Cars in the mirror: That's the scene
coming back from Canada
last weekend at the border - around two
hours to get through US Customs at the
Peace Arch. Give yourself some time...

The WeatherFerry ScheduleIsland Directory

December 22, 2006

Time travel: Hey, it's the season & a lot of people spend the hours remembering & reminiscing & thinking back over good times...

So, my gift to you is a scrapbook of the past for the island; specifically, the last nine years.

If you click here, you'll find all the webpages of the San Juan Update, back to November 1997's humble beginnings. Or, if you'd like to do it the easy way, just scroll to the bottom of this page (and every page), and it'll take you to the week or month before.

Enjoy the read-through, and let me know what you think. And thank you, good friend, for reading. Good to have you along.

Tori checks in: I had been wondering how baby Maggie was doing, and Tori Zehner kindly shared the news:

I'm just sitting here listening to the wind and feeling goofy and thought that everyone should see how adorable my daughter is. Maggie weighed three pounds at birth on June 6 and now she weighs 18 pounds. Merry Christmas, Ian! - Tori Zehner

Time for some light: Click'll get it.

Sale: Dominique Saracco is having a 20% off sale on all Holiday ornaments Saturday and Sunday this weekend at Dominique's House, next to Coldwell Banker on Spring Street. See ya there!

In the Top Seven: The Visitors' Bureau's Robin Jacobson wanted us to know the high regard the islands are held in - an online travel resource has us ranked pretty high. She reports:

I wanted you to know that Orbitz, the world’ third largest online travel site, based on travel bookings, has named the San Juan Islands to its “Seven Hotspots for 2007.”  This was announced Monday and the news is being spread by travel agent websites and news media all over.  It’s another fine quote for your website and other marketing efforts!  The list is in this order:  New Orleans, Jamestown, Alaska Cruises, San Juan Islands, Valencia, Krakow and Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks, Robin

This is pretty cool, and speaks to the good work the folks in the islands who feed, house, transport (yeah, you, Dan) and entertain tourists are doing; it also is another star in the VB's cap, spotlighting the good work they do to tell people what a special place this is.

Three times more money: In other tourism news, the VB's director Deborah Hopkins notes that the governor in squarely behind tourism outreach efforts, in a report from earlier this week:

Earlier this week Governor Gregoire revealed her budget for the 2007 to 2009 biennium.  In her remarks about the budget she noted that tourism is an incredibly important industry for the state.  She has come to realize this over the course of her term in office and her international trade missions. 
As for funding, the Governor has included $8.6 million of general funds and $9.13 million of other funds making a total of $17.73 million for the coming biennium.  The “other” funds are funds from the state convention center.  This budget represents nearly 3 times what has been included in past bienniums and budgets for tourism. 

Quote: Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy. - Steven Wright

December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice to you: It is one of the coolest days of the year, besides being around the first of winter...from today till the summer solstice the days just get longer & longer. Can't beat that.

It's a good time to think of your life as new....

Have a good one!

Another new/old bank in town: Well, you know that San Juan County Bank turned into Key Bank over on Second Street back in the early 1990s, and what is now Wells Fargo was Pacific Northwest Bank (and several other aliases) Islanders Bank is about to undergo a change as it becomes Banner Bank. Here's the press release....

Where did you think you were going? One of the cool problems that we have: Explaining how the streets work around here.

Luckily, the Town is only a square mile big, so it's pretty hard to get truly lost (but possibly easy to get confused). Luckily, too, most folks'll help you out.

Example: You know you're rolling out of town on Mullis Street, right there next to the airport. If it matters (most people don't notice), as you pass the place where Argyle intersects Mullis, Mullis magically turns into Cattle Point. Similarly, when you turn off Spring Street onto Second Street, that street turns into Guard Street at the Community Theatre (in New York, they have theaters that are off-Broadway; if we had other theaters, they could be off-Guard.) Then, up past the library, Guard somewhere becomes Beaverton Valley Rd.

You already knew Tucker Street turns into Roche Harbor somewhere around where it runs out of town, and that halfway around the loop Pear Point Road turns into Turn Point Road, unless you're coming from the opposite direction, in which case it's Turn Point turning into Pear Point.

But seriously, just ask somebody. They probably don't know either. :)

Quote: "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." - Steven Wright.

December 19, 2006

School today: In spite of the collective consciousness of every kid I know hoping there would be snow last night, there wasn't. Not even a chance.

We don't want to make it up, anyway....

Media covers marine biology - cool: That observation project with the decomposing fin whale offshore of the island continues...I meant to tell you about three weeks ago that Dr. David Duggins' project (that's him with wife Megan) was a big enough deal to get written up in USA Today, as well as all the usual Washington papers who care about marine biology. Pretty cool when the good stuff we do here is covered....

HIV testing encouraged in the County: According to the Bellingham Herald, doctors in Western Washington are being encouraged to include HIV testing with routine medical care. According to the story:

People in Eastern Washington, along with Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish counties, were 65 percent more likely than in other areas of the state to receive a late diagnosis of HIV, according to a recent study by epidemiologists at the Washington state Department of Health.

Here's more....

Quote: I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people around them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. ~ Charles Dickens

December 16, 2006

Picking up: Pretty common for Saturday to be a little bit of a cleanup day around the island, but this weekend we need the day...things are blown around because of the wind Thursday night/Friday morning, and there are branches and more everywhere.

One example of the storm's fury: Over at the Animal Shelter, this tree nicked the roof above that middle door while whacking the fences that allow the dogs to take their runs.... there's one more non-profit that can use some help, if you're looking for a place to give, this Christmas.

San Juan Singers - tonight & tomorrow! It's gonna be a heck of a show - here's a complete writeup & here's the times & ticket prices. See ya there!

New general manager: Hey, I heard last night that Paul Hopkins (the guy who helps put on the Marathon) has been chosen as the new gm at the Golf

New folks: The new Chamber Board is listed below, and last week the School Board asked Todd Roberts to fill their vacancy...but there's still a hole to fill.

I hear that Thursday the Town Council spoke to Clark Gilbert, Kay Kohler, Carrie Lacher, and Kelly Balcomb, and hope to decide who will fill Howie Rosenfeld's spot this coming week. Howie was elected last month to the spot on the County Council representing Friday Harbor. And more are needed: In 2007, four of the spots on the Town Council will open up.

Good candidates all - it's my hope that the TC keeps an eye on the issues before the town, and chooses someone who can shape the future of the town in the most positive way. Personally, I believe that the best way to keep our town the liveable place we'd like it to be will involve a renewed emphasis on keeping focus on sustainable business and living in an environmentally aware way. It's essential, and a neccessary direction for us to go, for now & for our children's future, and for their children.

Parking - think ahead: John Volk's memorial is at the Island Air hangar at one - plan on carpooling or walking if you can. It's gonna be pretty crowded with islanders and family coming to honor John.

Gore checks in: Shann Westin told me last night they're having a screening of "An Inconvenient Truth" at her house today at 4pm, followed by a conference call with Al Gore (and other groups who will watch the movie at that time). Pretty cool...and even cooler to stay informed. It's not partisan, it's not politics, it's our future. See it.

Air ambulance: Years ago, we had a deal here that you could pay $100/year insurance that allowed you to use the medevac helicopter in a life threatening emergency - the helicopter can get folks to mainland hospitals quickly, often faster than ambulances weaving through Seattle traffic...

That program was discontinued a few years back, and the result has been a hardship for folks who get flown off & get popped with a $5,000+ bill for this necessary but expensive service.

EMS Chief Jim Cole & others have been working mightily to get the program back, and it looks like it's a go: In January, they'll kick off the program again for $79/household. Here's the scoop from the San Juan EMS's webiste:

Subscription service to begin in January for $79.00 per household per year.

The much anticipated program will arrive in January 2007. Airlift will provide medically necessary aero medical transport and care to the "closest appropriate facility" for $79 per household per year when they are able to fly.

As soon as materials are available, we will distribute applications throughout the community as well as hold public informational meetings about the program.

New Chamber of Commerce board: Debbie Pigman wrote to let us know what the new board for 2007 looks like:

Our new board members are in place and officers have been elected for the year 2007!
Your 2007 Board of Directors is as follows:
Melonie Walter, Tif and Gif - President
Nancy Hanson, The Toy Box- Vice President
*Samantha Gilbert, Girl Friday, Secretary
Michele Morton, Wells Fargo - Treasurer
Paul Hopkins, SJ Golf Course/Flagship Event Rentals - Immediate Past President
Joy Sevier, SJ Wireless
Ed Nelson, King's Thriftway
Donna Maloney, Halvorsen House B & B
Madden Surbaugh, Steps Cafe
*Yvonne Swanberg, SJ Vineyards
*Kim Blake, Whidbey Bank
(* New Board Members)

Sunrise, Saturday morning: That was the pretty day we started with, this morning over Lopez.

Quote: Marriage advice from Ogden Nash:

To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, admit it; Whenever you're right, shut up.

December 15, 2006

The winds last night: Even though it seemed pretty quiet in the early evening, with almost no breeze in the air, if you watched the Seahawks game you could see it was arriving in Seattle (which has no school today)...all night the winds howled and this morning the tree branches & knocked-over stuff in the roads slowed drivers around the island.

If they woke up on time.

The electricity blinked around the island, resetting electric clocks. San Juan schools are on for today, while Orcas & Lopez are starting late, but chunks of the island - the west side, north to Roche Harbor, down near False Bay, over at Hannah Heights - were still without power at 8:15am this morning.

The damage reports will be coming in - I heard of a woman's house that had a tree fall on it last night, trapping her - but it's a good morning to check on your neighbors & make sure they're all right. Go ahead & call 'em, or go check on 'em.

Over at FHHS, classes are on schedule with final exams & all, but tonight's basketball games with Bellevue Christian are cancelled.

December 14, 2006 (updated)

Get your chain saws ready: I just spoke on the phone to a friend whose husband got her a small chain saw after all the wind in November, so she wouldn't get stuck anywhere.

She's traveling with it in the trunk.

Thursday's night's forecast is calling for high winds - they're calling for gusts up to 80-90 mph. Get the candles ready & hunker down, and let's see how we're doing in the morning.

Ferry for the holidays: I asked the WSF what the deal was, for the holidays. Here's their report:

Washington State Ferries customers traveling over the holidays will have plenty of opportunity to get to their destination as a Monday holiday means that many travelers will depart early, sailing on Thursday and Friday. Others will wait and travel on Saturday and Sunday. Many will return home on Monday for the beginning of the workweek on Tuesday, so expect crowded ferries on Monday, December 25, and Tuesday morning, December 26.

From Sunday, December 17, 2006 through January 2, 2007, the 6 p.m. sailing from Anacortes will give priority loading to Friday Harbor-bound customers. Remaining Orcas-bound travelers not boarded on the 6 p.m. sailing will be able to travel on the 6:35 p.m. sailing to Orcas. This route will be on the regular Sunday sailing schedule on December 24 and the normal Monday sailing schedule Christmas Day. On Tuesday, December 26, there will be an extra sailing to Lopez Island at 2:50 p.m., returning from Lopez at 3:40 p.m. The M/V Illahee will also drop inter-island traffic at Lopez at 7:05 p.m. and go on to Anacortes. The M/V Sealth will pick up Friday Harbor bound inter-island traffic at Lopez at 7:15 p.m. The MV Illahee will make a direct trip from Anacortes to Friday Harbor at 8 p.m.

On New Year’s Day, the Anacortes/San Juans Islands vessels will operate on a normal Monday sailing schedule.

December 14, 2006

Two memorials this weekend: The island will honor two of its favorite sons this weekend, with memorial services for Andor Toth at one on Saturday at Valley Church, and for John Volk at one on Saturday (the family tells me the Memorial Service is planned for 1:00pm at the Island Air Hangar.  Missing Man Formation at 1:05pm, prompt. A reception will follow at San Juan Island Yacht Club, with all welcome to attend.)

Here's the story of John's final hours, from his family.

The Town has a contest for the hundreth year: Feeling creative? Help put together the centennial logo & maybe you'll win $500.

Here's the details.

Fly there! Craig from Kenmore Air dropped me a note to tell you about a heckuva deal:

Kenmore Air Express - With only 12 more shopping days until Christmas, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to spend two of them in downtown Seattle! That's why we're offering special Holiday Shopping Express round-trip fares of only $120 on Saturday, December 16 and Saturday, December 23! The fare includes not only lightning fast air transportation from Friday Harbor Airport to Seattle, but also a complimentary shuttle from the airport to the glittering downtown shopping district and back.

Thursday night shopping: Today & next week, you can shop local, and it's easy! Here's the story from Debbie at the Chamber of Commerce:

We know of 18 shops that will be open on the three Thursday evenings in December (there could be more!), many of whom are participating in our Punch Card Activity. Pick up your card at most retail locations and get it "punched" when visiting all participating stores between 5 and 7 on Thursdays, and be eligible to win over $200 in prizes!!
Those open are:

The Alpaca Store
Dominique's Clothing
Dominique's House
The Toy Box
King's Marine and Clothing
waterworks gallery
Dolphin Arts
SJ Florist
The Sweet Spot
FH Trading Co
FH Souvenir Co
SJ Vineyards
Boardwalk Books
Harrison House B7 B Holiday Shop
Pelindaba Downtown Sandpebble
SJ Wireless
The Whale Museum

Firewise is good for the whole island: Mount Dallas joins other island places designated as wise about fires - here's the press release:

The Mt. Dallas community on San Juan Island will be recognized as a Firewise Community at the Fire Commissioner’s meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, December 13th at the Mullis Street station. Presentation of the award is first on the agenda for the 5:30 p.m. meeting and will be presented by Mark Titus, Wildfire Prevention Coordinator, Glacial District for the Department of Natural Resources northwest Washington region based in Sedro-Woolley.

Mr. Titus is instrumental in coordinating the efforts of interested communities, assisting in the application process from the beginning, with the drafting of the plan to the end, when a community is ultimately recognized for their Firewise efforts.

Mt. Dallas joins five other San Juan Island communities in being recognized for their participation in the program.

Quote: 'Today we have a temporary aberration called “industrial capitalism” which is inadvertently liquidating its two most important sources of capital.. the natural world and properly functioning societies. No sensible capitalist would do that.' - Amory Lovins

December 13, 2006

Dancin' in the streets: Monday night, the Latino Community led their annual "Vigil of Guadalupe Street Dance" through town, beginning at the Marina, going up Spring Street and ending up in front of St. Francis Church. After carrying the statue back into the church, they will continued dancing in the street in front of the church.

Who IS Our Lady of Guadalupe? Here's a nice writeup to explain the feast day, which was yesterday, and is celebrated in Mexico as a major holiday.

New prez: At the Chamber meeting on Monday, they announced that Tif & Gif's Melonie Walter will take over as president from outgoing prez Paul Hopkins. Way to go, Mel!

Memorial being planned: The memorial service for John Volk is being planned for Saturday - the family says they'll give me details as they know them.

December 12, 2006

Passing: Heard last night that John Volk passed away yesterday ...only 62, John was flying south when he got sick & passed away at the hospital.

It was always great to see him at the post office or around town, always smiling. The longtime EMT gave much of himself to the people around him, his family, and to Lainey, and to his island. What a heart, what a life...what a man.

Memorial plans were still being pulled together Monday night.

Last chance to see "Rita": I ran into Dan this morning & with all the snow-outs, there's one last, re-scheduled show this week for Educating Rita - see it Friday the 15th at 7:30pm at Roche Harbor. By the way, Dan was heading off to take Helen to the plane so she could go to London for Christmas - cheers & best wishes to her on her trip.

Blanketed with love: Hospice's Colette Landerville sent me this note about Brooke (left) winning Nelda's (right) quilt (middle):

Brooke Melville was the winner! Hospice of San Juan was pleased to present Brooke with a lovely afghan knitted by Nelda Hastings. Nelda has been a long time volunteer in Hospice, and prolific knitter within the San Juan community. Hospice would like to thank Market Place, King’s Market, and the Island Artisans board for allowing us to sell raffle tickets at their sites.

Their support is greatly appreciated. Hospice of San Juan is an all-volunteer non-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for the terminally ill and their caregivers. All services are free of charge. Their phone number is 472-0322.

December 11, 2006

Gaming grows: You already know Paul Chadwick (right), the creator of Concrete (the internationally read comic book)...he's also been the illustrator for the Matrix Online (here's more about that, on his weblog) for the past few years. As online gaming continues to grow, so does Paul's work, as the Matrix's online presence continues to get more popular. Pretty cool.

And I checked - he's not related to Mike & Kathy Chadwick.

Lost & found & really found: Sixteen years ago, Marilyn O'Connor had baby Kevin (he's a junior now) on her hip, and was involved in the usual mom stuff when her purse turned up missing & presumably stolen.

Imagine her surprise when she got a call from Mike Carlson just now, saying he'd found it, with everything intact except the cash. He was clearing area of brush over on the west side & saw it in the bushes, covered with lichens & overgrowth.

We do look after each other around here, sometimes with little gaps in between.

Orcas in prisons: As noted below, an orca scared the heck out of his "trainer" at SeaWorld last week by holding him underwater. Rebecca Barnard wrote to tell me about a site, related to the incident:

Hi Ian! Lots of us who protest whales in captivity couldn't help ourselves when hearing of yet another orca at Seaworld turning on her beloved trainer. So we started WAY to GO, SHAMU! as a movement dedicated to freedom for these majestic, intelligent mammals. Please visit to sign a petition boycotting SeaWorld and any amusement park that imprisons whales for human entertainment. Thanks! Rebecca

I agree. It's time to let them go. Now.

History nuts, unite: I loved Nancy Larson's writeup about the Courthouse, which celebrates its 100th anniversary, which the San Juan Islander posted last week.

Sale down at Dockside Treasures: Here's the word from my pal Ally down at DT:

Hi Ian, it’s Ally from Dockside Treasures. I hope you’ve been having fun in the snow. Hey, we are having a really awesome holiday sale and were hoping you could help us get the word out! Thanks a bunch! Hope to see you soon, Merry Christmas.

So get down there. I'm telling you.

Quote: "Sophistication might be described as the ability to cope gracefully with a situation involving the presence of a formidable menace to one's poise and prestige (such as the butler, or the man under the bed - but never the husband)." - James Thurber

December 10, 2006

I hope you've been warm the past few days...this is the fire in our fireplace Friday morning. Looks like the snow & ice are finally melting around here.

Search the Update!

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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