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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.

April 18, 2003

Happy Easter to you: You know you can take the kids to Jackson's Beach or to Roche Harbor for the annual egg hunts there, or to church for the holiday, or for a walk to remind 'em you love 'em. Have a great Sunday...

Moon: Did you see the full moon last night?

It was big & huge & wonderful. Check it city lights in the way. It rose over Griffin Bay in the early evening & hung out over Lopez for a while. Bright enough to read by.

From the mailbag: I kinda wonder if this note to me & the Update is a trend. We certainly heard a lot about the ferry rate increases from visitors last summer, as folks were surprised at how much a car with a couple of kids and spousal unit can add up.

This summer'll tell...sure hope you come anyway, or walk on, or rent a a car from Wendy (360-378-AUTO) at M&W Car Rentals, or ride San Juan Transit's bus, or heck, just walk. It's nicer to be on foot anyway.

My partner and I have so loved coming to Friday Harbor for weekend get aways....but no more. Sadly due to the increases in Ferry fees we will be limited to places we can more simply drive to.
I know this is not something within the control of the leadership of Friday Harbor, but I thought someone should know.

Respectfully, M. J. Mead

Singing: If you're down by Tacoma tomorrow (Saturday), I'm singing at SBB Deli on Pacific Avenue. It would be cool to see you. Drop by. Been missin' you.

Quotes: "We have too many men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount . . . . The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living."
General Omar N. Bradley, Chief of Staff, United States Army
Boston, November 10th, 1948

"Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms. For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world. We scientists recognise our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of atomic energy and its implication for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope - we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death."
Albert Einstein , January 22, 1947

"The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking that we have done so far, has created problems we cannot solve at the level of thinking at which we created them."
Albert Einstein

Herb's back in action: It was fun to see that Herb's was packed last night for karaoke night - it's all cleaned up & has that fresh new feeling newly polished places have...drop in & check it out. The tavern is off to a good start under its new owners...

Sunset: That's a sunset photo by Michael Bertrand at the top of this entry - more of his pictures are for sale on the Island Studios site.

Notes: Steve, the Inns' general manager, is back from a golf tour in Alabama, where he went for vacation. He said it was sure warm there. You know, it will be here, July.

Getting outa town & off the rock: Beth Hudson mentioned last night that her senior daughter Bridget's down at the Grand Canyon for spring break. I believe that's where Alan Marriner took his family as well for the break. Meanwhile, Ed & Sonia & Eddie Nash went to Las Vegas for the break.

The San Juan Island Marathon continues to build steam - it's the 8th of June, but you can sign up now at their website. It's gonna be great, whether you run the full thing, the half marathon, or cheer for the dedicated folks who do.

Carolyn Adler tells me Sharon's set to graduate from Cornish in Seattle next month - wahoo! Way to go, Sharon!

Plan for the summer: One of the things your kids (or YOU kids) will love is Club Mud.
Taught by art educators Leisha Holmes, Barb Bevens and local potter, Diane Hall, it's your chance to make cool stuff with clay. Check their webpage for signup info & get ready for summer.

Moving: I hear Ravenhill's going to move in the spot where the Thrift Store has been, and so they'll move to the other end of the block, to where San Juan Office Supply was. Jeff, of course, moved the office supply to the appliance place across from the baseball field on Spring Street.

If you can't find any of these places, just look around.

Earth Day: Make your plans. A bunch of folks are planning to have a car-less day next Tuesday, the 22nd, as part of recognizing the effect all those spent hydrocarbons are having on the atmosphere. Think about walking - especially if you're one of those folks who goes from store to store downtown in our tiny town. You'll like it.

Another way to get involved & celebrate Earth Day, in this note from Stephanie over at the Friends of the San Juans:

Friends of the San Juans Earthday Beach Clean Up: Join schools, civic groups and individuals in the Earthday Beach Cleanup to remove harmful debris, collect valuable information and celebrate Earthday!

The next spring beach cleanup and survey is scheduled for EARTHDAY, Tuesday April 22, at sites throughout San Juan County.

Over 100 individuals representing community, school groups, and residents are currently participating in the Marine Refuse Project through Community Beach Cleanups: San Juan Island Lion's Club, Shaw Island 4-H, Waldron School, Lopez Island Home School Group, Friday Harbor Home School Group, Deer Harbor Community, Soroptimists, Tom Schultz and family, Jean Shreve, Marc Grotle and crew and Ana Justin.

The Friends of the San Juans Marine Refuse Project, was developed and implemented by the Capt. Nick Nash, a 5th generation, local commercial fisherman with over 37 years of on-water experience. Nicks extensive knowledge of the marine environment and strong community ties has created a project with substantial environmental and economic benefits for San Juan County.

The FSJ Marine Refuse Project would like to thank all those who support this project: David and Katherine Skinner, Jim and Stephanie Cradduck of Cradduck and Associates, Inc., Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Charles and Betty Nash who donated their fishing vessel "Betcha" for project operations, the Port of Friday Harbor; San Juan County Marine Resource Committee; San Juan County Public Works Department; Key Bank and Acordia Northwest, Inc. (largest marine insurance broker in the Pacific Northwest); and all the local residents who help out.

For details on participating in this project call FRIENDS OF THE SAN JUANS: 378-2319 or

More from the mailbag: John Davis just moved here with his partner Melissa (she's cooking at Friday Harbor House), and he reports:

Hey Ian:

If you're interested, I just got a letter published in the Sporting News' "Voice of the Fan" section (the link is below). I'm a lifelong KU fan, so my opinion is pretty much KU-focused. But I'm still looking forward to the football Huskies and M's to have banner seasons!

Love your web site. Thank you for all of your information.


April 15, 2003

Taxing day: Today's the day you gotta get your tax return in...Carmen at the Post Office says the P.O. closes as usual at 4:30pm, but that anything dropped into the blue boxes out front or the drop-off boxes inside will be postmarked with today's date when those boxes are emptied at midnight tonight.

Inside skinny on realestate: What's the state of real estate? Check out Merri Ann Simonson's quarterly newsletter about real estate sales & buying here on the island.

Kayak joke: Clark from Outdoor Odysseys told me: Two eskimos sitting in a kayak were getting cold so they decided to light a fire in their boat.

It promptly sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

News around town: Teresa Smith tells me she and the girls are moving to Boulder, Colorado at the end of the school year...

Lynn Danaher says she just bought Starr Storage. The ex-San Juan Excursions diva tells me she's a storage diva now, and has a few small units left. In answer to a question at last night's Chamber of Commerce meeting, she also says she has no intention of renting them out as guesthouses this summer.

You read about it on the San Juan Islander and Roche Harbor Marketing maven Chris Watling tells me it's pretty neat: A guy's going to re-create the time 150 years ago when the founder of Fairhaven rowed from Victoria to near Bellingham. Chris says the trip includes a stop at Roche on the 23rd from 5-6, and wants to invite folks to come out and welcome him.

Dan from San Juan Transit says he's getting a new vehicle next week that will be wheelchair accessible for island visitors who use his service. Another good reason to leave the car on the other side...

Paul Hopkins says it's one company with three names: San Juan Airlines new marketing director says their West Isle Air part runs around the islands and connects to Bellingham and Anacortes; Northwest Seaplanes runs to Vancouver and Victoria; while San Juan Airlines brings Orcas, Lopez, and Friday Harbor together with Seattle (Boeing Field, with a shuttle to SeaTac.) Check them out and see what they'll love the first time you fly from here to Seattle in 27 minutes. It's like magic.

They carry from 5-9 people on each plane, and Paul says both a window seat and an aisle seat are guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Kenmore Air's Internet specials ( are updated twice a week...if you need to get around the area fast, check them out before you go.

April 11, 2003

Indoor soccer: As you can see, indoor soccer's been scheduled for the Fairgrounds on Thursday nights...sponsored by Island Rec, it'll go another couple of weeks, and then head outside where it belongs, especially with the weather so nice. Come play.

Cats & cooks: Check it out yourself - there's a cookbook for sale on the Catspaw Foundation website. Catspaw prez & founder Kathy Farron tells me the purpose of the cookbook's sales is to raise money for the organization, which focuses on helping find homes and habitat for the homeless or feral cat population of the San Juan Islands.

Wind, wind, wind: When the wind blows like it has the last week or so, it lends an atmosphere of season change to the month - it's hard to tell if it's cold enough to be a late winter or warm enough to be an early summer. Either way, it sure is windy. Monday's warm wind in the high 50s made the promise of summer seem nearer; today's blue skies held even more promise.

Quote: If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. - Steven Wright.

Babies & passings: Saw Renee from King's with her new baby yesterday - she says she's feeling good and baby Avery's doing well, too.

And - they have new uniform shirts at King's, too, along with a new hot case in the deli section.

Cathy Degnan from the college and Carol Ford from the middle school - their dad passed away last week, so they've spent this week in California. By all accounts he was a funny, gentle, bright former teacher who was well-loved. Regards to the family....

Ace second grade teacher Bruce Robinson got that knee operated on today - it's the one he injured in pickup soccer a couple of weeks ago. He's back home this afternoon. One of those outpatient things.

Have you been by Island Studios lately? Pat's got the place looking great - drop by!

It's nearly spring break, which begins after this Friday's classes end. You can feel it in the air - people making plans for trips, no baseball practices, kids forgetting their homework, kids remembering their homework sometime after nine o'clock last night, and the reminder that comes because everyone else who's on break is visiting.

Music in the air: Island Rec's Sally Kerr is putting together an impressive array of music for next summer's Music on the Lawn series, the outdoor concert set up that's gone so well the last two years. This year's line up includes local favs Kate Schuman and Uncle Otto, as well as Campbell Road (an Irish group), Looking for Sailors (acoustic & vocals), and bluegrass with the Fossils. Looks good, sounds good.

Meanwhile, Steve at the the Place Next to the Ferry restaurant is reviving the old New Works Circuit idea, asking singers to come sing for a half-hour at a time. The first show is Thursday the 24th from 8-10pm, with Kate Schuman, Dan Paulson, me, and someone else playing. See you there.

Quote: FDR is quoted regarding WWII, “Let there be no millionaire made from this war”.

Dance: Yep, that's Spiderman. What are YOU doing tonight?

April 8, 2003

Building up the Port & the waterfront: They're building a new fish cleaning station this spring down at the Port... It's off the main dock somewhere - ask in a couple of months & they'll point it out to you.

That's easier than me trying to describe it to you, where it is.

Meanwhile, that's Jerry (red shirt, right, in a photo shot from the stairs back of the Doctor's Office by ace photog Shay Byington yesterday afternoon) down at that place between the Front Street Cafe/Tommy's and the Doctor's Office, across from the ferry. He tells me they started yesterday on a project that will result in a new deck above where the t-shirt folks usually sell shirts each summer, where they're standing in the picture.

They've applied for a liquor license - it'll be a place folks can sit & look over the water. He hopes to have it done by Memorial Day.

Baseball & softball hit a wall: We knew that Archbishop Thomas Murphy High (we call 'em ATM) was tough - in softball, last year, they made the Final Four at State.

Friday our previously unbeaten softball girls lost by a mere 4-2 count, which included a run scored by them on an "illegal pitch" call, in which our pitcher brushed her hair back & was called for it. It's the little things... but more importantly, we showed we can play with one of the state's best teams.

And we need headbands for our hair.

Meanwhile the also previously unbeaten boys lost to the ATM guys, as well. Overall, this all bodes well for both teams this young season. Way to go, Wolverines!

Umps: Maude at the high school says there's a training coming up the first week of May for folks who want to umpire baseball & softball. Contact her for more info at 5215, or check in with John Linde...we need some new people to wear the blue. It was neat, by the way, to see new ump Jack McKenna calling last night's game along with Lyle Tarte.

Travel, or not: Stories are already starting to pop up in the media (here's one from Rueters) that people intend to stay closer to home this summer in their travels, if they travel at all. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on our tourist economy here...

New whale baby: Jean from Western Prince told me last week a new calf had been born to J-pod, first reported by Tom McMillan from Salish Seas Charters. Since then Susan and Howie from the Center for Whale Research outfit have identified the mom as J11. It appears the baby is doing well.

And Jean says J11 is the whale on the Western Prince rack card...we have to get Mom to pose for a new family picture, now.

She also reported about a week or two ago that a transient orca (that means not one from J, K, or L pods - they live around here) was in the harbor chasing & munching on a harbor seal. This is pretty unusual to have cetacean visitors in the harbor, and there was some concern the seal might have been marina favorite Popeye. But Popeye has since been seen, so she's OK...and, by the way, pregnant.

In the street: Steve from San Juan Inn came by last week & we thought it would be fun to shoot pictures of the inn, since it was such a sunny day.

The photo to the right was shot from Tim Gambrell's office at Coldwell Banker on the second floor, lining up the harbor, the inn (red roof), and Spring Street on a gotta-get-outside kind of day.

Show's the thing: "Agnes of God" by the new Witsend theater company continues its run at the Grange this Wednesday, Thursday, and's gotten good reviews from folks, including Julie Greene's preformance as the troubled Agnes. Don't miss it! the Community Theater Frida y & Saturday at 8:00 pm: Scottish music sensation Battlefield Band, with a few tix left. Get yours now.

Finally, I hope you saw "James and the Giant Peach" last week. It was awesome, AND sold out in our big ol' theater for three shows. Those of you who saw Blake Guard singing as the caterpillar will one day be able to say, "I knew him when..."

And I'll say it again: director Fred Yockers is an island treasure. The kids, and the community, are very, very, very, very lucky to have him do what he does. Thanks, Fred.

Troops: If you're wondering who from around here is in the armed forces in the present conflict, there's a collage with pictures & names of service women & service men in King's grocery, right across from the coffee.

Quote: "O healing river, send down your waters and wash the blood from off the sand." - From the Mennonite hymnal

March 31, 2003

Weather, or not: The picture to the right was taken this morning around 8am - since then we've had blue skies, a little rain, wind stirring up, and pleasant breezes. That's all by 11am this morning. Ahhhhhh....

Ferry delay, yowch: There was a good side to the ferry breaking on Saturday morning: The businesses in town who faithfully open their shops every week no matter what the weather, no matter what the season, had a bunch of stuck-in-town ferry riders out buying scones and drinking coffee and visiting shops. The Animal Shelter garage sale at the Mullis Center was packed when the doors opened at 9am. That sort of thing.

It did throw off a bunch of folks' plans, of course. As you know by now, the 6am sailing of the Elwha didn't go, because they blew a pipe of something, so the schedule got backed up from there.

They had to empty the ferry & take it to Anacortes to get it fixed...I understand it had some problems this morning, too.

This matters: Listen, this is what really matters. We have a problem here on the island with kids drinking. A San Juan Islander report, states, "It's a fact - 24% of 10th and 12th grade students report consuming 5 or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks. Further, these students report easy access to marijuana and alcohol in our community." That's from an October 2002 survey done with our kids.

The San Juan Islander report mentions there's going to be a community meeting about all this on April 9 from 7-9 that night. Good start.

But the key is - do we know where our kids are? Last year's survey (also on the page mentioned above) showed 73% of the kids had a drink within 30 days of the survey - well over the national average of 51%.

Look, we're all working hard to make it here, and to get by, but it's this simple: We're not working hard enough on our kids. Find out where they are, what they're spending their money on, who they're hanging around. Get involved.

Coming to the Theater: "James and the Giant Peach" by FH Middle School Players. Don't miss it - it's middle school drama at its best. See you there! (I'm going to the Sunday matinee.)

Talent show: The elementary school talent show was great, by all reports.

A wide variey of talent was on display, including a tae kwon do exhibition by Shawn Cutting, Gavin Guard, Connar Smith, and Austin Tompkins (right), Chelan Taylor singing "God Bless America," (below, right) and Emily Schultz singing "One Tin Soldier," with mom Dr. Marcia playing backup.

Other highlights included Miles Cobos & Clayton Banry's "Thriller" (Michael, move over), Father & son Michael and Alan Barsamian doing a duet with "The Silver Skates," and Laura Kriete-Bain's duet with ace piano teacher Jan Riley for Pachabel's Canon.

Way to go!

Irish music rocks: I heard nothing but good things about the Irish Music Camp that ended this weekend...good music & good times had by all. Let's do it again.

A positive choice: Bob Weimer dropped by the other day to say his partner Morningstar and some other friends and he were taking donations on behalf of the Heifer Project as a way to make a staement about the president's war. He gave me a written statement that says, " We may not be able to stop the winds of war, but we can make a rainbow...we can continue to work for peace by doing something positive to help make this a better world.. We can raise finds for a Peace Ark that will help as many as 30 families feed themselves and care for the Earth."

Call Bob at 370-5456 or write him to find out more.

March 25, 2003

People on the ferry: It was good to see so many people on the ferry this week, during our "off" season...on Monday, there were a couple zillion Japanese high schoolers who were going back to Seattle on the boat after visiting the island. Last night the high school band was returning from a competition in Ferndale.

Band mom Robin Jacobson said one of the judges commented that our band sounded, at times, like a college band. Does band director Janet Olson do it all, or what? She took the middle school band off-island last week, after giving island concerts at the theater on Tuesday & Wednesday evenings.

Cams at the Port: Harbormaster Ed Barrett tells me there's a new web camera at the airport, which is refreshed reularly so you can see what's going on at the runway. This new one by Larry Wight goes along with their camera pointing at the marina (put up by By Design last summer), which shows how pretty it is living here.

In other conversation, Ed mentioned that the feds see the island as a pretty porous place, so we can look forward to heightened security this summer for people passing through the Port. Threat assessment for all this continues. Ed says he still believes this is still a safe part of the world.

The invasion: After the invasion of Iraq began last week, there's been a feeling among some islanders that forces have been unleashed that will take years to understand. The feeling of helplessness is palpable, with normally cheerful folks having an obvious cloud over them.

Other folks, who think the invasion is a good idea, are optimistic it will bring positive changes to the region. Overall, it seems like there's a period of waiting & watching ahead, to see what happens when the other shoe drops.

Kindergarten signup: Marty from the elementary school tells me kindergarten registration will be held April 8 & 9 for new kids - call the school at 5409 to make your appointment.

In other breaking FHES news, the Talent Show is Friday! Sharon Hammell tells me the doors open at 6pm so's you can check out the 5th grade bake sale with the show at 6:30pm. Still to be decided: Will there be an intermission? Stay tuned.

Or better yet, just go.

Theater around here continues to spread: You know, in New York, shows that are produced just away from Broadway are called off-Broadway. Does this mean if a show is put on that's not on Guard Street here would be off-Guard?

Anyway, Keith Busha & Susan Williams have started a production company called Witsend that has a show opening next week - put it on your calendar! Their note to me has two parts:

Part One:
Witsend Presents: Agnes of God, by John Pielmier at the Friday Harbor Grange, beginning April 3, 2003. A fast paced play of faith, murder and miracles, the New York Times describes the play as “unquestionably, blindingly theatrical, riveting, blood and guts evening in the theater.” The play will be directed by John E. Davis with Julie Greene as Sister Agnes, Pat Rishel as Mother Superior, Miriam Ruth, and Susan Williams as Dr. Martha Livingstone. Call for details: 360 378 4454

Part Two:
The “Martha Gubelman Scholorship Fund,” to benefit college level performing arts students, will be kicked off by Witsend Presents in their first production, “AGNES OF GOD.” Martha Gubelman, Grand Dame of the “The Straights of Juan de Fuca,” directed musicals and graced our stages for over 20 years and in the process changed the cultural heritage of our community. She influenced many local creative talents, including: Pat Rishel, Sandy Woodruff, Dan and Therese Finn, Dan Paulson, Robin McKillop, Anita and Brad Welch, Bert and Marilyn Dayton, Susan Williams and countless others. “Witsend” is proud to extend Martha’s legacy by donating all profits from “Agnes of God” to the fund. The play is directed by John E. Davis, and features, Pat Rishel, Julie Greene and Susan Williams. It will be performed April, 3,4,5, 9,10,11 at the Friday Harbor Grange, with all performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. Admission by donation.

Tree sitters: You heard Brook Melville and others have gone to California to sit in old growth trees to keep 'em from getting cut down - here's a story that the logging company has begun removal of the sitters so they can cut down the redwoods.

Spreading: I saw two of Tim Dustrude's signs in Bellingham yesterday. Word's getting around that being anti-war is not the same as being anti-troops.

Unintended consequences: As we sort through the notion of trying to make something happen geopolitically, and having some sense that we can predict how it will all turn out, John Mauldin offers these thoughts (the rest are his words):

The context for this week's thoughts was provided to me by Art Cashin, head floor trader at UBS Warburg and also of CNBC fame. He writes a privately circulated and brilliant daily letter which is absolutely one of the most fun and informative tomes I read every day, without fail. His bosses need to allow him to circulate it to a wider audience. He wrote last Monday about unintended consequences, and provided the following story. My reading this week has brought to my attention a wide variety of unintended consequences. But first, Art's story:

"In 1349, in the midst of the infamous Black Plague epidemic, the forces of government, science and academia came together with a plan to save the people. As you recall from earlier episodes, the Black Plague had spread from the eastern Mediterranean throughout most of Europe killing millions over the preceding three years. People searched everywhere for the source of the plague...a heavenly curse; a burden of immigrants; the result of spices in the food. It was tough to figure, however, since whenever they held a conference either the host area caught the plague or the visitors too many conferences.

"Then in the six months preceding this date the death rate leveled off...or seemed to. So in castles and universities and town halls across Europe, great minds pondered the cause of the plague. And they came pretty close. The collective governmental/academic wisdom was that the source of the Black Plague was fleas - (absolutely correct).

"So the word went out from town to town across Europe - to stop the plague - kill the fleas - by killing all the dogs. And immediately the slaughter of all dogs began.

"But like lots of well-intentioned governmental/academic ideas it was somewhat wide of the mark...and had unexpected consequences. The cause was fleas all right, but not dog was rat fleas. And in the 1300's what was the most effective way to hold down the rat population? You guessed it - dogs. So by suggesting that townsfolk kill their dogs, the wise authorities had unwittingly allowed the rat population to flourish and thus a new vicious rash of Black Plague began.

"Before it was over, three years later, nearly 1 out of 3 people in the world had died of the plague.

"(Historic footnote...Published sources say that with so many people dying, millions of estates had to be settled - result...the fallout of the plague was a huge growth in....the number of lawyers.)"

March 17, 2003

Peace vigil: It was the biggest event in town yesterday, and one of the biggest non-Fair, non-graduation crowds in recent memory.

There were estimates that 400-500 folks (hey, there are only 7,000 of us on the island) met for a somber, quiet candlelight vigil at the Courthouse last night to give witness opposing the president's war.

The attendees walked through town and back to the Courthouse - one observer noted that when the front of the group arrived at the lawn, the tail end of the crowd was still in front of King's Variety.

Photos of last night's event, including the one to the right, are posted on Tim Dustrude's Troops-Not-War site.

Meanwhile, as the San Juan Islander reports (with photos), last Tuesday's demonstration urging that there be no attack on Iraq was well-attended (over 60 people, according to folks who went), and uneventful.

It'll be good if it stays that way - which is not to say that the people who believe an attack is a good idea should be silenced. They' re not only entitled to their opinion, but it's necessary for them to say their piece if we're really in a discussion about all this.

One of the things that's bugged me since last month was the notion that opposing killing the people of Iraq is somehow the same as supporting the president of Iraq. Even the president claimed this, commenting on the fact that there were 3 million in the street in Rome and the largest peace demonstration ever in London, by saying that "they don't see Saddam as the threat that I do. They can support him if they choose" Of the hundreds of folks I've talked to who oppose the president's war, not one has said they support the Iraqi president.

It's not about that. It's about the plans to attack and kill tens of thousands of folks who live there. A new local site that's catching on around the US - supporting peaceful solutions AND supporting troops - speaks to this issue: Troops-Not-War.

Gas Prices on the island: As gas prices here, as elsewhere, continue to creep up & up (they were $1.77 on the mainland yesterday, and around $2.20/gallon here), I called Charley Meyer at IPS over on Carter Street to see what he had to say. He told me he had just come from a seminar addressing the ins & outs of petroleum production, and that the agreement seems to be that gas will likely rise to the $3-4/gallon mark relatively soon, war or no war.

He said within the discussion, he got no sense that there was price-gouging going on, just a natural increase due to limited availability and the costs of production.

Where our whales are: According to this report from Jean at Western Prince (via The Center for Whale Research), some of the orcas who hang around here in the summer are presently much farther south than usual:

>March 16
>An astounding report this morning from the Center for Whale Research - for
>the second known time in history, members of L pod have once
>again been recorded in Monterrey Bay, California taking a Spring Break! A
>photo confirms the presence of male L71, with a pod of ~30+ whales.
>On January 29, 2000, 33 members of L pod (including L71) and 12 members of
>K pod were photographed and identified in Monterrey Bay for the first time,
>representing the furthest travel record of Southern Resident Orcas in the
>history of the Center For Whale Research's study.
>It is not known whether this is a typical travel pattern for them, and they
>just had never been seen or photographed in the past; or whether this is a
>new thing for them. The winter travels of the Southern Resident Community
>have remained one of the mysteries of this population, and reports such as
>these provide important information for researchers trying to help this
>orca population.
>We received a report of a pod of orcas, reported as Transients, off Pt.
>Reyes on March 8th - we'll see if we can obtain any additional information
>or photos in case they were actually some of our Southern Residents on
>their way south....stay tuned for more info. on this exciting news!

St. Paddy's Day music note - plan ahead!: The Irish Music Camp is soon!

More music: You can hear samples of local musicians on the web, before you buy their albums!

Check out Kate Schuman at, former Pub waiter & cook and '87 FHHS grad Joe Bongiorno at, and selections from Ahimsa Music (that's my company), as well as a song of mine that's being played on radio stations around the US.

Notes from the streets: What you heard is true - last Saturday (the 8th), Pat Nash caught a nearly 27-pound blackmouth chinook. The next night he and Becki invited the sixth grade basketball team over & all their parents - great way to end the season.

Remember Charlton and Lynn who worked at Outdoor Odysseys kayaking last summer, and will work for Discovery Sea Kayak this summer? They're getting married this Friday in North Carolina...appropriately, the first day of spring, the equinox. Good day to start something good.

Just saw Dez on the ferry...she's got the highest average (I believe) in the bowling league, which is less surprising when you know she got a lot of practice when she was a kid because her parental unit worked at a bowling alley. I asked her what it took to get on the Pro Tour, and she said a 220 average, which is higher than hers. Watch out.

That was Joe Tein practicing a precursor to Tai Chi on the front deck of the 5pm ferry yesterday.

The Thirsty Goose Farm, including their organic produce & lamb, will be featured on a Food Channel TV piece later this month. I'll call Jim Lawrence & find out when, and let those of you with TVs know...

Ran into Winnie Brumsickle, who says she's staying at home with their three kids (ages 7-5-1). She says Steve's hard at work with the new Christian school, called Paieda School, which has 21 kids this year. You'll remember Steve used to teach science at the public school.

Can't believe it - Laura Boulton (she works at Coldwell Banker) and Ian Boulton (he works at the Fitness Club) are leaving the island and their jobs this spring to tour Europe. Laura tells me they've bought their Euro-rail tix and have made a few preliminary plans, but after that, they're wide open to whatever comes their way in their travels. There will be a going away potluck towards the end of the month.

Have you been by Kristine's Sweet Spot across from the ferry lanes lately? Drop by and say hi....

Just heard Deborah Hopkins has been named director of the Business Association's efforts to get more people here this summer. Deborah's served as the Roche Harbor marketing director for three years. It's another change for Roche, as they just replaced wedding/events coordinator Gabe with Jacquie Quigley and Pat Carver.

More & more music: Carol Ford from the Middle School/High School asked me to let you know:

March 18th at 7:00pm in the San Juan Community Theatre, Friday Harbor Middle School is proud to present "Spring is Around the Corner Concert 2003." Musical entertainment provided by the Friday Harbor Middle School Concert Bands.

March 19th at 7:00pm in the San Juan Community Theatre, Friday Harbor High School proudly presents "Almost Spring Concert 2003." An evening of outstanding music provided by the Friday Harbor High School Concert Band and Choir.

*Admission is always free to these wonderful concerts but donations are gladly accepted. All donations directly benefit band students. Don't miss this opportunity to support our community's dedicated young musicians!

March 11, 2003

Together, we can do it: Back in the times of apartheid in South Africa, singer Miriam Makaba sang a song that got thousands on their feet called "Unify Us, Don't Divide Us."

That was runnng through my head last week when I dropped by the vigil down at Memorial Park with my 11-year-old son. Although my intention was just to go by, he and I were surprised to hear loud yelling, which we could hear all the way up at King's. We went down to see a couple of fellows in Legion hats screaming - it really was that loud - at the folks with signs and candles.

I was amazed. This isn't the way we disagree, people. It only divides, and there's enough of that already in the issues about the president's war.

At least two of the vigil-keepers are veterans. And when I see vets yelling at vets, it's that much sadder.

Can we take a deep breath and think about ways to articulate our views to each other, with each other? Ways that will make us want to keep the conversation going when we're done? This isn't on TV - we don't need sound-bite-sized thinking. The issues are too complex to reduce them to a shouting match.

We all live together here on this little rock. It starts here.

Roche on a warm day: The photo to the right is of Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel out at Roche Harbor, taken in the summer by Carole Conran. Carole has contributed some new photos to our postcards page (you can send an online card now - if you want to test it by sending me one at, that's fine - I love to get mail!) Check it out.

What's new on the Directory?: That ol' San Juan Island Web Directory tries pretty hard to be's goal is to list all the websites about folks and businesses on the island. If you haven't seen it since it turned 611,000 hits old, check it out.

Are you on there? Probably...and here's a list of the last ten web pages added to the database.

Hey, Jude: Just heard Judy, the cashier down at King's with the big smile, is going to move next week to Hawaii...good luck, Judy!

Music leads the way: Dan Paulson's Irish Music Camp out at the Labs last year went so well, he's doing it again this year. At the end of the month, several internationally known players, dancers, and musicians are coming to the island to put on what promises to be a memorable event. If you like folk music, this is a pretty good deal...check out the website about it & sign up.

Flowers & survivors: It was cool to discover there's a local way to order flowers online - have you dropped by Julie & Lisa's website for San Juan Florist? Not only are they back in biz after last May's fire wiped 'em out, but they're online taking orders as well. Way to go, you guys.

March 10, 2003

Let it snow, let it snow, let it melt: That was fun almost having winter on Saturday. A little bit of the flurries was left on Saturday night, but 50 degrees on Sunday polished it off. Nice to have a warm day on a weekend, wasn't it? Hope you got outside.

Peace march: Some 100 plus students attended a peace event last Wednesday, leaving school during fifth period to listen to remarks about why invading Iraq would be counter-productive. The rally was covered well by both the Journal's online version and the San Juan Islander that day (click to see their full story & pictures).

Speaking of which - here's a song I sing about wars, especially ones in deserts.

Pelindaba Farms: It's time to plant lavender! Nursery plants will be available for sale this Wednesday, March 12, 2003. Free cultivation workshops will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16 at 11am, 1pm and 3pm at the Farm's Gatehouse Nursery on Wold Road.Susan says there's 10% off Lavender books with a purchase of 5 or more plants!

Quote: The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire. - Tielhard de Chardin

No smoking: I ran into Town Council member Bill LaPorte the other day...he tells me he quit smoking about three months ago and it's going well. He went to Canada for a deal he described as "laser acupuncture" and after the treatment he simply didn't want to smoke anymore. Way to go, Bill!

He also said some 100 or so other islanders have undergone the treatment successfully, including Scott Johannson and Lyn Pearson.

No running: Bill also told me he's choosing not to run for re-election this year for Town Council. That's a pretty big deal, as he's been involved in the Council as either a member or mayor for years. And so, the search for candidates begins....

Quote: If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends? - Steven Wright

Basketball last weekend: The seventh grade Tigers came home with a third place trophy from last weekend's season-ending tournament in Mount Vernon. Their only loss came in the first game, a close one which they played without Dylan Marriner (sprained thumb) and Tyler Dixon (used sparingly, bad ankle).

In the photo, that's guard Tommy Fowler shooting for two with help from Justin Browne (under basket), Matthew Porter, and Shay Byington (47). (Photo by Summer Ausilio.)

Meanwhile, the sixth grade White Tigers played at Sedro Wooley, where they lost only their second game of the season in the championship game of THEIR tournament, so they brought home the second place trophy.

They were surprised to be named the regular season champs at the tournament - they tied with two other teams during the rular season for the top spot. The tie-breaker? Whoever went the farthest in the tourney.

In the photo, the White Tigers show the basketballs given to the season champs and their second place tournament trophy last Saturday. From left: Ryan Aylward, Tyler Miller, Michael Knowles, Eddie Nash (below), Jordan Nash, Coach Ian Byington, and Pablo Lopez. (Photo by Patrick Nash)

Clean cars: Carol Ford from the middle school writes: There's a Car Wash on Saturday, March 15th from 11:00-2:00 at the Convalescent Center Parking Lot.

Friday Harbor Middle School Band students will wash your car to help fund the Spring 2004 band trip to Florida and the Bahamas. Support our talented young musicians and drive away in a sparkling vehicle!

Quote: Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines. - Steven Wright

March 3, 2003

Check the date: You probably already have written a check today and noticed the date is 3/3/03. Cool, huh?

Rainy, yawn: Yesterday's drizzly rain was a perfect curl-up-by-the-fire-on-Sunday deal.

I know some people got their chores done outside, too, because it wasn't all that cold. Nice day - hope you enjoyed it.

Cows, guns, oh my: Remember that song on the radio, Cows With Guns? The guy who sings it was here Saturday to help out at the auction for the Natural Guard. Dana Lyons is an old friend of Ben White's, and he was the featured entertainment for the auction at the Back Door Kitchen, which was raising money to help people oppose illegal and environmentally damaging logging in California. Several islanders including Brooke Melville are heading down there to help with the campaign.

It's good to see people come together for a good cause. Making sure there's a tomorrow counts as a good one, for sure. Way to go.

Basketball: Friday Harbor's eighth grade "A" team captured third in their tournament last weekend, while the eigth grade "B" team won one and lost two to end their season.

Meanwhile, Friday Harbor's sixth grade Black Tigers brought home the first place trophy from their league tournament in Mt. Vernon, winning the championship game 32-23 over the Mt. Vernon Bulldogs.

The Tigers (8-2) were seeded first in the tourney, winning two games in convincing manner to bring home the hardware. (In the photo: (l-r): Coarch Mario Ochoa, Richie Ochoa, Dylan Galligan, Kevin Foussard, Grant Schwinge (with trophy), Zack Hays, Coach Ian Byington, Cameron Byington. (Photo by Shay Byington)

Friday Harbor's other sixth grade squad, the White Tigers (7-1), play this weekend at Sedro Wooley High against a seven-team field for their season-ender.

The seventh grade teams play at Skagit Valley College the same day.

From the mailbag: Brad Clement wrote in:

> I have a question that may seem quite strange: I recently viewed a photo
> gallery of San Juan Island/Friday Harbor. It was a collection of 40+/-
> photos, and I thought it was from your site. However, I can't find it now.
> I am thinking of vacationing on San Juan Island this summer and wanted to
> show the photos to some people who may be joining me. Can I find these
> photos on your site, and if so how?
> Thanks,
> Brad Clement

Hi, Brad -

Check here:
Mark also has a pretty cool book out as well, mentioned on the same page. See what you think.
Thanks for checking in.
Peace, Ian

Island notes: Shasta Bishop's little girl is a bit over a week old, now - she's named Carolyn. Both Mom & kid are doing great. The same goes for WaWan and Betsy Lee - I got to see little Emilia on the ferry this weekend. She's three months old and starting to sleep through most of the night.

Sissy Carlton turned 18 this weekend - the family took her out to dinner Friday night....her dad Kevin's coaching the softball Wolverines, and he says he's expecting some 36 girls to come to tryout this week for the team.

At the middle school, science & math teacher Mary Ann Church is pulling together kids for the Math Olympics in Bellingham in early May. Over 20 kids have been meeting twice a week already for a month...the sharpest of the sharp.

Peace vigil: Several folks with candles meet at Memorial Park each Tuesday from 5-7pm to give witness to the idea of peace for settling the Middle East crisis. Bring yours and drop by.

February 28, 2003

Evans in hospital: I checked in with Lill down at the Commissioners' office this morning...Orcas County Commissioner John Evans was flown off island Wednesday, and is resting at St. Joseph's. She says Wanda told her it was not a heart attack, and since I just called to see how he was doing, I didn't ask much more...seems to me that's his business. But she says he's doing better and says he wants to come home.

Get well, commish.

The play's the thing: My friend Mary Kate was invited to the dress rehearsal of "To Kill A Mockingbird" last night, and she said it's a good, solid play with the actors doing a good job. You'll want to get your tickets early, because this is gonna be a popular one. It opens tonight...

I saw Adam Champlin's mom, Bev, last night before the rehearsal. I asked how it's going & whether she was nervous about him with a big role - he plays Jem - and she laughed and said she can't wait till he gets a day job.

Don't miss this one, people.

Personal stuff: Just ran across a site that bils itself as the islands' first personal ads site...check it out at - Jeff Dickson says it's hard enough to meet people on the island if you're single, so here's a site to help.

Dirt: Speaking of new sites, I like Brad Gislason's site that he made for his excavation biz - see it at and see what you think.

Indoor soccer moves: Indoor soccer has been held in the gym at FHHS for years, but in the last month moved over to the Fairgrounds. Here's the report from Sally at Island Rec:

Island Rec announced today that the Indoor Soccer Program has changed location and times. This drop in program will play on Thursday nights, at the fair building from 6:30-8pm. Program is open to high school students and adults. Cost is $2 per person payable at the door. Thanks to volunteer Tina Fisher for making this program happen.
Indoor soccer will run through the end of March. More information is available from Island Rec, at 378-4953 or

History is doomed to repeat itself:

Review the Update from December 19, 2002 - February 28, 2003

Review the Update from October 26, 2002 - December 18, 2002

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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