The sparrows are still poking around, looking for food at Roche Harbor.

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Prepared weekly or so by Ian Byington, if anything happens. Usually doesn't, which is why we live here.

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November 23, 2005

Goose meets her match: Colleen over at San Juan Safaris told me earlier this week that a golden eagle came in to the yard and ate her pet African grey goose Gretta. The eagle was so full she had to put it in her barn so it wouldn't be attacked by couldn't even fly off. Here's the eagle (right) after she took him over to Wolf Hollow and here's Colleen's story on her website.

Thanksgiving: The Community Thanksgiving Dinner is set for tomorrow from noon to four at the Grange - here's the details!

Ferry many: My friend Charli at Dominique's House says she got in line Saturday at 6:45am for the 8 o'clock ferry, and was 68th on overload...this is a bit of a harbinger for what it may be like this Saturday as islanders mix off-island shopping with getting away to see the high school football team in the Tacoma Dome.

I'd say - shop local, THEN go to the game. See ya there. Go Wolverines!

Another endangered animal: Geese aren't the only ones - the orcas were added to the Endangered Species list last week, and that's good. We need to find out what is causing their numbers to decline & what causes them to die young, and then we need to quit doing that stuff.

"Recent information and further analysis leads our agency to conclude that the Southern Resident killer whale population is at risk of extinction, and should be listed as endangered," said Bob Lohn, regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries Service's Northwest region. "By giving it protection under the ESA, we have a better chance of keeping this population alive for future generations."

Here's the rest of the story, from Deer Harbor Charters.

Starting Year Nine: Yep, tomorrow marks eight years of writing this Update - the first little writeup was November 24, 1997. You can see what we've been saying (and look yourself up!) here, by checking the archives.

November 21, 2005

Girl Friday still in good hands: When Tanya bought Girl Friday three years ago from longtime owner Pam Fitch, the transitionwas smooth - she brought a calm, professional tone to the job that made the handoff seamless for Pam's dozens of clients.

Now Tanya's gotten married and moved off to Oregon, and sold Girl Friday to the woman who owns At One Service, a concierge service that had been working out of Orcas & now is based here as well. Samantha Davis has been answeringt he phones this fall, and doing a super job. She also tells me she's going to get married to Rock Island's (and the Marathon's) Clark Gilbert in mid-February, which is pretty cool, too. I'd say she's having a good year.

What is Girl Friday? It's a service that answers your phone with a live voice while you're away - b&b owners who go to the mainland for a day, property owners who hope to rent, store owners who don't want to appear closed - all these folks and more use Girl Friday as a good, first point-of-contact with their customers over the phone.

Psychic: Try this! It works! Wow!

Quote - "You don't have to believe everything you think." - from a bumper sticker in town

Football Saturday! Tacoma bound! Stacey at the Hungry Clam kept updating the game results on Saturday, finally showing the Wolverines' final margin over late-charging Cascade Christian, 36-26. The win sets up the re-match we've all been waiting for: Royal High in the Tacoma Dome this coming Saturday at 1pm. Royal beat Freeman to progress in the playoffs last weekend as well.

Islands DO shrink: The word is out that Greenland is shrinking. It's melting enough for scientists to express concern about's the story.

It's good for islands like us to keep an eye on stories like this - we're not real likely to melt because we're made of rock - but when the water rises in the ocean, THAT will make a difference.

Christmas Bird Count - 106 Years of Audubon Counts: The Audubon Society's Barb Jensen just sent me this notice about this year's Bird Count, and a little background about it:
It is that time of year to participate in the Christmas Bird Count with San Juan Islands Audubon on Sunday, December 18th. Get your neighbors together to walk your road for a few hours and count birds and enjoy nature in winter. You can also count the birds in your yard or feeder. Many routes need better coverage so call today. For more information and to join call: Barbara Jensen, 378-3068.
A bit of history: In 1900 ornithologist Frank Chapman along with other conservationist were disturbed at the slaughter of birds in the annual holiday event called the "side hunt." The team that shot the most birds and other small animals was the winner. As a protest, Chapman organized 27 friends in 25 locations on Christmas Day, 1900 to count live animals instead of shooting them.
Today, hundreds of people will choose a 24-hour time period during the holiday season to record every bird seen or heard in their designated 15-mile diameter circle - about 177 square miles.

So why is this data important? Bird populations are indicators of the overall health of our environment. As the database continues to grow and becomes long-term, it is possible to monitor the abundance and distribution patterns of wintering bird populations. If you go to Audubon’s website at: you can look at the results from our area, make charts, and look at trends for specific species.

November 17, 2005

Benefit for Susan: There's a benefit performance for Susan Eyerly tomorrow at the Community Theatre, preceded by a benefit meal at the Ale's the details.

Susan has been the owner of Griffin Bay Bookstore for over two decades, and her shelf choices have shaped the reading lives of islanders and visitors for a long time. She's always had a little bit of time for us - hope you have a little time for her. Let's get her well.

Kate's birthday: Couple of Saturdays ago, on the ferry, it was announced that it was Kate's Schuman's birthday. I wanted to mention that here, in case you missed the announcement.

Smile: If you haven't been by Friday Harbor Dentistry lately, you might want to drop in & say hi - Michael Horn took over the practice from Mark Fleming a couple of years ago, and everybody I know who's gotten worked on by him tells me they like this new dentist in town.

That's him with assistants Lori (center) and Susie. Nice folks.

Quote: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 16, 2005

Joining up: Debbie from the Chamber of Commerce says they have a new Board member - Madden from Steps (right), that new restaurant down the little alley that's between Pelindaba and the Golden Triangle. Here's more from Debbie:

I am very pleased to announce that Madden Surbaugh, owner of Steps Wine Bar and Cafe, will be joining the Chamber Board for a term of three years beginning January 1, 2006. We strive to keep diversity in our board make-up and firmly believe that Madden's experience and interests bring a complementary piece to the table.

Welcome, Madden!

You're probably wondering who the other Board members are for the coming's the lineup for 2006:

Paul Hopkins, Board President/Island Athletic Events and Superior Mortgage
Joy Sevier/San Juan Wireless
Michele Morton/Wells Fargo
Donna Maloney/Halvorsen House B & B
Nancy Hansen/The Toy Box
Ed Nelson/King's Market
Melonie Walter/Tif & Gif
Rich Osborne/The Whale Museum

You'll notice 2005 Chamber prez Liz Illg isn't on this list - she'll be resigning next month as she assumes her duties as a Town Council member.

New. Look! Thanks for your kind notes & e-mails about the new masthead above and the overall look of the Update the last few days.

As it happens, the graphic arts teacher at FHHS, my friend Larry Wight, asked me to do some stuff with the kids this past week or so, and one of the projects resulted in the color shift we're trying out here. The art was created by Sarah Day (right), who also is interning at Tif & Gif - an invaluable experience, if you ask me. Way to go, Sarah!

Animal Inn gets new, polite owners: You know, I like the trend around the island lately: As people sell their established businesses, they sell them to people who are courteous & polite & thoughtful. Usually from the South.

I believe this trend began when Mark Kendziorek handed off San Juan Cellars to David & Kathryn (Mississippi) next to the ferry back in the early '90s, and has continued with Betty at Boardwalk Books (she's originally from Georgia), Jim & Barbara at the Front Street Café (Tennessee, you can tell by all the Elvis stuff), and so on. You get the idea.

So it's not too surprising that George & Milene sold the Animal Inn to Kevin and Michelle Loftus, last located in Texas (although he's originally from Chicago). I got to visit with them the other night - besides being nice people, Michelle also offers animal acupuncture, which I believe makes her the first on the island to do so.

Community Theatre gets new art: Wow, did you see the new sculpture out in front of ther theater? It's on loan for the next year or so from Micajah Bienvenu, and it's called Dancing Fool.

The picture I took (right) doesn't show it as well as a big one - click on it to see the full-size version. Pretty cool, that Fool.

Quote: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain

Roberta's new digs: Roberta Leed tells me she's set up her new office downtown for Sound Home Loans, located just behind the newly-renovated Friday Harbor Realty building, down that little alley to the right.

Speaking of loans, Julie Corey and Julie Greene from Countrywide Home Loans mentioned about a month ago that they're offering interest-only loans on land - call 'em up if that sounds interesting to you.

When I saw Julie C. at the Chamber meeting the other night, I told her that I thought it'd be a cool idea, since she's got her office right there across from the courthouse jail, if maybe she did bail bonds, too. She laughed and told me it doesn't work that way, but wondered if I knew anyone who needed 'em.

Footenote: Richard Foote told me the other day that someone asked him what kinda folks live here on the island, and he says folks who either have three jobs or three houses.

Quote: "Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one's head." - Mark Twain, again

November 13, 2005

Football rocks, soccer rolls: Well, FHHS football had a better time of it on Saturday than the soccer team, but both delivered performances to be proud of.

The football guys allowed the first score of the game, then went on to beat Ilwaco by a 60-7 score that probably got Cascade Christian's attention - that's our next opponent, this Saturday at Mt. Vernon High, as we continue through the playoffs.

The football team then voted to stay and watch the soccer team (their game was right after, in Edmonds), so there was a nice crowd as the boys played Seattle Academy, who qualified for the State Final Four next week with a 3-0 win over our guys. The loss sent the Wolverines home for the season with a 15-2-1 record. Here's the rest of the story.

November 12, 2005

Can you believe he's nearly one? Charlie hits the first birthday next Tuesday - Marc & Deb Vermiere are pretty proud. That's an orca he's holding, as FHHS science teacher Marc gears up for this year's Orca Bowl.

Ferry watch: Let's see how it goes - the holiday Friday gave some people a head start, but there's probably gonna be a mob on this morning's ferries at 6 & 8 to go to the football game in Edmonds...come early!

I'll post the news tonight after I get home about how the day's excitement turns out.

For Susan: They're calling it an Evening of Friendship - a get-together & fundraiser tonight at 7 p.m. at Pelindaba Dowtown to benefit Susan Eyerly. Here's more info about it, on the San Juan Islander.

Quote: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -- Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

November 11, 2005

Russell's better: Saw Russell Sadler in the grocery store the other day - says the reason he's been out of action the last couple of months is he'd fallen & hurt his ribs. He's better now... He, Steve, Sherry, and Jeremy just posted some GREAT photos on the Port's website. (See Gallery 3)

Pix: Speaking of good photos, have you seen Carly's stuff on her new website? Check it.

In the streets: Saw FHHS soccer player Kevin O'Connor yesterday, beaming - asked him what was up, and he says he just got his driver's license. No wonder he looks happy.

Getting ready for the game: Tomorrow's games in Edmonds (FHHS football at 1:30pm, FHHS boys soccer at 4:30pm) promise to be a good deal for fans from here getting a chance to see their heroes play on a bigger stage...but what if it rains?

I haven't checked with our football friends to see what their strategy is, but soccer will be ready (photo).

See ya there.

Quote: "Time travel might be possible, but if that's the case, why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?"- Stephen Hawking, from the newly-launched Island Time Travel site

November 10, 2005

Museum's hours this month & The Big Sale: Sue wrote to tell me (and you):

For the month of November, The Whale Museum will be open Thursday through Monday from 10:00am to 5:00pm and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During the week of Thanksgiving, the Museum will be open 10:00am to 5:00pm the entire week, excluding Thanksgiving Day.

From November 21st through November 30th, we will offer some terrific sales for holiday shoppers, including 30% off all apparel and toys.

Support Group for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Relatives raising Relatives: You know it's tough enough raising kids - don't try it by yourself. We ARE all in this together....

My friend Janna's got a support group that starts tonight at the Family Resource Center from 6:30-8, and continuing on's the San Juan Islander's writeup. See you there.

Here's the rainbow that was over Browne's Home Center this morning, with a song:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

November 9, 2005

Election returns roll in: Well, it wasn't too big a surprise that Bob Myhr topped Steve Ludwig for Commissioner to complete the rest of Rhea Miller's term through 2006, but the margin of support for the Home Rule Charter and the establishment of the six-person commission was. (Check the San Juan Islander for the latest vote count.)

It was cool to see so many people involved in that discussion, sometimes passionately. It's a new day for the county, and the way it'll be run, and it's going to require all of us to work together to make it work.

Meanwhile, in the only contested Town race, Liz Illg (right) won 55% of the vote over Steve Wehrly to win a seat on the Town Council, replacing David Jones (unrelated to the guy who sang, "Hey, hey, we're the Monkees!"), who was unopposed as he ran to replace Gary Boothman as mayor. Liz brings new energy & ideas to the Council, and David brings a measured leadership style to what he does - should be fun to watch.

Round the County Race - it's this weekend! There's a nice writeup about this on the Roche Harbor News page - the race circumnavigates the island on the 12th & 13th this weekend - here's the scoop.

Also, if you like the photo of Marc and Charlie to the left (above), you'll love the photo of mom Deb and Charlie, in the Roche news as well. Check it out.

Latino Potluck: What DO you do if you have to talk to your kid's teacher, and you speak Spanish and she doesn't?

It was cool to see so many folks at the Latino Potluck at FHHS on Sunday. Here's the deal: The school district worked with community friends to pull together school people and Hispanic parents so that folks could learn about parents' rights, school services, activities, and expectations.

Kids like Alex, Jennifer, and Carmen (right) came, too, and helped with the eating.

After eating, folks got into groups (that's what's happening in the photo) and discussed the problems we sometimes have communicating - Jim Ricks listened in on different groups and said it was a good exchange, with both community members and school folks sharing their frustrations in connecting with each other. The groups were working towards ways to overcome language barriers and make good things happen for the kids. This is great stuff. ¡Bueno!

Scheduling games - the stars line up: You know, we get pretty used to funky scheduling of ball games around here - hey, we live on an island. Part of the deal, and we don't really expect mainlanders to help us out. We chose to live in a place with ferries and all that. That's cool.

But sometimes the schedule falls in place beautifully. For example, last week, our soccer boys and soccer girls both had playoff matches on the mainland, so they both went on the same bus. The girls cheered the guys to victory in Mount Vernon for the 11am game, then the guys were cheering at 4pm in the girls' hard-fought, freezing wet 1-0 loss in Bellevue. Both coaches on the way home told me it really helped to have the extra support & energy & enthusiasm.

So now, even better. The football guys are playing at Edmonds Stadium against Ilwaco Saturday, with the soccer guys against Seattle Academy right after, on the same field. I've already heard from several friends they intend to stay for the second game - this is scheduling at its best. Football at 1:30pm, soccer at 4:30pm. See ya there.

November 7, 2005

Women's Summit has people smiling: The First Annual Women's Summit is now history, and Liz Illg (she was one of the organizers) tells me it was great.

Originally planned as a way for business women of the islands to get together, the scope of the event broadened as the organizers realized there was a range of other issues and interests that women coming together would want to address and converse about. Take a peek at the website and you'll get the idea how they addressed that.

I asked Liz how you can measure the success of an event like this, and she said a lot of people were smiling when they left, and that that was a good sign. Some 165 women attended, and Liz says many say they'll come next time & say they want to help plan and be involved in the next conference.

That's hospice nurse Linda Byrd (left), Janna Gingras of Nonprofits Unlimited, and WWU Sociology Department prof Linda Clark talking to artist Terrea Bennett before the first evening. Terrea designed the opening & closing ceremonies for the Summit.

Buy those books: The PTA folks over at the elementary school tell me the Book Fair has pulled in some $8,000 already, and that they will also be selling books at the school library Monday (8am-3pm) and Tuesday (8-noon) for those who couldn't make it on Saturday. Get 'em now!

Dawn & Mike report in: You may remember I mentioned Mike & Dawn from Island Dive got's a photo (with officiant Jean Hendrickson on the left) and the story from Dawn of the ceremony, after which they went for an hour-long honeymoon dive:

The groom was dressed in the finest neoprene, by Atlan, carried the latest and greatest Inspiration by Silent Diving (so he could catch his breath after his vows) and topped off his ensemble with the one of a kind designer Nitrox colors top hat.
The bride wore an original design by Paul of O.S., tiara ensconced with genuine plastic jewels, a veil to resemble to colors of corals and the Evolution, also by Silent Diving. Her bouquet was silk flowers attached to a 2lb lead weight and left at the spot the vows were exchanged.
The ceremony was quiet and small on the swim step of the groom's parents' boat, attended by the groom's parents and two close friends (who could take an afternoon off work).
Mike & Dawn were "officially" married (to make the CPA happy) on October 25 at noon.  The wedding is still scheduled for the first saturday in May 2006 and the honeymoon in Palau directly thereafter.
Okay, it was a silly day and we had a flippin blast and can't wait to do the wedding in May, minus the dive gear!  Geesh that stuff is heavy, but we looked good, huh?
Take care,
Mike & Dawn

Apples, apples, apples: It's been great having lots of apples around the neighborhood, and of course that means it's time for cider, as well. Lorie Narum wrote in, with pictures (here's a little portfolio):

Just wanted to let you know it was a Friday Harbor sort of Saturday on Oct 29th. Susan Harris (of Browne’s Lumber fame) had her annual apple press party out at White Point with friends, neighbors and a few visitors from off-island... After much cutting and pressing of apples a delightful potluck was had by all and every one went home with a fresh pressed jug of juice. Jim and Susan Meredith were there along with Mary Sly and her partner Dan, Marty Ahart, Todd and Lorie Narum, and many more. Just a thought I would pass this on. Hope your weekend was bright!
Lorie Narum

Available: Kathy Farron's fifth book in the Gimbaled Gourmet series is available at Post San Juan and King's Marine. Get yours now!

Quote: Opie, you haven't finished your milk. We can't put it back in the cow, you know. ~ Aunt Bee Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show

One last soccer checkin: Rick Root sent in a nice photo of our nearly-victorious girls after their rain-soaked game on Saturday - they collected at midfield after the match for a moment. If you'd seen them play, you'd know they're champions in their hearts. Here's the rest of the story.

Click here for more news, including yesterday's soccer updates

Click here to look through previous years' Updates. You're in there, somewhere.

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

More info about the island:

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