San Juan Island Update

This page covers the period April 3 - May 25, 1998

May 25, 1998

Ferry, ferry crowded: Couldn't help but notice...the ferry was backed up on Friday, with the Washington State Ferry folks so overloaded they were selling tickets for the 8:25pm sailing that morning. Similarly jammed on we'll see how it looks when everyone tries to go home today.

Grayed-out: Although it was gray most of Saturday (with a little sun) and kinda rainy today - especially Sunday night - it was pleasant out, and definitely a nice break from all that boring sun. The garden's sure glad to see & feel it rain. Although the weather report's calling for rain, there are usually breaks in whatever happens.

Electricity in the air: Our local power company (OPALCO) has become a cooperative, and faces the challenges facing the industry, added to the challenges of lighting up an island - check out their report that addresses these issues.

May 22, 1998

Wildlife abounds: The folks at Deer Harbor Charters have added a weekly newsletter to their website detailing what they see during their wildlife/whale watch cruises. Owner Tom Averna tells me the stellar seals on the north side of the island have been pounding down the dogfish there...the report is usually prepped by his able naturalist Elizabeth.

Construction continues: The Town Council decided last night to continue the construction involved in the drainpipe project till the 28th, with the option to continue till the the 4th of June if necessary, which it looks like it will be. This will allow them to keep drilling/blasting and getting as much done as possible before the summer season kicks in.

The town's contract with the construction folks reloads in September's second week. In reviewing the difficulties most shop owners reported at yesterday's meeting - Friday Harbor Grocery's Ray (above with the red awning) says he's down 40% in sales this last two months - that's hardly good news for folks hoping to salvage something in the so-called "shoulder season" just after the summer tourist rush. That return date is under negotiation between the town administrator (King Fitch), the Council, and the contractor.

I've said it before and I don't mind repeating it...get down there and support your neighbors. Don't avoid the noise & hammering...get in there and buy stuff you need from them. They need you.

Movie redux: Now that Warner Brothers has moved on, County Park has been put back together for us and for our visitors this summer.

Dale Roberson lives next to the park, and reports: "All of County Park is now open to the public. I've been retained by Warner Bros. to keep watering the new grass through the summer. I would appreciate people avoiding or at least treading lightly on the new sod and reseeded areas so that it can get established in time to survive the 'hot-and-dry' of August and September.

"In my humble opinion, Warner Bros. has left the park nicer than they found it. They didn't just return things such as the campsite marker poles, they fixed them up. There are also a bunch of new bar-b-que pits. Even the whales seem to approve -- they've been by several times a day all week, along with scores of whale-watch boats. I also heard lots of nice comments from the crew about how much they enjoyed the park. More than once I saw actresses sitting on blankets enjoying the view between takes instead of hiding out in their trailers."

Thief caught on film: As you can see, the deer have been munching the peas from my garden, and the leaves from our apple tree in our back yard. We have proof as to the culprit (right): a doe, a deer, a female deer, out in the ray, a drop of golden sun (did you see the Sound of Music a couple of weeks ago at the Theatre? It was great!)

Anyway, now we're reviewing our deer-proofing of the garden, and encouraging our neighbor animals to leave some for us.

More music in the air: I hear the orchestra from Auburn Riverside High will be playing at Roche Harbor's garden next's neat when visitors leave something of beauty when they drop in.

posted May 21, 1998

Over the weekend: One of the big events here last weekend was the Baseball Auction & Dance out at Kate Schumann's place...a ton of people attended (several hundred by my estimate) and ponied up something like $25-30,000 in the final action. Pretty good auction, pleasant dance, and a good chance to visit with otherwise-hard-to-catch neighbors, with the proceeds helping us keep kid baseball going here on the island.

One more reason not to use jetskis around here: There's a CNN report out today that details how more than half of the folks who die in boating accidents are using the so-called "personal watercraft." Add that to the odds of running over submerged rocks & surfacing marine mammals around here, as well as being an uninvited nuisance...shoot, keep 'em outa here....

Passing through: Heard a report on the street that a transient pod of killer whales were spotted yesterday near here...see, the whales that hang around here ("here" being from the top of Vancouver Island to the nether parts of Puget Sound) are called resident whales, specifically J-, K-, and L-pods. There are other whales that pass by, some going as far as Alaska and California - these are called transients.

So, I went out this evening (that's Wednesday) and saw some of J-pod hanging out just south of Lime Kiln. They seemed to be mostly trolling around, occasionally surfacing and slapping around a little. Pretty relaxed. Good to see 'em again.

posted: May 18, 1998

And the rains came: Friday morning started with rain, and then some. The water backed up and made a swimming pool in front of The Hungry Clam and The Electric Company, with water up over the sidewalks but fortunately not so high as the shop doors.

Then the day cleared, and the weekend was just fine, if a little gray. Lotta visitors in town, with more expected next holiday weekend. Gotta get that drainpipe deal done!

Mailbag: Dawn from San Juan Boat Tours wonders (addressed to your ever-vigilant webmaster, inviting the By Design staff out on a boat ride):

"...some solar radiation may be a nice switch from the monitor's radiation. I was just thinking....if they have 'sun screen' for sunbathers, would they make 'screen screen' for hackers?!?"

Canterbury Tales revisited: I'm always struck by how waiting in the ferry line is something like the travelers in the Canterbury Tales swapping stories to pass the time. I got my chance last Friday, as I went to the mainland, returned in what I thought was plenty of time at 3pm for the 5 or 5:20 ferry, and got to load at 8:20pm. That's home at 9:50, pilgrim....

Plenty of time to see how things were going with Dan from San Juan Transit, catch the Mariners at Charlie's, just up from the ferry, see how the track team did with Shaina and Lizzy (they did well, thank you), get the Alaska fishing report from Doug Bull, swap computer/printer stories with Chris from Dr. Rogers' office, as well as visiting that morning with architect Dave Waldron on the way to his weekly visit to Seattle, and the Whale Museum's Albert Shepard going off to teach inland kids at Nooksack about marine mammals.

Got a nap in, too.

posted: May 15, 1998

Down on Main Street: Of course, if we had a main street, Spring Street would do, soon as we can use it again. The construction period on the drainpipe laying operation (written up below) has been extended to the 29th, which promises to mess up what's usually a prime sales period over Memorial Day weekend.

This week the folks running the project resorted to blasting (that's why Dorothy at the Mystical Mermaid is plugging her ears at left) on Monday, so they could bust up the rock under the street. Needless to say, this isn't great for business owners down that way, and they say sales are down this spring. This is a great reason to do your holiday season shopping early, and help our neighbors out during this difficult financial time for them. It's tough to run a biz with your parking spots taken out, jackhammers working, and now blasting shaking the windows. Get down there & cheer for 'em.

Ferries & summer plans: The good people at North Beach Computing (that's Rick doing Internet stuff since 1994) have added to their ferry schedule - the first one, by the way, even before the Washington State Ferry had one. Besides the present schedule, they also have the upcoming summer schedule available for a sneak peek, or for planning, whichever you're into.

Softball plays hardball: The Wolverines thumped Concrete Wednesday in a seeding game to take the top seed at tri-districts, a position utility infielder Kim Wargo described as "favorable," as it pairs us with lower-seeded teams. Meanwhile the baseball boys take their 12-4 record into the playoffs expecting great things.

In other sports news: Michelle Mayer tells me she and Phil are expecting their first kid the front part of October. Left in question: who will handle Michelle's volleyball coaching duties in mid-season as the Wolverines plot, plan, and play their way to a return to the state tourney? More babies: Vic and Monique Woodward are also expecting a baby toward the end of the year. Michelle teaches PE at the high school, Vic at the elementary school. Now they have something besides department meetings in common.

Town improvements: A success - and a good one. The town planted a couple more stop signs at the intersection in front of the Theatre (right) and across from the high school to slow down the cars and keep the kids and other pedestrians a little safer. The whole thing was inspired by a kid nearly getting run over, and represents a smooth, proactive move by the Town Councilites to make things a little better and a little safer here.

Music in the air: Can you believe famous fiddler Natalie McMaster will be playing here at the Theatre next Monday? We must be living right...then there's a marimba & drumming deal on Friday night there, as well as (are you ready for this?) me doing an acoustic folk set at Katrina's the same night - starts at eight. It's been a while...looking forward to getting away from the computer for the evening to return to my much deeper coffeehouse roots. Drop by!

Performance blasts from the past: this last week The Sound of Music closed, and what a show it was, with zillions of costumes, a couple dozen scene changes, and a cast of thousands. The music was solid & well performed, the cast looked like it was having fun, and the kids stayed awake - mine were still on the edges of their chairs ten minutes from the end. Good to see good people doing good things.

Then the local Playwrights Alliance held an evening of monologues last Monday. It was great - the range of emotions, insights, and sensibilities touched on in the eleven-piece show was astounding. All locally written & acted - don't miss the next one. Some islands got talent; this one's loaded.

Roll, tide: Can't find your pocket tide guide? Scope out whether the local tide's in or retreating at this webpage, and make your clamming plans accordingly.

posted: May 10, 1998

The unsinkable Evergreen State: My friend Lynne Schrum dropped in this last weekend from the University of Georgia, saying she talked to a nervous kid on the ferry who asked her, "Did you see the Titanic? Is this boat bigger? Are there icebergs?"

Speaking of ferries, the Washington State Ferry folks are adding on some capacity (that means adding bigger boats) in early June, with some overloading expected the rest of this month's weekends - so plan ahead. The schedule is going to be at least slightly altered, so be sure and check it out before you travel.

The IslandCam eye widens its vision: Eric Brandt tells me, "We'll be adding four new cams this month, including the Anacortes FerryCam." Plans include shots of the whales and Lopez as well, added to existing cameras pointed at Roche Harbor and the harbor at Friday Harbor.

Passing: Local realtor and pilot Howard Smith suffered a heart attack in his sleep a week ago. The longtime Friday Harbor Realty agent who was rarely seen without a smile and something to chuckle about will be remembered at an event on Wednesday this week.

A change of art: So what do you do when you come to town? Besides the usual trip to the Whale Museum (that's their new mural - painted on the side of their building this spring - to the right) and shopping and so on, have you been by the galleries lately? There are all kinds of styles of art around here (including sculpture!), again reflecting the incredible outpouring of creativity here. Gotta swing in. Changes all the time.

FHHS hits the postseason: The softball team and baseball team head for tri-districts (which either send ya to state or send you home), with girls tennis attending the tri-district meet next weekend. The track boys and girls are prepping for tri-districts and state qualifying in a couple of weeks as well.

Warner Brothers takes their show on the road: I walked through the fairgrounds Friday morning, where one of the movie techs was packing lights, camera, and action in a truck - he said, "Yep, we're packin' up!" They took over the fairgrounds most of last week - cars, trucks, and equipment everywhere - but they had pretty much cleared out by today - now we can look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors who got parts as extras in the film. Release is presently set for October 1998.

A big book for a small niche=success! Someone once told me people climb mountains "because they're there" while others write books because they're not there (to paraphrase Clive Ponting). That's what Lee Sturdivant has done in her newest book: Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field, and Marketplace. Lee saw a need for a good medicinal herbs book, and she wrote it.

Co-written with leading herb farmer and expert Tim Blakley, Lee says she knows it's a small niche in the big list of gardening books, but one for which there is a great demand. Her guesses about such are always right on: she's already sold 50,000 copies of her other gardening-as-a-business books. Pre-publication orders (with a special discount!) are being taken now.

Baseball goes to the dogs: The island's tee-ball season is in full swing, with our five teams playing every week and having a great time. In the last game, Sherri (who coaches the Mighty Mudsharks) was teeing up a ball for one of her six-year-olds, who asked, "Don't you think there's a lot of cocker spaniels on the island?" She said, "Yeah, there are. Now here's where you hit the ball..." and he said, "Look, there's one over there!" Then he hit a home run, aided by some four to six errors, depending on how you score it. It's fun...the parents are all drinking coffee and cheering for anything that happens.

Fish hit the bottom: Interesting times here, as there's a ban on most salmon fishing for a chunk of the summer (chinook especially), as the fish are endangered. This should allow the fish to recoup their numbers, while presenting a questionable summer for local fisherpeople who depend on the season catch for their livelihood, as well as tourist fishing operations.

The Bottom Fish Recovery folks are continuing with their efforts to save and protect certain bottom fish in the islands - one of the first agencies to do so. Affliliated with the County's Marine Resources Committee, the Bottom Fish Recovery Program has designated eight areas to be be protected in the islands so the critters can recover their numbers.

Meanwhile, our local bald eagles are being removed from the endangered species list, due to their comeback - their numbers have increased from some 417 adult pairs in 1963 to 4,452 in 1994 (numbers courtesy of USA Today, 5/6/98). They still enjoy "protected" status, so this doesn't mean you can go out and start shooting at 'em again.

posted: May 3, 1998

Great weather this weekend: It hit the seventies most every day the last few days, which leads us to wonder - if it's like this in the spring, what can summer hold? But the birds are back, with hummingbirds around and eagles seemingly everywhere....

Where we are & where we are going: When we who live on the island go places, we say we're going "off-island," a designation that means anywhere in the world but here, even if it's another island. Off-island means "I'm not here, don't even try and contact me," for most of us that don't have cell phones. Off-island infers "I'm gone for a long time, like, at least all day," since with the ferry trip & all, even the smallest & shortest trip takes a long & relaxing while.

On-island, of course, means on-island. There are a few of us who refer to going to the mainland as "going to America," which takes into account the differences between us & the rest of the country, mainly the number of fast food outlets (here: 0 - we prefer slow, thoughtful food), number of malls (here: 0 - we got beaches with tons of driftwood instead), and traffic lights (in Friday Harbor: 0). We do have good restaurants & good shops & lots of traffic, especially when our friends the tourists come each year.

Going off-island for us requires an adjustment, which is why it's good the ferry takes a while to get to Anacortes. Driving is a much less laid-back affair, we have to remember to take the keys OUT of the car when we park it, and we simply have to buy gas over's usually about 30-40 cents/gallon more here. The lines in the grocery stores are longer, and the traffic makes you wonder why anyone would live on the mainland.

Community things still happen: As the town and island busy up for the tourist season this summer, we still make time for things that matter. Any given day, there's baseball and softball at the elementary school and over next to the Catholic Church (St. Francis), plays at the Theatre (Sound of Music - one week left!), Saturday's Farmers' Market for great produce from around here & the neighboring islands, garage sales, plenty of gardening starting, and more.

Speaking of baseball, the American Legion Angels (8-9 year-olds) would like to thank the high school for hitting home runs into the community garden just past the fence in right field...the Angels were a little short of balls, and are kinda catching up now. Funny whatcha find in a garden, sometimes...

Have you seen the Whale Museum? It's been changed & rearranged, with new stuff added to the exhibit area and the store (see right). If you've visited before, visit again - it's different now! Way different!

At their open house, someone told me there's newbies in the family: Apparently two new calves in J-Pod, and one in K-Pod. One of the babies was born to most-adopted orca Oreo and has been nicknamed "Double Stuff."

Meanwhile, pro-whalist Kelly Balcomb-Bartok tells me he's been hanging out with the movie folks (see previous reports), and got to spend time with stars Nicole Kidman and Sandy Bullock. The set's coming down out at County Park - Warner Bros. is done using it - and the cleanup begins. They'll be doing some stuff at the Fairgrounds this week...we know because the teeball games got moved....

Islands aren't the only ones getting crowded: Even Time Magazine (April 13, 1998, page 73) says so: "...Finally there is the radical environmentalism of the Green movements, which could start seeming less radical and more urgent if the quest for economic growth that is inherent in capitalism contiues to threaten the health of the planet. To counter this, humans will have to become the first species to learn how to control its own population growth."

posted: April 30, 1998

All kind of activity downtown, tonight, as the Practical Magic (the Warner Broz movie being shot here this month & next) filming continues. According to volunteer deputy (keeping the traffic under control) Phill Jackson, they're shooting inside the San Juan Inn, across from the Friday Harbor Grocery & next door to Friday Harbor Realty. Saw ace drama student Autumn Hinkle in the street - she said she got to be an extra in the shoot: watch for her back with angel wings on!

Phill says they'll be shooting tomorrow as well...needless to say, the drain pipe operation (we're tearing up Spring Street & First Street to lay this huge, 36-inch pipe, in case you wondered what the 15-foot-deep hole was for) has been somewhat delayed.

Laura Boyt lives out next to the County Park, and reports they were shooting late into the night last night....

Tomorrow at 5pm there's an open house at the Whale Museum to show off the redesign: the Museum Store is now downstairs, the exhibit area is bigger, and Whale Song Gallery is now housed there. Associate Director Jon Luke tells me it's great - check it out!

Meanwhile, speaking of whales, Kelly Balcomb-Bartok (of Whale Song fame) tells me that J-pod has been scooting up and down the west side, and beyond. Lynn from San Juan Excursions says she's taking a group out tomorrow & hopes to see them.

Nate and Elise Howard tell me the Butterfly House opens on the 15th next month - have you been by? They have this place where butterflies - live ones - come and light on ya while you get rested. Everyone I know who has been there tells me it's a great way to relax.

Welcome, Megan! Suzy & Tim Wilson have new baby Megan all moved in now. Congratulations!

Whatever happened about the jetskis? Here's the deal: couple of years back, the Commissioners for the County banned the obnoxious watercraft, citing nuisance and danger to marine mammals (would it be overkill to mention the danger to human mammals, since jetskis contribute disproportionately to the overall boating accidents each year in the US?) - a ban the Court of Appeals folks threw out. So now the case is languishing before the State Supreme Court, with no set time for a decision.

posted: April 24, 1998

Earth Day...there are all sorts of angles one can take on it, but one of my favorites is islander Mike Cohen's Nature Connect workshops/classes/books. The basic idea: Modern people possess more than 50 (not just 5!) senses that are deadened by the way we live our lives outside of a true connection with Nature. A visit to his website is uplifting; there are also Earth Day activities detailed there.

Another angle: the havoc Congress will play with re-writing the regs that decipher what is, and isn't, organic. Mostly there's some problems with their approach. Not a partisan issue, but one with a common sense solution.

One more angle: Could it be possible that most or all of the problems of the world are tracable to the numbers of humans on the planet? Settle in for a good (and easy - bring your kids!) read on the subject put together by a fellow on our neighbor island named John Goekler (that's Lopez that he's from.)

Proof search engines are inspired rather than literal: A local whale watching operation tells me someone called because they found her in the search engines using the keywords "nudist Puerto Rico." Her webpage is under review - I'm fearful the other whale watchers will follow suit. The problem: those words aren't used anywhere in or on her page....go figure.

Did you have trouble sleeping this morning? It was easy to wake up with the birds singing so clearly & nicely this morning, signaling a change in the weather. The garden needed the little bit of a sprinkle it got.

Those drainpipes are continuing to chew up the middle of town: they're digging out front of Ray's grocery now (Friday Harbor Grocery, Whitey's to you old-timers), and taking a left down First Street. The folks with shops down that way tell me all the noise and lack of parking isn't helping business - this would be a good time to do the neighborly thing and make a point of going downtown to visit 'em - in spite of the racket - rather than stay away because of it.

Ever notice most of the dogs around the island don't much come when they're called? I've got a friend who always tells me she's gonna "run the dog" at the beach, but the dog doesn't look half as tired as she does when they're done....

Spring break's nearly over. Around here, we take a week off in winter (usually February, a month which this year fell in the spring because of the El Niño thing - spring began in January) as well as in April sometime. Lotta kids off island, doing their vacations with their parents now, as we all gear up for a busy summer.

The hills are alive (and so are the islands) with The Sound of Music, which starts its three week run at the Community Theatre tonight. Far as I can tell, most islanders are either in it or related to someone who is. I haven't had a meeting in the last week and a half that wasn't cut short without someone running off to rehearsal. Should be great.

Meanwhile, auditions for Godspell are next weekend....

The movie, of course, is still filming away over on the west side. Laura Boyt lives near there, and says the lights are on, even in the evening. Sarah Hartzell (the assistant editor of the FHHS paper and girls tennis team member) tells me she went to the Royal Theater for a movie the other night and Ms. Bullock was there; meanwhile, Rhonda down at the Blue Dolphin did duty as Sandy's double for the filmers.

posted: April 21 ,1998

People ask, so I'll tell ya: the whale watching/naturalist cruises are going out this time of year, as are the kayakers! The whales haven't been around much (they usually come to eat, not just to gawk at tourists), and with the strange effects of El Niño, it remains to be seen whether the salmon (that's orca-lunch to you) come around the west side of the island or have to go other places to feed. Meanwhile there are restrictions on salmon fishing this summer as well.... there's a list of whale watching and fishing operations listed on the Directory's page about them.

Ran into Katie Pender and Amy Wargo down in front of Friday Harbor Grocery Store Sunday night...they were scouting out the Movie's cast and crew party being held at Herb's across the street. Starstruck....

That marina being plotted over at Orcas Landing is scheduled to host some 106 or more slips.

My real estate friends tell me the local business is booming, both with lots of property listed recently and lots of places being sold. The probable cause: A sense the economy's doing OK & low interest rates.

Ann Carlson took seven staff members from the FHHS newspaper (the Underground - they dig for the news!) to Seattle for a journalism conference last weekend. They were ecstatic to roam the city, meet new folks, and learn ways to make the paper better. I got to go, too, and the kids make ya proud...attending seesions, getting excited about things to add to the paper, and learning a ton.

Great gardening weather lately...not hot, not cold, just like Baby Bear's porridge - just right.

posted: April 14, 1998

Bits & pieces: Liz at Post San Juan wrote me to mention Sandra Bullock was on the ferry last night, coming to do her part in the movie (see below.)

He's calling himself the E. Coli Kid, and he's still smiling, which belies the seriousness of the situation. FHHS drama teacher, ace director, professional clown & dad Fred Yockers came down with e. coli poisoning last week, and has just now returned to the island to recover. The details are horrendous, but suffice it to say he came close & we're glad to have him still around. He told me last night he's much moved by the love and concern he's received in the last week.... No surprise there - most folks on the island have been moved and touched by what Fred has done with our kids.

posted: April 13, 1998

This week: About the movie, eggs, new books and old poetry, and about crossing the street...

The seagulls are fat and sassy now...
Yesterday's Easter egg hunt at Jackson Beach was a huge hit with the kids - thousands of eggs hid amongst the logs & driftwood of the beach. Volunteer fireman Peter Risser tells me the Department starts at 11am hiding the eggs for a 1pm start, and the gulls are as eager to carry them off as the kids are. With some busted and dropped, there were plenty left over for those hungry thieves...

You know how we do it, right? Generally, around here on our island, local folks in cars stop in the street to let folks on foot pass. I mean, if you see someone with a couple of grocery bags struggling & wrestling them to their car across the street, it's the polite thing to do, right?

So it wasn't too out of the ordinary when I stopped on Spring Street in front of the Royal Theater to let my friend Alice go by; of course, I rolled down the window and said "Howdy!" and my son waved to her as well, as she trundled across the crosswalk. Then somebody honked behind me.

Naturally, I figured somebody needed some help or wanted to say hi, so I got out to see how things were going in the car behind me. "How ya doin'?" I asked the red-faced driver. She must have been hot or something, because it was a cool day.

"Are you going to move?" she hollered me. "Sure," I answered, "just wanted to make sure you were doing OK. You honked, didn't you? Maybe it was this fella behind you here." I started to go check, but she yelled, "It was me! Now will you please get in your car and go!?!" I checked to make sure she was really OK - I'm still not completely sure - and scurried back to the car. "Who was it?" my son asked. "A lady who's late for the ferry, I think." He noted her plates said her car was from California, so we speculated she must be in an awful hurry to go get in line and wait two hours for the next boat.

So, anyway, that's how we do it. Pedestrians here are pretty safe as long as no one's late.

Shooting starts this week (scheduled for Tuesday) on The Movie. Visiting the set today, it's both impressive and commanding (see what we're talking about on Dale's website.) Kayak outfits (I saw the Crystal Seas folks) paddling by can add it to the wonders our visitors see when they go by off the west side - including the fake leaves stapled to the trees and the actors on the porch. All in all, it's fun to have these guys visit..... Since Nicole Kidman's in the flick, I keep hearing from friends how they hope Tom Cruise comes to hang out at the pub or bicycle shop or moped place or something. Myself, I'd like the chance to let ol' Sandy Bullock know how great "The Net" was, but I imagine she'll be busy learning her lines and all. I mean, there's not a LOT of Internet movies out, you know?

Did you see the moon last night? The full moon turned Griffin Bay all silver and wonderful around 11pm or so, with clouds around but not blocking the moonshine.

Putting in your garden? Have you seen Lee Sturdivant's books on making gardening herbs and flowers a backyard business? She polishing off her fourth (medicinal herbs this time) this spring; the first three have sold some 50,000 copies already. A must for serious weed-pullers who want to get into the biz....

While construction on the drainpipe being dug up & into the streets downtown continues, Kathryn at the wine shop says it's making people talking louder to be heard...she reckons they've got some 30 feet in so far, and a ways to go.

There was an awful lot of music in Friday Harbor last night - marimba and drumming at a well-attended dance at the high school (sponsored by Jim McNairy, Leisha Holmes, and the Hiking Club), big band music (The Certificates) at the Theatre, contra dancing at the Grange, the usual tunes at the local tavs and at Katrina's.

Heard a rumor that someone wants to put 105+ slips & a marina in, over at the Orcas Landing. I'll check it out closer for my next report...

There's poetry month happening at Harbor Books, with readings scheduled throughout April. Honest, it's great to live in a literate community....

posted: April 6, 1998

Can it be so? Dave from Island Wine tells me the San Juans were written up in Business Week as a great vacation place a couple of weeks ago, while Janet Thomas mentioned yesterday she saw a Wall Street Journal article last week claiming we were one of the top five places in the country to retire. The articles failed to mention the cost of living here...maybe that's in a followup, footnote, or in the comics somewhere.

Dawn Nivinski says she'll be directing Godspell this summer at the Community Theatre and will soon be looking for actors.

Around here we have a deal we call "island time," which is basically a way of saying things here move so slow we couldn't possibly get somewhere on time. It's common to set a three o'clock appointment and have your friend show up at ten after or so. With daylight savings time, though, it gets worse...I saw at least three different people look at the clock at King's Market yesterday, look at their watch, then the clock again, then run out.

The drainpipe work downtown continues this week...

The solar car races went great this weekend! Some cars went fast, some went slow, and some didn't go at all, but it was great seeing all the kids and parents working together and swapping notes on improving their designs. Folks asked Juan Lopez and the science club if this was the First Annual....

posted: April 3, 1998

Tomorrow: Big audition at the high school for starstruck folks who want to try to get a part in the Warner Brothers film Practical Magic being filmed on the west side of the island this spring. Cheap & easy way to get famous.... Should be a mob - even the Bellingham radio staions have been announcing it. As you know, it's unusual for things to be crowded here besides during the summer...but, hey - the weather has been nice.

Sculptor-extraordinaire Tom Pemberton is featured in this month's Art Foundry Journal in an article called "The Making of a Bronze," which details how he makes his acclaimed Frog on A Hog sculpture. Check it out!

Just give me the warm power of the sun: Tomorrow there's a solar car race for kids at the elementary school, put on by Juan Lopez...a variation on the Pinewood Derby, kids put together cars that race along a lit (obviously!) track with solar-panel-run motors. Gotta see it to believe it.

Any idea what effect El Niño will have on the whales' annual visit this summer? Everthing else has been weird this year...

It's a shuffle: Skagit Valley College (San Juan Center)'s Heather Beck - assistant coordinator there - moves over to take Mary Keith's job at the assessor's office, while Mary (after 18 years) moves to work with the Town.

One more thing on tap tomorrow: take a moment to remember Dr. King. He would have been 69...

Yo, weather nuts! Art Miller (not the Dead Salesman one, the Duffy House one) showed me this page which is updated every hour or so for Friday Harbor's weather. I've got it bookmarked - see what you think. Reading it from off-island? Don't fret - whatever it says will change in the next coupleof hours anyway. Last week we had a day with hail, sunshine, rain, and a little wind. Not all at once, of course.

The road to the drainpipe project has begun to be run: they're starting on this month's drainpipe-laying project that runs through town. Traffic throughways are still open, but parking may be a little less. First dent: Big hole in the middle of First Street in front of the Hungry Clam.

One of the great (no, that understates it: make that magnificent) things around here is our library. Make a point of dropping by soon to check out the new titles, the Internet access, the great kids' part, the CD-ROMs you can check out, the comfortable atmosphere in which to do research or read the latest magazines. It's great. Drop in.



Back issues:

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

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

Other places with info about the island:

San Juan Island: The Web Directory

Everything. Simply everything about the island.

The San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce.

Pretty complete site about the island.

The Journal's Site

Includes news and classifieds!


The camera's pointed at Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor.
Updated every five minutes.


Return to the Web Directory....


This site prepared by our friends at By Design in Friday Harbor.