October 30, 1998

Halloween hits the island: The kids from the grade school made their way through town this afternoon with their costume parade...of special interest to me was my catcher from Little League last year, who was a self-described "psycho-Santa," and a kid wearing his soccer uniform. Really scary.

Tonight and tomorrow: the FHHS Haunted House at the Fairgrounds, put on by the students for the younger kids, the Harvest Party at the Community Church tomorrow night, parties all over the island, and of course, trick or treating on Saturday night.

Skatepark update: Originally planned to be done by late summer, the volunteer-driven project at the Fairgrounds continues to move along. Now aiming around Thanksgiving, and hoping to beat crummy weather...the bottom part & top part have been poured (see photo, shot during last week's fog, through the fence), so all that's left are the sides and some "curing."

Undertaken by mostly volunteers working weekends, and sometimes during the week, the pool includes skilled labor as well - contractors, cement workers, carpenters, and others. A true community project that's coming along just fine.

The Fair Board is allowing the area to be used for this, while Island Rec (formerly the San Juan Island Park & Recreation folks) is overseeing the whole project.

The streets of town: Meanwhile, the pipe-laying project in Friday Harbor continues to wind its way up "A" Street (that's in front of Madelyn's Bagels and Serendipity Bookstore, citizens, starting near the top of the ferry landing, as you can see in the picture), with hopes of being done the first part of November, which calendar-watchers will notice is real soon.

Blasting was done the last couple of weeks, breaking up the rock under the street so the pipe can go there.

Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke's Third Law.

Sports: FHHS football takes on Orcas for the Island Cup tomorrow on our island, while girls soccer preps for the loser of next week's Lynden Christian-Bellevue Christian game in a playoff to go to the playoffs - they lost last night 2-0 to a tough Holy Cross squad, in their bid for the league championship...


October 26, 1998

The library...online: Wade, the fellow who helps with tech stuff over at the island library, tells me the card catalog is now online. Check it out to see what books are available, and maybe save yourself a trip into town. There are also a bunch of other useful links on his page about research, libraries, a kids' section, and info about the island.

In a fog: Last Friday the fog was so thick you couldn't see Brown Island across the harbor in the middle of the day; you couldn't see Shaw as late as two o'clock. Lizzy Troxel says she went home to Shaw Island in her boat after the movie at 7:30 that evening - usually a five minute ride - and it took two hours. You could hear the ferry's horns into the evening....

The weather should be clearing up some this week, but it's definitely fall, with lots of orange and red leaves on the streets and that cool nip in the air that reminds you winter's on the way.

Beach crowd: Who were all those people on Jackson Beach yesterday afternoon? It was the Sorophmists' annual cleanup. Carol Jackson said it didn't look all that bad when she started, but that "you'd be surprised how soon your bag is half full." Looks great today...Carol said members of the group were joined by daughters and Girl Scouts. The Sorophomists - a group of local businesswomen - are evolving into one of the more involved and active organizations on the island.

Sports and ferries: Saturday was a busy day on the ferries for sports teams, as the boys soccer and girls soccer teams (right, Allison settles in to study) from FHHS joined the U-14 boys and girls teams and the Tiger (Youth) football teams on the boats for off-island games all over the Western part of the state.

Today's quote: "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness." - John Muir from John of the Mountains.


October 17, 1998

Longtime islander passes: I heard yesterday that Carl King passed away a couple of nights back - he and Louise just celebrated their 70th anniversay this year...

Homecoming hoorah: Today's homecoming football game was won by visiting Coupeville, the class competition was taken by the seniors ('99), and the day was won by us all, as a wet & rainy morning turned into a beautiful, sunny, sweater under the arm (got too hot!) kind of day.

Nice crowd at the game, with lots of community members out to support the team and school. Lots of people in the street for last night's parade of class floats as well...and a good time was had by all.

And of course, where there's a ying there's a yang: It rained most of the morning at the youth soccer games, with a fair wind in the early morning. It was great: the sun started busting out around noon or so, soon as most of the games were over. Northwest weather at its best.

Marilyn moves: Just heard that Marilyn Campbell will be stepping down as director of the Skagit Valley College site here in Friday Harbor at the end of this year. If it seems like SVC and Marilyn have been nearly synonymous, it's because she's been involved for so long.

She was running the site at its old location in the present Spring Street School annex, next to the Presbyterian Church, and was a guiding force and leader in establishing, planning, and finally opening the doors of the new present site above the airport. As she moves into retirement, much of what SVC has become for islanders remains, with her tireless and energetic fingerprints on it.

Practical Movie: The Warner Brothers film Practical Magic (here's a review) had its world premiere here Thursday at our local Royal Theater, since part of it was shot here on the island...the opening night was a benefit for both soccer/little league/football field building efforts and the Community Theatre... moviehouse guy Aaron tells me the two evening shows sold out (yay!). He said they were nearly sold out last night as well...

It's good they weren't completely sold out - having sat in the front row during the "Free Willy 2" ruckus three years ago, I can tell you it's a great row to see small details like zits on actors' faces or to read their tatoos, or to read subtitles, but otherwise hard on the neck.

Glad it's going so well.

Community Calendar: The theatre started one...have you seen it?

La Niña cometh: The chat in the street is that we're in for a tough winter, weatherwise: more snow than usual, colder, and maybe icestorms, with snow starting maybe as early as a couple or three weeks from now. Anybody know anymore about this? Write me and we'll publish stuff if there's something to this...meanwhile, Bruce Conway says next month's Leonid meteor showers may prove disruptive to satellite and other communications. We could be in for interesting times...he also has an authoritative web page for island disaster preparedness that you shouldn't pass up.

The road less travelled: Construction resumes this week with blasting and so on in the streets as the town returns to its task of putting in the drainpipe through town. You'll remember this project started in the spring (see previous reports & pictures in reports below), and was mothballed come June for the tourist season.

The drilling, blasting & commotion is scheduled to be completed the first week of November.

Fire! Pretty good fire out at Cape San Juan - see the photo and story on this week's Journal's website.

Being there, getting here, location, location location: Ever wonder where we really are? I've been doing these webpages about the island since the Internet was invented (1995 - well, the web anyway), and people still write to ask what part of Puerto Rico we're on, whether the islands are moved for the winter (usually not), and whether we're in Canada or not.

I really like the little map Suzy Wilson made for the Highland Inn folks, which shows where we are in the country, in the state, and in the water. Maybe that'll help.


October 9, 1998

Morning notes: Some things gathered from the morning e-mailbag and trips into town to see what's up around here:

In the big fuss (CNN report) across the Sound at Neah Bay, the Makahs so far have still not killed a gray whale....meanwhile, Kerry McNulty has pulled together a page describing the efforts to free Lolita, a whale captured from our waters that we hope to return here from her present "home" in the Miami Seaquarium. The success of the Keiko move is helping the "Free Lolita" movement; according to Kelly, Kodak has pulled out as a sponsor of the Lolita shows in Miami.

On the brighter side, Johannes and Crystal Seas Kayaking are going out with Good Morning, America's folks next week, for a story to be aired in November...

Liz Illg not only runs Post San Juan but also serves as president of the Friends of the Library...in her quarterly report she says the library offers a collection of some 44,000 items, of which about 10,000 circulate each month. Amazing figures, but not surprising - check the library any time of day: people are USING it.

There's a nice bio of local Mike Cohen on the NatureConnect site...the flower above is from there as well.

Ray from Friday Harbor Grocery says business has been down some for his and other retail operations in town this summer, as much as 5-10%...he believes the Canadian exchange rate, bad ferry publicity, and other factors contributed.

Steve Demerest wrote an article for Bed & Breakfast magazine about online advertising for ... well, bed and breakfasts. It's neat to see the talented folks on the island get published...the article ("Hiring A Web Design Expert") is re-printed online, and includes mention of my outfit, By Design, as well as others around the country. Cool.

FHHS sports roll on: The girls won their soccer match on Tuesday (2-1 over LaConner), while the boys lost a close one...football entertains Concrete tomorrow, while volleyball plays its first home match on the new floor this season this afternoon.


October 6, 1998

Practical Magic cometh: Dale Roberson lives over near County Park where chunks of the soon-to-be released movie Practical Magic was shot last spring (that's the house on the right they built & tore down for the shooting)...he reports:

The new Practical Magic webpage is 
up and quite impressive.

I have a bunch of photos of the movie set in 
County Park that I shot for Warner Bros. Sorry, 
no photos with recognizable people - they wouldn't let
me. Most of the original 4x5 transparencies have been 
returned to me andwould make great prints if anyone is 
interested. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to share them, and 
maybe make a dollar or two in the process.

Latest word on the County Park is the grass is still green and lush from my
watering. I'll be keeping up the artificial rain until the real rains start.
Could be any day now. If people want to run barefoot through the lush grass,
they better do it soon. Next summer it will all be the normal dry and brown.
Actually, it's a good time to visit the park. Only a couple of campers most
nights. New chip-seal on the roads and parking area. Whales are still coming
by a couple times a week.

Update note: Practical Magic's benefit premiere is set for Oct. 15th at the Royal Theater...call them or the Community Theatre for details.

And that's right: the movie guys spell theirs "theater" and the stage guys call theirs a "theatre." Check their signs.

It was a soccer Saturday: There were some 200 kids playing ballgames over at the elementary fields Saturday, the usual load for the weekend - crowded into the four little fields. It was great...people kept smiling even during the torrential drizzle. It's like that every Saturday, all fall...good deal for the kids, and that's not all: there's also Tiger football for the younger kids and Tiger volleyball.


The Wolverine Women, (above, after beating Holy Cross) celebrated their first weekend off in a month mostly by attending the football game (won by our guys 40-something to nothing over LaConner), refereeing soccer games, and getting ready for their big league match at LaConner today. The boys' soccer team lost a couple of close ones (a shootout & a 4-3 nail biter) on Thursday & Friday.

This is a big week for volleyball - coming off their win last Thursday and Coach Michele's successful delivery of baby Hayden last week, the girls get to play their first home match this Friday in our newly re-floored gym. Looks great...

Even Tahoe's got other ideas: We're not the only ones - Lake Tahoe's in the process of throwin' out the jetskis, saying that the lake is a "national treasure." Meanwhile, our board of county commisioners last week indicated they intend to enact the much-discussed ban against the machines here.

Bike right: Proof ya live in the right place: I was pumping up my bike tires at E.T. last night when eagle-eye Paul Ahart from Island Bicycles across the street strolls over and checks the hubs on my front tire. "Kinda loose," he notes, and shows me how they were about to leave me without a front wheel, first good bump I go over. So he tightened 'em up.

He not only saw that from across the street...it was dark. Amazing...and the friendly thing to do. Thanks, Paul.

Moon journals: In Linda Cooper's second grade class they've been keeping journals of the moon - whether it's waxin' or wanin' or gibbous or what. Lately it's been mixed in with clouds, and last night's near-full moon made it look like daylight in the middle of the night.

Meanwhile, it's been a tad wet & rainy, but just the usual seasonal stuff. This ain't Arizona, and that's OK. Sunny during the day, moony at night.

Book' em, Danno: Can there be so many authors in one place? Check the island's literary elite on the webpage listing 'em, and know that doesn't even include them all. And such diversity, whether it's Herb Meyer's writing books, Jim and Ginny McCormick's grammar books, Lee Sturdivant's gardening-as-a-biz books, Peter Fromm's whale book...you get the idea.

Here & there:

Octoberfest went well last weekend, over at the Fairgrounds....the fall campaigns are starting to sort of heat up, with almost everyone being civil & polite about each other so far...there was a nice Volunteer Potluck at the Community Theatre on Sunday; I heard some 125 or so showed up - I got there late, for salad...

Saw Charlie Beacham on his bicycle the other day - he's moving pretty well after his motorcycle accident a few months back....is summer over? The people still keep coming to visit the island, even on drizzly weekends like the one just past....


September 28, 1998

Playwrights deliver the goods: Last night was the last night for the Playwrights' Festival, and it was great. The four playlets (one acts by Ernest Pugh, Therese Finn, John Davis, and Wendy Shepherd) were varied, fascinating, and well-written. Posted as "works-in-progress," they sure looked polished to most of us, with the actors (I hear) having their best night of the two-week run. Kudos to Festival coordinator Susan Williams for pulling it off one more time!

Going to these things is like going to a town meeting - there is such a cross-selection of islanders both in the shows and in the lobby afterward. Great chance to visit and catch up with what folks are doing!

Saw Marshall Davis (with his mom and friend Colleen!) - he's been doing mostly construction since he sold Heartworks a couple of years ago...Saxton Pope sat in front of us, fresh off his 3-0 shutout of Lopez for the FHHS soccer team, for whom he tends goal...former Mayor Bill LaPorte was in attendance....Wendy's play featured singing, accompanied by guitarist Daniel Finn...it was good to see Garth back on stage: he left after last summer's production of K-2 for Mexico & a trip....

Heard Theatre Director Frank Geltner was addressing an island group last week on the topic "Putting community back in community theatre"...shows like this one sure do that....

New principal: Ted Tiegs has dropped in as principal of the elementary school for a year, replacing Court Bell, who has moved over to the middle school. Ted has served in the district as principal before, so this is a bit of a homecomng for him.

Power outage: Most of the north side of Friday Harbor was in the dark for a day Thursday a week ago as OPALCO hustled to fix the unexplained outage. With computers down and lights off, many folks were unable to work for a spell...

Color in the sky: We've had great weather lately - mid-70s, sunny - with beautiful sunsets & sunrises. But the color in the sky yesterday and today was the parachutes of folks jumping out of planes with Larry Thompson's skydiving outfit, as he makes his annual visit to the island. Look up and you'll see them.

Ferry schedule changes today: It did. Click on the box at the top of this page for the new times.

Girls soccer hits mid-season: FHHS soccer is chasing a league title, and so far is undefeated in league.


September 22, 1998

Days even it up: Happy equinox to ya - even though the days are now gonna be shorter than the nights, it still feels like a late summer - at least yesterday's nice, warm day did. Great to be outside. Someone looked at the leaves changing on the trees and told me, "It just looks like fall...it's not, yet."

Still time to go kayaking.....

Meanwhile, that's not the only season that's changing...the ferry schedule changes this weekend as well. Haven't found a copy of the new schedule yet? Click on the link at the top of this page for your copy.

Disaster - Ready? Are you ready for the possibility of a disaster? Bruce has prepped a page to discuss the area's chances to have a quake which should serve as a reminder about what has happened here before & may happen again. Check it out, and stock up. Now.

His address to the Study Club over at the Grange had a standing room only crowd a few months back...


September 21, 1998

Gallery steps up: Have you been by Dona Reed's place? It's called Rainshadow Arts and has some pretty cool stuff...drop in next time you're in Friday Harbor.

Fox on the loose: Chickens beware...saw a fox tonight around ten or so about a block up from the Little Store (up Argyle Street) just trotting along the sidewalk. This was one of the gray ones; saw some red ones about a month ago over near the elementary school. The neighborhood cats are cowering, and with good reason....

Makah meeting: Western Prince's Jean tells me she, Lisa Lamb, and Sue Miller hope to attend a meeting in Port Angeles on the 23rd...it's a town meeting bringing the Makahs (who hope to kill a gray whale next month) together with folks opposing their action (see below for more.) That situation's beginning to get testy.

'Practical Magic' to premiere here: Filmed here - part of it anyway - this movie (starring Sandy Bullock) will open around the 15th of next month with special benefit showings here at the Royal Theater, reports Aaron the manager. The benefits will help out the Community Theatre and ballfields for kids, I'm told by folks who attend Parks & Rec meetings & know such things.

FHHS takes to the seas: If it seemed packed with kids on Saturday morning, that's because it was: the ferry was carrying our volleyball squad to Lopez (we went 2-2 in their tourney there), girls soccer to Nooksack Valley (we lost a 1-0 cliff-hanger), boys soccer to Snohomish Christian High (they led 1-0 at the half, as we fell 5-0 in a valiant effort), while football's boys visited Coupeville (a scoreless halftime gave way to a 20-0 loss).

The volleyball girls continue their road show till Oct. 9, since the gym re-flooring won't be done till then. It's the opposite for the soccer girls, as they play three home games (see their schedule) in the next week or so, then play all of October till the last game on the road. Volleyball has the added situation of Coach Michelle having her baby sometime late this month or so...

Awards & such: Pierre from the Sounder told me tonight he got some state journalism award for the story he wrote about writer/editor Ann Carlson and then-senior Elliot Pemberton starting the FHHS school newspaper last year. As usual, the Sounder and the Journal both won several small-newspaper accolades - this was the one I found the most interesting.

Meanwhile, over at the Journal, they've completed their switch from peecees to Macs - this week's paper will be their first with their new G3s. Thinking different....


September 15, 1998

Patriotism runs amuck: Last night I took my visiting friends Sara and Kevin to the Land Bank spot on the west side to see if the whales were around and to watch the sun go down...it was quiet and peaceful and somewhat meditative, as a mist began to form on the water in the distance, and the sun threw up a backdrop over Vancouver Island of purple and orange and all shades and hues in-between...the Olympics were pretty well lit up, as well.

Then some folks in a big travelling van poured out...cigarettes in hand, cameras as big as boat anchors, with pretty loud voices. "Where's the whales?" (They, I believe, were hiding.) Then one of them saw the hills to the west, hollered, "Look! Purple mountains majesty!", put his hand over his heart, and led the group in singing America The Beautiful.

To Canada. Aimed right at Vancouver Island.

Car talk: Meanwhile, Kevin noted the lack of rust on cars around here, mentioning that there seemed to be more rusted on the Oregon coast than here (he works on cars)...we told him what a long time islander told us about five years ago, when we asked how to deal with the creeping rust: "Sell your car every 18 months. Just get a new one. Then start over."

Soon as we talked about all this we saw a car that was so rusty you could get tetnus from the exhaust...a reminder some folks make 'em last a little longer.

Vote today: Meanwhile, the election's this week - the primary - and it says in the paper that as many as 70% of island residents may vote by mail (absentee), which is becoming increasingly common and convenient for folks who have to travel all over the island to cast a ballot. Counting the absentees, of course, may take arriving at a final result a little while.

September 14, 1998

Events & possiblities: It's a fundraiser and it's fun - sail aboard the Adventuress, a 101' tall ship built in 1913...this sounds great already. The trip is Sunday, September 27th...call the Whale Museum for details at. 378-4710 x44.

Yellow jackets on the wane, kinda: Went to a potluck at the fairgrounds yesterday. There's less of 'em, and only one bit me.

Sun continues to rise: Did you see the sunrise this morning? It was great - included some cloud strips across the sky, and mist over the fields in town. It's always this way, it seems, as we near the equinox next week.

Out of the sky: Larry Thompson will be here in a couple of weekends (26th-27th) offering parachute jumps...now that's the way to see the island! The deal includes tandem jumps as well....Larry says just meet him over at the airport - there was a pretty big turnout last year!

High school sports: FHHS had a tough time this weekend, as football ran into a 46-6 buzzsaw with Concrete, volleyball lost three at LaConner, and boys soccer got 16-0'd at Lynden Christian.

On the bright side, Dick Barnes told me tennis's boys had a good time and learned a lot with their weekend match, while girls soccer (click here for the whole story) upset Blaine 1-0 at their place, while our 7th - 8th grade soccer girls won off-island somewhere by a 3-0 count.

September 10, 1998

Whales in the news: Orcas had their moment in the sun back in 1993 when a whale named Keiko became a big deal in "Free Willy"... now the spotlight returns to Keiko as he is flown back to Iceland, and ultimately, it is hoped, his real - not Hollywood - freedom.

This is of some great interest around here as folks watch his success in re-adapting to his home waters - there's a whale who was captured back in the '70s who lives in a Miami prison whom many would like to see similarly released. Lolita (also known as Tokitae) is in failing health - you would be, too, if you were used to swimming 75 miles a day and got stuck in a little 80-foot pool, denied other whale companionship - and there's a movement to release her.

Meanwhile, just to the west of us here, our Makah neighbors are preparing to kill a gray whale as part of a tradition they insist is important to them, although they've forgotten to practice it in decades. The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor has issued a strongly worded denunciation of the action; much of the world will be watching to see how it all turns out as the October deadline approaches.

More gently than all that - see Elizabeth's weekly report of her time on the water around here, and encounters with the whales.

Town commons: It was great to see so many people at the Middle School dedication tonight. Sponsored by our award-winning booster group Purple & Gold, there was chow, drink, and the ceremony. People from all over the island were there to celebrate the renovation of the building - which, by the way, looks awesome.

Tomorrow night: The annual elementary school picnic & first PTA meeting of the year. Now, there's a mob...

Historical Museum: What was it like here on the island a hundred years ago? The San Juan Island Historical Museum offers a glimpse...drop by next time you're in town! It reviews the roots of the community we now live in....

The Ferry Cam can: Eric with the ferry cams has started another: this time on Orcas, showing the car lines there. The new camera joins his already existing cameras that show ferry lines in Friday Harbor and Anacortes.

Fall sports kick off, and kick in: At Friday Harbor High, the volleyball team is readying their game plan for their season opener at LaConner this Friday - they play their schedule until Oct. 9th on the road, while the gym is re-floored & restored. Boys' soccer opens at Lynden Christian the same day, while football hosts mighty Concrete on Saturday.

Boys tennis serves up the Lynden JVs today, while the Wolverine Women soccer squad hosts Mt. Baker at 4:45pm today, before travelling to Blaine on Saturday. That's junior defender Kristen Bull working the ball to the right (photo courtesy of our friends at the Journal.)

September 6, 1998

Whale tales: Val at San Juan Excursions tells me they're busy this Labor Day weekend, with folks coming up & over for the chance to go whale watching, while Darrell next door at San Juan Boat Tours told me he thinks the holiday coming along this late may have slowed things up, some...the season sort of drifts off after this, with most operations easing up over the next couple of months, but still going out. Rik at Bon Accord Charters is the only one I know who goes out all year.

Meanwhile, Jean at Western Prince files this report:

Some really interesting whale activity Bob and Mary (our naturalist) saw today: three orca 
whales from L pod surfing right next to a big fully loaded tanker in Boundary Pass.  
Surfing means getting a free ride in the vessels huge wake wave.  
We've only seen this twice before in the 13 years we have been doing tours. 
They said it was really beautiful being on the water today.  The Canadians were 
watching whales close to Victoria and the US boats were in Boundary Pass.  
Kind of reminded us of what it was like 6 or 7 years ago when there was a lot less boats.

Playwright's Festival cometh: Each year the Theatre sponsors the Dan Weber Memorial Festival, featuring work by local writers. This year's event is set for the weekend of the 18th and the weekend after, with four one-acts on the bill.

Saw Therese Finn this morning over at the Farmers' Market - her play is one being produced - she always writes in a nice mix of funny and insightful. She mentioned how exciting it is to see the words on paper turn into a play..."the magic of theater" she called it. And it is.

September 4, 1998

School kicks off: You shoulda seen it, even if you don't have kids - over at the elementary school there's zillions of parents and big brothers and sisters dropping off their kids to school. It's kind of a tradition to walk the kid in & check out his or her new classroom, and say hey to the teacher. Traffic jam city...and it's great.

Speaking of which, Cal Johnson told me a semi broke down in front of the being-renovated high school and newly-remodeled middle school at 8:05 yesterday...really helpful for traffic flow. That, mixed with people's realization the school parking lot is mostly unavailable for the time being (trucks everywhere), had a lot of cars circling the block. But even with the hitches, people tell me school's off to a good start.

Guest rules: See this nice little page that speaks to the issues and responsibilities of visiting places - usually when we visit places we think "What are YOU doing to entertain me?" instead of thinking about the impact our presence has on the community there.

This is definitely true here - the great crowd of visitors we have throughout the summer completely rearranges the way we do things the rest of the year...and it's pleasant to "get the island back" for the winter. More than that, though, is the issue of how people visit, and the impact they have, and leave behind.

So behave yourself when you're here, willya?

Back issues:

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.

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....


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