. She tells me she plans to go to college in New Jersey to take creative writing, and to be be near her sweetie...

Meanwhile Betsy Lee had her baby girl a couple of days ago. Reports are that she resembles papa Wawan. All are doing well.

Saw Becky Smith with her kid last week; she says she's due with their second in April.

This probably isn't a big deal to you, but it was to me: I needed a copy of my business license yesterday afternoon real quick (I had mis-filed the original). I went down to the Town's offices there on the corner across from the Garden Path Cafe, and it was great the way Keri at the front desk made my problem her problem, and chased up the documentation with speed, cheerfulness, and a smile. Way to go.

Got me out of a jam, and made me feel good about my Town friends as well.

Speaking of whom, while I was down there, Mary Keith reminded me the Celtic Christmas thing at the Theatre tonight should be pretty good. I'm going; I hope you are, too.

Open now: Went to the opening of that gallery with the Giclee photos that's in the Technology Center (I liked it better when it was the Sustainable Tech Center, I must admit - we need more attention to Sustainability.) Fine stuff - Morgan Miller's done a good job in there. Drop by. While i was there, I saw a bunch of folks:

Architectural Digest, take note: Have you seen Mike Tranfro's website describing his architectural firm and showing some of his projects? I think it's one of the better ones around.

I also like Peter's Ravenhill site & Nina's Island Architecture site. See what you think.

But I can't do the talks like they talk on my tv
I can't do a love song like the way it's meant to be
I can't do everything but I would do anything for you
Oh no I can't do anything except be in love with you
Dire Straits, Romeo & Juliet

Misleading: You know, I think it's misleading for a company to say they "guarantee" you'll see whales when you go whale watching with them (like this one - here's their "guarantee"). What they mean is if they don't find 'em, they'll give you a free ticket to ride with 'em again. That just strikes me as flat-out misleading.

I've talked to my naturalist friends & they tend to agree. Eco-tourism is one thing; no-holds barred misrepresentation of the way things work up here is another.

Watch out: Friends of the San Juans' Director Stephanie Buffum directed me to a well-researched & well-presented series that was in the Seattle paper a few weeks back:

I wanted to share with you a sobering and informative 5-day series of articles about the health of Puget Sound in the Seattle P-I.
It's called "Our Troubled Sound."

It reports: raw sewage and deadly toxins have been dumped into Puget Sound, ravaging what was once one of the world's richest ecosystems. We have overfished, destroyed shoreline habitat and poisoned our beloved orcas.

December 10, 2002

Wind & rain: Last night's windy night blew things around a bit, but no big deal.

Hope you got some sleep.

Rachel rocks: Remember Rachel who worked at Felicitations and was painting out at Roche this summer? Her website has some of her drawings and water colors. Check it out! (That's hers - "Evening on the Ferry" - to the right.)

Chamber Christmas party: I went to the party last night, held at Ruth's waterworks gallery on Argyle. The reason I go is to find out things for you. Here are some of the things people told me:

Island Studios Open House: It went great, according to store boss Pat Lawrence. There were artists making art (like Sam Connery, right), lots of cider & cookies, and plenty of cool stuff to buy, which people did. And a good time was had by all.

Mailbag: Carol from Serendipity Books checked in:

Hi Ian -
I especially enjoyed your column this week - love the way you get bits of info about people by riding the ferry - maybe that could be a full-time gig...
But what I really wanted to say was, that was the first time I saw something described as being "next to Serendipty Books"! For years our bookmarks have read, "next to Madelyn's Bagels"...does that mean we are really an established business?!
Glad you sold all your CD's at the studios - hope you had fun.

What CD? Yes, I expect my new CD back from the CD-makers next week or so.

Then I'll tell you more about it & sell you one. In the meantime, I gotta go work on the webpage.

Between the rocks on Iraq: Even church leaders are opposing the president's position on Iraq. Here's a bit from the Boston Globe. And, yes, this matters to people here. A lot.

Dance: The SpiderMan thingie at the right has nothing to do with anything, but it's fun to see him dance.

Phone home: It was one of those weeks. I saw Mark Kendiorek driving his big yellow truck that he uses for his Closets By Design business - it said 1-800-BY-DESIGN on the side (now there's a plug, Mark.) I also called Nina the architect at 378-NINA and Wendy at M&W Auto Sales at 378-AUTO.

My company is called By Design, but Mark got the 800 number first, 'cause I didn't need it. You can call me at 378-PARK. (I should sell this to Sally Kerr. Or the parking nazi. Or to the folks who are doing a good job trying to turn the gravel pit into one.)

More mail: Beaverton Valley Farm B&B's Richard Foote (he and Angel are the new owners) writes:

Members of the San Juan Island Bed & Breakfast Association are hosting their
annual Holiday Open House & Benefit on Sunday, December 15, 2002 from 2-5
PM. Donations will benefit the San Juan Island Food Bank.

For several years Association members have opened their doors to the
community to benefit the Food Bank. It is a good time to see some of their
beautiful accommodations and support the community.

This year's participants include:

Arbutus Lodge, 5767 West Side Road, 378-8840
Beaverton Valley Farm, 4144 Beaverton Valley Road, 378-3276
Friday's Historical Inn, 35 First Street, 378-5848
Hillside House, 365 Carter Avenue, 378-4730
Lakedale Resort, 4313 Roche Harbor Road, 378-2350

Each B&B will be decorated in the holiday spirit, and offering Holiday
refreshments. Donations of non-perishable food items and money for the Food
Bank will be accepted at each location.

As a special treat, the Island Carolers will be performing at the Lakedale
Resort starting at 4:00 pm.

Please help spread the word, and join us for a worthy cause and some Holiday Cheer.

New whale babies: Got a couple of new ones, apparently. The Whale Museum has more.

Other babies: Lisa Roell tells me her buddy Betsy Lee is over in Bellingham, ready to deliver anytime now (today was the due day.) Meanwhile, Kelly Owen and Allan Marriner have their kid due a bit later this month.

Read about it yourself: Thinking about mooring here? Check Harbormaster Ed's monthly Port of Friday Harbor News for this month's special.

Better than you think: Most of you know I teach at Skagit (math, this semester) and at school as a guest teacher sometimes (today, talking global issues and consumption patterns with seventh graders at FHMS.) But it's nice when you run into old students.

Ran into a woman in the produce section of the grocery store last week who screamed, "You taught me so much! That intro to computers class at Skagit was the greatest!" I asked, "So you learned something, huh?" and she said, "No, I'm still confused, but at a much higher level."

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
ee cummings

December 2, 2002

Thanks for the fog: Seemed like most of the mornings lately have been foggy, which gives way to sunshine at some point or another. Just like Baby Bear's porridge, not too cold, not too hot. And with pretty sunsets, like Saturday night's.

Hope your Thanksgiving was good, restful and shared with a grateful heart.

And, you know, the fog's gotta lift sometime. That's the way it is.

Island Studios Open House: It's this weekend coming up. Plan to drop by.

Hungry Clam moves up: After getting burned out of its longtime home last May (see the archived pictures below for photos of the fire), Stacey & the Clam moved to the old Tourist Info booth across from the ferry lanes for the summer, and did OK.

Now it looks like they're going to move into the old Roberto's (it's also been several Italian, Japanese, and pizza places) up above the rock next to the Blue Dolphin, next to Serendipity Book Store. The ultimate survivor restaurant...way to go, you guys.

What does Spain's oil spill have to do with us? In yesterday's news was a story about that oil spill over off the coast of Europe, estimated by some to be worse than the Exxon Valdez (that's a dead dolphin in the photo to the right; click on it to enlarge):

A dead dolphin, covered with fuel oil, is taken away by specialists on the beach in Nemina in the northwestern Spanish province of Galicia, December 1, 2002. The 26-year-old Bahamas-flagged vessel Prestige took some 70,000 tons of fuel oil to the bottom of the Atlantic when it finally broke up on November 19. The thick oil has washed up on beaches and rocks over a 400 kilometer (240 mile) stretch of the Galician coast, coating seabirds and endangering shellfish stocks vital to the local economy. Spain's western beaches are known as the 'Coast of Death' because of their long history of shipwrecks. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

The key here is visualizing what this looks like if it happens here:

Oil all over the rocks of the west side, South Beach covered with seabirds coated in oil, fish and other sealife say nothing of what happens to the local eco-tourism-fueled economy. It's happened before & I wrote about it then in this Update (see the Apr. 25, 1999 posting).

People around the sound are concerned it could happen again. The Seattle Weekly ran a good review of the present situation about a month ago, but the question remains - when are escort tugs or at least rescue tugs (the Weekly's lobbying target) going to be assigned keep the big oil boats from running aground here? When will they to protect our shores?

After the weekend: Most of the vendors at the Artisans' Bazaar at the elementary school told me there was a good crowd both days (Friday & Saturday) and that sales were good. It's a great place to stop and visit & catch up on island gossip.

Maria & her vote on Iraq: When Senator Cantwell was here last week, she indicated to several folks that her vote supporting President Bush's resolution to be able to invade Iraq was motivated by her sense that a "no" vote would set him up to invade anyway, while a "yes" vote forced him to get a resolution passed at the UN that would stay his hand. (Chamber of Commerce president Farhad told me about this on Saturday night, and offered that he was very impressed with the Senator's sense of compassion for the island's economic difficulties and overall intelligence as well.)

This one vote - this is an area of concern to many people I know, and I don't buy it. An invasion of Iraq is an inappropriate response to what we know (and don't know) about them as a threat, and I feel a "no" vote would have been correct.

Her other concerns - health care, boosting tourism, and amping up the chance for improved technology to be the basis of economic growth strike me as generally on target.

One who hopes for interesting times has 'em now....

On the boat this weekend: I was returning from a visit to family & friends on the mainland this weekend, and it was cool to see so many folks I knew, and you know, on the ferry.

Eric Kessler and his family were playing in the ferry parking lot, with little Max on his bike...John Pachuta and daughter Jessie were on their way home from a trip to Ohio....Bill & Allison (she's the one from San Juan Excursions) came back from three weeks in England....Helena Pederson tells me she passed the GED test she took two weeks ago. She already has her diploma from high school in her native Poland; she wanted to qualify for the American, English-language equivalent - and did! Way to go!... Tom & Tammy Doenges were returning from their family trip, with Levi in tow - he's running around with authority now - one and a half-year-old authority. And there were others.

A study of the vernacular: In visiting with folks on the ferry, I noted that someone (not necessarily the folks mentioned above), said something that was hard to deal with was "a blow that's hard to swallow," and later said something about it's "time to swallow the bullet." Sounds hard to digest, at least...meanwhile, I heard a couple of high school juniors talking behind me - one was re-telling a story and said, "So I told him - 'What part of no don't you understand - the "n" or the "o"?'"

Quote: "If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, he'd turn over in his grave." - Samuel Goldwyn

November 27, 2002

Senator Cantwell drops by: It was a standing-room only crowd for US Senator Maria Cantwell who came to the island for the day today. She took a tour of Luxel with Forbes Powell, and then discussed tourism at the Courthouse to the crowd.

Economic development includes infastructure - the Senator spoke about broadband telecommunications, education & job-training, and the need to address the state's unemployment problems. She said health care needs to be made more affordable and there needs to an upgrade to the community colleges' curricula to get people ready for the new jobs in the coming decades.

She also talked about alternative energy sources, saying that western states face a coming crisis in energy shortages that other states don't presently have.

Giving thanks: There's the free Community Dinner at the Grange (I saw Minnie Knych setting up this afternoon) starting at noon, and one at the high school as well.

Wherever you end up, remember to have a grateful heart...and remember the folks in the world who don't have much. They're the ones we need to work harder to help.

Quote: "The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it?.... if biotic, in the course of aeons has built something that we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. Aldo Leopold

Digitally altered music: Full Circle's Cynthia Elliot tells me fiddle-player & husband Gordon drilled his playing finger with a drill bit, and that she's going to get her shoulder checked at the hospital as well...meanwhile, though, the band's been working Mike Adams in on bass, which gives them a fuller sound. They'll sound pretty good when everyone's well again.

New Island Rec board member: Island Rec has chosen Denice (with a "c" not an "s") Brown, a mom & attorney, to fill Janna's spot on the Island Rec board. Denice previously served as county attorney in Santa Fe, NM.

November 25, 2002

Gates Proposal approved & why it's important: We received news last week that the School District's hope for getting money to upgrade the tech offerings at school was OK'd. Larry Wight wrote to let me know:

Dear Ian,

We did it!

The Gates Foundation has just notified us that our proposal has been selected for funding! Over the next three years, the high school will be receiving nearly $250,000 for technology and teacher training. The only “bad” news is that the community grants are still pending. As the Gates' representatives told us, “…there’s some tweaking that needs to be done to the community grants”. Recall, the Family Resource Center had applied for funding for student engagement in human resources and the arts, and San Juan County’s Agricultural Extension 4H Program had applied for funding for student engagement in natural resources and the environment. We fully expect that those grants will be finalized shortly.

We are delighted with this news. This funding will significantly expand and improve our school programs, will create remarkable linkages between our school and community, and will benefit many non-profit organizations through the application of student skills and resources. We’ll be getting more information out on these community grants as available.

Thank you to all!

Marilyn Luckman and Larry Wight

Super job by Larry and FHHS principal Marilyn Luckman in shepherding this thing through committees, writing the grant proposal, and getting feedback from literally hundreds of community folks to help shape it and bring it to its final form.

What's the big deal?: Currently, in much of the US, there are kids who are learning to use and learn with computers and other technology, while others are not. This is sometimes called the "digital divide," as it's pretty obvious that kids who are comfortable with technology have a leg up in the job markets of the future over those who have less experience with computers.

This grant proposal seeks to shrink that divide by making more available to more kids, which includes expanding opportunities to teachers to learn how to use tech in the classroom and as an effective complement to regular instruction.

That's the idea: To not leave kids out. That's what it's all about. Way to go!

Senator Cantwell to visit Wednesday: Senator Maria Cantwell will be in Friday Harbor on Wednesday, November 27 to meet in the County Commissioners' Room at 12:45. The main topic of discussion is economic development, in particular tourism. The public (that's you) is encouraged to attend.

Doors, redux: Jim Morrison wasn't the only one to do good work with the Doors. Vern Tator makes 'em. Check out his site (here's his note):

Hi there, I am very proud to announce the opening of my new website.

Ketch, Yawl, Schooner or Later

Calendar time: Get out your calendar & start making plans, or at least mark up when the cool stuff's happening.

There's the Artisans' Bazaar at the elementary school on Friday and Saturday this week (after Thanksgiving). Everything's made by folks from around here - and it's great stuff.

On the 7th & 8th of December is the Island Studios Open House - artists making stuff, refreshments, and music.

"Our Man Friday," a new art gallery in town operated by Mary Sly & Jamie Ellsworth, is hosting its opening Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29 and 30 from 10-6. Check it out!Located at 278 "A" Street Unit #2 (the new business site across from The Fat Cat)

School music: Carol Ford writes:

Hi Ian;
Do you think that you could mention the upcoming Winter Concert 2002 in your column? This will be a special evening of music provided by the excellent Friday Harbor High School Concert and Jazz Bands as well as the Friday Harbor High School Choir. The concert will take place on December 10th at the San Juan Community Theatre at 7:00pm.

This is a very talented and dedicated group of students who put in a great amount of practice time and they deserve a big audience. There will also be a student art show on display in the lobby (more of our gifted kids). Admission is free although donations are gladly accepted and directly benefit concert and/or jazz band students. Refreshments will also be available. This is a concert for the community, so come out and show support for our students!

Also - If you do get a chance to mention this in your column, you might also want to note that the Friday Harbor Middle School Holiday Concert 2002 is on December 12, 2002, San Juan Community Theatre at 7:00 pm. A nice opportunity to hear the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands.

Thanks so much, Carol Ford

Island notes: Someone told me Pete Bostrum had surgery a couple of weeks ago to attack a tumor on his brain...he's back home now, resting. He tells me the surgery wasn't able to get it all....

Tami back from tour: Spoke to Tami Oldham Ashcraft this morning because someone from England had written to ask how to contact her, because they live near Southampton where Havana was from (that's Tami's boat in the story). She tells me Red Sky in Mourning has now been translated into 17 languages, and that she went to Britain for a book tour, where it's selling very well. Didn't hurt that The London Times ran a story in the weekend color supplement a few weeks ago.

New: The Chamber of Commerce just elected its new 2003 board members: Deborah Hopkins, Jim Carroll, and Jeri Ahrenius.

Sold: Panacea B&B has apparently been sold - we'll find out more and let you know.

Hitchin': Alex Wanger and Joni Cameron became engaged a few days ago, according to Alex's mom Nancy Devaux.

Newer: Letty Hopper and Zack's baby was a little (6.5 lb) girl, Zora.

Wheels: Remember we mentioned that car that burned a few weeks ago? Erin O'Connell found herself a car last week, so getting to work works, now.

Another gallery opening! This one is in the Technology Center and will be dedicated strictly to photography. Elyse Dufour has been helping put it together - it should be opening around the 22nd of December.

Memory of Jim: Heather Spaulding remembers Jim Sackett, who died a couple of weekends ago:

He served on the board of the Whale Museum. He was an environmentally minded man, beginning the Sustainable Technology Center. When it first opened, he was so excited showing people its possibilities and his vision, he was like a boy showing people around the place.

I participated in a workshop with him, discussing a Paul Hawken book, all about sustainable technology, and how much impact money and business has on the environment. If we can change the way business works, get business to have some environmental, awareness, we may stand a chance... I'll always remember his smile, his enthusiasm. We'll all miss you Jim!

New book: Mary Getten has recently published a new book, "Communicating with Orcas" - and will be giving a reading Dec 4th at the San Juan Library. Heather says she has already read most of it, and says if you have an open mind, you will be fascinated to hear what the orcas have to say.

Heather adds: I realize Thanksgiving is this Thursday, but everyone else is already talking about Christmas, and putting up their Christmas decorations, so I can tell you now: Santa is coming to the Whale Museum on Dec 7th - for the first time ever! And no, he won't have whales for reindeer. I promise.

November 18, 2002

Meteors tonight & tomorrow: If the weather will let us, there should be quite a show tonight.

The Leonid meteor shower is written up here which says this should be the biggest event like this during this century. Meanwhile, the NASA site includes a calculator for figuring out where's a good place to watch it (clue: outside).

Hope it's not cloudy.

Potty over Potter: Yep, the lines were long and it was just as crazy here as the rest of the country, as folks went to see the new, long (2:45) Harry Potter film. The reviews were good, although seventh grader Casey Lockhart said there could have been more Quidditch, and other kids bemoaned the parts that had to be left out because movies are so short. Seen it already? Aaron's got the Santa Clause 2 movie still playing as well.

New to the island: Just saw Kate Stone & her new baby Desmond last week - both have the new baby glow. Most folks know Kate's one of the best cooks/chefs around - that kid's gonna be one well-fed child.

Other news: Ladd down at Harbor Books tells me he and his friend Jennifer are engaged...congrats! He's also gonna be sending along some news from the Home Trust folks. He's on the board - they're working to make housing more affordable here on the island. We'll keep you posted what they're up executive director Lovell Pratt tells me the new website's nearly done, too.

Saturday there was a celebration of life gathering in Seattle for Jim Sackett.

Mark & Sherry Moyer told me yesterday they're almost ready to re-open Moyer's Jewelry. They're hoping this week is the week...the store re-located in that little mall that's between SoftWear & Windermere on Spring Street; ReMax is moving into the old Moyer's spot up the way there. Mark says the web site for Moyer's is in the works. Windermere's is undergoing a re-design as well.

Hands-on: You knew, didn't you, that Cynthia's Island Calm site is a pretty good compendium of folks who offer massage and body work - lately, it's been growing to include other health providers as well.

Check it out. Then check it again - it's being constantly updated.

Island Studios: Ready for the season - now listen. You gotta buy holiday gifts somewhere...stop by and see all the work local artists have made before you go wandering off-island to get stuff. Or you can order some of the art work online at - their page is being updated, too.

What we do here: People who live off-island may get the impression that all we do here on this rock is work on our websites.

That is correct.

Quote: "A viable neighborhood is a community: and a viable community is made up of neighbors who cherish and protect what they have in common." - Wendell Berry

Love on the run: Actually, not everyone is working on their respective websites. Some are looking for love, online. Like this.

November 15, 2002

"Communicationg Doors": The show's in its last couple of days at the Theatre, and you ought to make plans to catch it. It's funny, it's clever, it's ribald (a publicist for the Theatre told me it probably would rated PG-13, which I believe these days means kids have to explain it to their parents.) I got to see it last night & realy enjoyed it.

And, as always, it's a chance to see allt he people from around town you never get a chance to see. That's what intermission's for, I think.

November 11, 2002

The fin whale, examined: About a week and a half ago, a dead juvenile fin whale was found floating on the other side of Stuart Island. The Whale Museum's Kari Koski told me they towed it to the Friday Harbor Marine Labs, where they performed a necropsy on it last Wednesday night, to try to determine how it died and see what else could be learned.

Margaret Longley told me the next morning that she had stayed over at the Labs till 2am the morning before, and that the sight of scientists wading around in the innards of a 53-foot animal was pretty amazing. She said the evidence seemed to point to the whale having hit the front of a boat and crushed its internal organs, which was the apparent cause of death. Farhad Ghatan says probably the whale was napping when a tanker hit him and pinned him to the bow until it slowed near Bellingham and he slipped off.

Heather Spaulding adds:

What's going to happen to it now that the necropsy has been done? Well, there is a group researching the effects of large dead marine mammals on the rest of the marine ecosystem - and the "corpse" has been donated to them. What they are going to do, is attach a video camera to it, sink it, and all their scientists (and anyone else interested) are going to watch the worms crawl in... the worms crawl out.... Pretty interesting stuff if you have the stomach for it!

The San Juan Islander covered the story well - check it out. The Museum has some info, too.

Back: Heather adds:

The tides have brought more than a dead whale this week. Many old islanders seem to be moving back. Jim Garret's daughter Angela has come back to us, bringing with her a husband and new gorgeous twin babies Lilly and Eden. I was also excited to find out to learn Ingrid Fabiason is back. She's a strong community activist - so welcome back!! All of you!

Speaking of community activists - don't forget to hold onto your King's receipts for non-profits... if you're looking for one to donate 'em to, consider the Home Trust....

Ian, do you remember the car accident last week - Erin O'Connell, where her car caught on fire? Well, she's in desperate need of transportation, being a single mom who lives out at Snug... anyway we can put the word out for a cheap car for her???

Passing: Just heard Jim Sackett died this past weekend in a car wreck down on Bainbridge Island. Jim was one of the folks who started the Sustainable Technology Building and his business, Seventh Generations Strategies, for helping businesses plan to incorporate sustainable solutions into their growth plans. He's survived by his wife Julianna and kids - she was active in school & kid things up here before they moved.

Soccer ends: Both the boys and girls soccer squads ended their seasons in the playoffs on Friday afternoon.

The boys lost down at Issaquah, while the girls ran into perennial powerhouse Overlake and lost, 4-1. The girls thus ended their most successful season ever with an 11-5 record - a season that will be hard to surpass any time soon. Congrats to both teams for great seasons & for entertaining the local soccer nuts (like me) for two months.

Wait'll next year!

Island Rec goes birding: Sally Kerr sent me this notice for you to put on your calendar:

Join local Naturalist Barb Jensen and Island Rec on Friday December 6 for a four-hour birding experience on San Juan Island. Cost is $16 which includes your transportation and guided tour led by Barb Jensen, President of the local Audubon Society. Deadline to register is November 27th. Call 378-4953 for further information.

Winter is the time for swans, ducks and eagles. All the birds from chickadees to falcons will be decked out in bright new feathers. Take cheer in the sight of small birds traveling together in search of food and safety. We will visit a variety of habitats to learn about wintering birds, their habitats, calls behavior and especially their beauty. All levels of birding skills welcome.

November 6, 2002

Election: The results are in, with the old way holding sway: Si Stephens held on to the auditor's office, beating challenger Sandy Baxter, while Rhea Miller will remain county commissioner, winning over Dave Anderson.

Frank LaSalata's bid to unseat Judge Stewart Andrew fell short as well... check the final numbers at the County website.

Quote: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all - Helen Keller

Should be a fun play: Communicating Doors opens this weekend at the Theatre. Here's the blurb from them:
Communicating Doors plays Nov. 8-16. An Opening Night ticket ($25) entitles audience members to a post-performance reception with the cast, hosted by CATS. Bargain hunters should line up for Thursday, Nov. 14, when all seats are $8. All other evenings are $14/$7. The Nov. 10, 2:00 pm, matinee is $11/$6. For tickets, call 378.3210, or visit

November 4, 2002

Vote: Tomorrow. Get it on the calendar.

Cold & clear: That was frost everywhere this morning, not snow...just looked that way. This was the best of both worlds this weekend - really cold at night, but sunny and warm by mid-day all weekend. And nice again today...

Crowds: The 8am ferry may have looked kinda crowded, because it was.

It was carrying the U-14 boys soccer team, the U-13 boys, the FHHS football & boys soccer teams, the 7th & 8th grade girls basketball teams....AND their parents, friends, cheerleaders, and other people who weren't going to sports things.

Wait a minute - does competitive shopping count? Those guys were on the boat, too.

As you can see in the photo below, we had pretty nice sunset on the way home.

So how'd they do?

Boys soccer played a seeding game that set up their playing tomorrow for their first playoff game, right here on the island at FHHS. (The girls, by the way, begin their playoff run at home this Friday afternoon. They went to see the USA Women's Team play Panama Saturday night, on a later ferry.)

The football boys played well, but lost. Everyone on the ferry on the way home said they were proud of the guys.

The U-14 boys lost their first game, then snagged the second to win third place in their league tournament.

The San Juan Island U-13 Boys soccer team (the Sea Stars) had the toughest road to the league championship last week, and nearly overcame it. The Sea Stars played Mt. Vernon's unbeaten regular season champs in the first playoff game, and held the high-powered team to a 0-0 tie until only three minutes remained. Mt. Vernon went on to win the game 1-0 and the league championship tournament.

The Stars played Anacortes in the third place game, notching goals by Justin James and Kevin O'Connor to keep it close in a 3-2 loss. That's Blaine Connelly in blue on the right mixing it up with two Mt. Vernon defenders, nearly scoring.

The boys played 11 games in eight weekends, and nine of those games were one-goal games. They kept games close, and when you do that, anything can happen.

The Sea Stars got an added surprise Saturday, as they were named the Sportsmanship Champions of this year's League play, an honor bestowed by the league's coaches and referees.

New: Pam Fitch has sold Girl Friday to newcomer Tanya...I'll get more info about all this, but I found this out from Tanya's daughter Jolene on the ferry with her six-week-old girl Austin. Meanwhile, Pam's always-friendly voice will be missed....

More new: Letty Hopper, Friends of the San Juans Forage Fish researcher, and her partner Zack had their baby - it was a healthy pregnancy down to the end, with Letty walking miles daily and taking yoga classes.Congrats!

Down: The Whale Museum had to close down for most of last week due to the fumes of the Uncol clean up. People in the building became dizzy. The project apparently was bigger than the crew originally thought, so staff went home - and worked, I'm sure.... The good news: they are nearing completion

November 2, 2002

Chill out: It got down around 20 degrees last night - you could tell, with the frost on the ground this morning & the chill in the air.

Did you get a chance to see the stars? All of 'em, on a clear night that opens the heart and makes a walk in the evening worth it.

Tops: You know Tim Gambrell (right) was named Realtor of the Year, don't you? The San Juan Island Association of Realtors says he's the top one for 2002.

No more war: Peggy Sue McRae headed out on a road trip to Washington, DC, a week ago Wednesday, to protest the war on Iraq. Those that don't know Peggy Sue, this is the same woman that got arrested and charged with stealing a road during a logging protest a few months back. Can you picture a woman running off with a road??!! Think about it.

Bare: Tourists at Lime Kiln Park got to see a lot more than whale watching when a couple of men jumped off their boat naked a few of days ago. They were hoping to swim with whales. Imagine what the whales thought of that.... crazy people... at least they didn't get hypothermia. The people, I mean.

And, yes, it is in violation of the Marine Mammals Protection laws to get that close to the whales...and a violation of good sense.

Crowds, and more crowds: Heather Spaulding reports this last week that the Friends of the San Juans recently presented the outcome of their Cost of Community Services Study.

She says with the increase in population here in the San Juans, we can look forward to higher fees in all our community services. There will be a need to hire more police and teachers, expand and upkeep roads, and... the controversy over the town's sewage and water is just the tip of the iceberg. Ferries will take longer to load, chances of getting bumped off will be higher... and tickets will be more to make up for extra runs, and repairs... ! You get the idea. Stay tuned for more.

And let's do something about it.

News, real news: Tom & Diana Pieples welcomed Jackson's brother Satchel last week. I just saw mom at a potluck, and she and the 9+ pound kid are looking great. They got the glow.

Brain food: If you eat at one of the restaurants below, on November 7th, they'll donate 50% of their proceeds to Dollars for Scholars. Make it so, Captain - get out & eat.

Participating restaurants are:
Bella Luna, China Pearl, Downriggers,Friday Harbor House, Garden Path,
Haley's, Hungry Clam, Lime Kiln Cafe, Mi Casita, San Juan Brewing Co., The
Place, Shogun, Thai Kitchen, Tommy's, Vic's, Vinny's.

October 31, 2002

Where was your Elementary School child at 1:15 PM?: Probably parading around town with the rest of the little devils. and angels. and ghouls and goblins. Dressed up as literary characters, and carrying the books with the characters they chose, they did their annual Halloween Parade down Spring Street. Pictured at right are best buddies Cody and Quinn. We shot 52 more photos of the parade. Click here and see if you can find your child.

Shake your windows & rattle your walls: Yep, that was an earthquake - 2.4 according to the University of Washington - last night at 2:50am. There were some smaller ones earlier in the evening, as well.

Animals!: Consuelo Larrabee tells us that the Animal Shelter is extremely crowded with dogs & cats, and that their resources are already spread pretty thin for looking after so many...

Do you have room in your place & heart for a new friend? Call 378-2158- and drop by and visit 'em.

October 28, 2002

Things change, and sometimes just change hands.

Here are some deals in the works:

The Inns at Friday Harbor are in the process of being sold. The transfer should be complete around the first of the year. According to assistant manager Mikki Ellis, the sale is presently in escrow and appears to be going smoothly. Details about the prospective buyers and terms of the deal have not been released yet.

Meanwhile, across the street, Post San Juan has been sold - here's the note from Liz, with details about the new owners:

Ok, you can release the story. The store is in escrow and is due to close November 12th. We're standing by as long as they need us. Here's some info on 'em:

Jeff and Julie Prater first discovered the San Juan Islands when they visited Orcas Island in 2001 to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Jeff enjoys cycling, basketball and any other activities that he can share with friends. After 10 years of retail grocery and 5 years in information technology, Jeff is ready for the "island lifestyle."

Julie enjoys working outside in the yard, volunteering her time to help animals and assist senior citizens, photography of wildlife, cycling and playing in the ocean. After working 7 years in banking and hotels while completing her undergraduate degree, working for 2 years as a Homeowner Claims Adjuster, then 5 years in information technology, Julie, too is ready for the "island lifestyle".

Jeff and Julie are absolutely elated with their purchase of Post San Juan and are eager to see and get to know everyone!

Meanwhile, it looks like the County is proceeding with their part of buying the gravel pit to make into a park. This note is from Sally at Island Rec:

Good News! The BOCC has instructed the Prosecuting Attorney to write up a Purchase and Sale agreement with Lafarge for the Gravel Pit site. I have no other details at this time.

The next steering committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday November 6th at 4:30pm.

Thanks, Sally

Finally, one way to keep up with real estate transactions around here - the big picture - is to read Merri Anne's online newsletter. She just posted her new one for this season, and includes details about interest rates making this a good time to re-finance one's home.

October 27, 2002

Clocking: I know a lot have of people have their favorite holidays & events on the calendar. Some think Christmas is the best, or the Fourth of July, or Buddha's birthday. One of my favorites - near the top - is the Saturday night that daylight savings time quits.

THAT is the best - you get to wake up the next day, and if you remembered to set your clock back, you get to sleep in an extra hour. If you didn't remember, at some time during the day on Sunday someone tells you or you remember, and, BOOM! You suddenly have another hour in the day to do stuff with.

It's great.

Quote: If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault is in yourself. -- Tecumseh (1768-1813), Shawnee leader

Notes: It was neat to see Coral Galligan on the ferry with her twins, born back in April. They look healthy & happy.

Have you seen what Farhad's been up to at the Friday Harbor Cottages, the affordable housing deal he's involved with? Take a peek at this gallery of photos. (These are a couple of weeks old, by the way.)

Football: The FHHS boys ran into a brick wall with the LaConnor Braves Friday, dropping a 26-0 decision before tons of folks in attendance for Homecoming. It was a pleasant night - a little nippy after all that fog we had in the latter part of the week - but great to see people who came together both to cheer our guys on & to visit because it was homecoming.

And you know, it's so cool to have those lights, so we can have a Friday night game, like the rest of the people in America. This is our fourth season with them (got 'em in late '99).

Soccer: Looks like the FHHS boys and girls are both playoff-bound. The boys won Thursday, and the girls took Seattle Lutheran on Saturday 3-1 as they got back on the winning track after a three-game slump.

Both the U-14 & U-13 boys soccer teams played the best teams in their respective leagues this weekend and lost for their last regular season games, but both are fired up to see what happens in the playoffs.

Nobel Prize in econ: Hey, I know YOU knew this, but I just read up on it. One of the two guys who won this year's Nobel Prize for Economics is a fellow named Daniel Kahneman. He's one of the few folks to ever win the thing who is not an economist - he's a behavioral psychologist. I think this is good for figuring out whether increasing ferry rates will decrease biz around here.

His studies track the way people think & react to price changes, and as they move toward what he calls equilibrium (which I believe means the point at which people will pay the price asked; i.e., buyer & seller agree), what impels them to seal the deal.

Interestingly - and haven't you wondered about stuff like this? - he discovered people will drive miles to save a nickel for a gallon of gas, but not blink an eye at spending an extra $100 on a suit if they perceive it's of greater quality.

How does this connect to the perception that less folks are coming here to the island because of ferry costs going up?

I'm not sure. Need to read the rest of the story.

Lures & jigs: What do you know about fishing?

Bail out: Last week someone called my office and asked for ace assistant Mary Kate said, "He's in class today." The caller said, "Oh, then we should raise bail & get him out." Thought she had said, "custody," instead of "class today."

I appreciate the sentiment. I think.

Good to know y'all are there for me.

News: You don't REALLY rely on this for real news, do you?

History is doomed to repeat itself:

Review the Update from August 13, 2002 - October 26, 2002

Review the Update from May 9 (the fire) - August 12, 2002

Review the Update from April 1, 2002 - May 8, 2002

Review the Update from December 15, 2001 - April 1, 2002

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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