The New Year's Eve party at the Mullis Center Sunday night drew a crowd of dancing, hat-making, partying friends to welcome in the New Year. I counted some 200+ folks throughout the night - kids of all ages at the event put on by the Prevention Coalition & Island Rec.

Happy New Year!

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January 5, 2007

Basketball flying high: The FHHS boys started the new year right with a 46-29 thumping of Concrete Wednesday - although starting slow out of the gate, the Wolverines pulled away in the second half after they started nailing their shots inside (that's Erik Nash on the break, flying).

The girls had a harder time of it - our young team hopes to rebound when they play Mount Vernon Christian here tonight (4:30 & 6, with the boys playing, too.)

We love our teams, no matter what.

Happy couples invited: Your Visitors Bureau in action - they're doing a booth at the wedding show in Seattle this weekend to invite folks to the island to get married.

Quote: "When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
"And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
"For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
"When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
"For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
"And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
"For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught."

Here's the rest of Kahil Gibran's "On Friendship."

January 4, 2007

Ferry schedule changes this weekend: Washington State Ferries will begin the Winter Ferry Sailing Schedule on Sunday, January 7, 2006 and will continue through March 31, 2007. WSF's Sandy Gee has more:

The winter season is traditionally a slow season for the ferry system. Hence, seasonal cuts or changes in service are made to save money. This is the fourth year in a row for these seasonal cuts, which saves the system approximately $500,000 each winter season.

During the winter, service between Anacortes and Sidney, B.C. is canceled and the International vessel goes through its annual maintenance period as well as running domestic service.

Sharing the judges, no more: For years, San Juan County has been sharing Judges Alan Hancock & Vickie Churchill with Island County, but this year the county plans to re-arrange all that, so that we have our own, local judge. Hancock & Churchill say they'll miss the old way of doing things - here's more.

The San Juan Benefit Players have another show: Singer/songwriter Ed Wilson will be performing the 12th & 13th at 7:30 - here's more about the show & here's more about the Benefit Players. See ya there!

January 3, 2007

With child: It was pretty cool to run into Neal & Val Curtis last night at Mi Casita & see how happy they are - first kid is due in May. Val's one of the best middle school science teachers I've ever known; I'm guessing she & Neal will be great parents, too.

That's Val in white on the left, with her group of Amazon explorers at Sea Tac last June when I ran into them there.

Shopping's one of the first things to go: For us to cut back on the harm we're doing to the planet, we gotta change our ways.

One of the first places to stop would be shopping - everytime we buy something, it's something that started out as part of the planet's resources, and ended up in the garage at home. Time to ease up on all that - here's a report about a group that did, taking what they call a "shopping sabbatical."

Guest house discussion continues: The Growth Board is holding hearings about last year's guesthouse ordinance on Orcas tomorrow - here's the scoop. And it's good - last August's resolution left some unanswered & unresolved questions. The August ruling did not say that the County was compliant with the GMA (Growth Management Act).

"While that first ruling is certainly a step in the right direction," County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord said, "the issues surrounding guest houses will not be over until we are found to be compliant on all issues and all rights to appeal have expired."

New thrift store: The island's Thrift Store has set up shop in its new location on Mullis Street, and had a good sized mob checking it out in spite of the rain yesterday. Bigger, easier to get to, and easy to find - this is a good new year's change to help us recycle (there's great stuff there!), reduce (you can share your old stuff), and reuse. Drop by!

Eating out for the kids: This year Dollars for Scholars is doing things differently - instead of having one night where lots of people can go to lots of restaurants to eat, they're spreading it out with one restaurant at a time. The money raised goes to graduating seniors' university plans, awarded to kids who've done community service around here.

Here's the word from Frank for this month's deal:

Dollars For Scholars has remodeled its Dining For Scholars event. We are giving each local restaurant “Their Night” of their choice to do a Dining For Scholars day. The Ale House has chosen January 6th and January 29th as “their” nights to support local scholars. Please dine at the Ale House for breakfast, lunch or dinner on January 6th or 29th, and support the Dollars For Scholars program.
Frank Penwell, President, Dollars For Scholars

Film at Pelindaba Thursday night at 6:30pm: Here's the word from Amelia at the downtown store:

Now that we have all recovered from the Holiday Festivities, we are starting the New Year with a great film to help bolster all those New Year’s Resolutions. Please note that we have moved the Film Club Evenings to Thursdays starting this week.

As always, please keep checking the “Upcoming Events” page on our website for early notice on upcoming events more than a week out, as we generally cover only the events of the upcoming week in these reminder emails. This week:

Garnering a fair amount of political controversy because of its topic and/or its protagonist, this extraordinary film was one of the most discussed films of 2006.

Former Vice President Al Gore's long-standing passionate concern about the topic of global warming and its potential effects on the environment struck a major chord among many. Roger Ebert went so far as to say: "In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to."

Quote: "When we try to pickout anything else in the Universe, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir, Sierra Club Founder 1982

January 2, 2007

Right here: The FHHS basketball teams are in action at 4:30 & 6 tonight on-island - see ya there.

All over the world: One of the cool things about getting to share with you what we're doing here on the island with the Update is knowing that folks here read this puppy, and they are joined by people all over the world.

Most of the visits to this page are from San Juan Island, obviously, but there is a fair number of people around the planet who check in, as you can see in the map to the right, which comes with the Google analytics deal that we use. The total number of unique visits to the site is a closely kept industry secret, of course, and will remain so until I figure out if those big numbers can possibly be true.

In the meantime, Happy New Year to you folks in Whitehorse, Scotland & England, Australia, Paris, and all over - glad to have you tuned in.

Speaking of around the world: On Saturday at Island Studios I heard a familiar voice - I turned & sure enough, former county commissioner Darcie Nielsen (right, with your reporter) was visiting town. She's finished her gig in Turkey & is now doing governmental consulting work in Albania, which she says she loves. She promised she'd write up a little bit about what she's up to, which I'll share when I get it. Good to see her.

Friday night I ran into former head librarian Lauren Stara, who was in town from Whistler, BC visiting - looked like a bunch of her pals from the library were taking her out. Good to see her smiling face.

Visitors: Of course, over the past week there have been tons of old islanders coming home to see their families - Kate Longley & Karen Gambrell came back to the island, and I saw Chelsea Foussard on the ferry (she's in beauty school in Seattle). Shay Hopkins' mom says she's headed back to school today, and most of our collegians are on the road soon.

Lost & found: Announcement on the ferry the other night: "If you've lost a purple purse please come by the purser's office. Please."

Say that five times, fast.

December 31, 2006

Happy New Year to you & yours - as a wish for the coming year, here's a video I made with Devon Schwinge last summer - when you click on it, it's a chance for me to sing a song for you. Drop me a note & let me know how you're doing.....Peace, Ian

"Love is born in's planted like a seed. Love can't give you everything, but it gives you what you need. Love comes when you're ready, love comes when you're afraid - it'll be your greatest teacher, and the best friend you have made. Give yourself to love..." - Kate Wolf

December 30, 2006

Hurry! Buy your Island Studios things now! Pat tells me she'll will be closed January 9th and will reopen on February 1st.

Basketball hustles, comes up short: Mount Baker came visiting yesterday, and our teams showed some promise, playing the bigger kids from the division above us.

The girls lost by about twenty, but were still hustling at the end of the game, which has to please first year coach Eric Jangaard (right). The boys dropped a twelve point decision to the taller Mt B guys. Both teams return to action against league rival Concrete (they're hard) on Tuesday the second.

New Day Garden - open this weekend: Cathy Cole says this is the weekend to save:

Dear Friends and Neighbors - Our friends, Kim and Paul Flack, owners of New Day Garden are having a 40% off Storewide Sale starting tomorrow (Saturday) and all next week. They still have a lot of beautiful Christmas items left over for your decorating needs in 2007 and gardening items to get you ready for Spring planting. 1220 Cattlepoint Rd, Friday Harbor • 360-378-4048

See you there!

Last chance to give to help out: Bonnie Gilmore tells me there's one more chance to help the United Way - listen up:

United Way of San Juan County is in the process of reviewing applications for funding from more than thirty local human services programs.  Last year more than $100,000 was granted to support emergency housing assistance, pre-school education, mental health and substance abuse counseling, mentoring programs and after school study groups. These and other programs benefit a wide array of island residents; from toddlers to the terminally ill. United Way’s 2006/07 goal is $185,000; almost exactly the amount requested by programs. In the event that we reach our goal, United Way will have granted more than $1 million to island programs over our ten-year history.  As of today, we have received more than $136,000 or nearly 75% of goal.  It’s not too late to make a donation that will help us reach the million dollar mark! Donations received the first week of January will be included in fiscal year 2006, providing donors with a ’06 charitable contribution tax credit.  Be part of “doing what matters” with your gift to United Way of San Juan County.  Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 3181, Friday Harbor. 

There's nothing to do on the island with my kids: Wrong, wrong, wrong! There's a Family Film Festival at the Library that starts on the fifth with the Sound of Music (that one - the hills are alive, you know.) Here's the details...see you there!

That's the fifth - the day before, Pelindaba's film series will be presenting An Inconvenient Truth. Here's the story, about the movie which, if you haven't seen it yet, you got your head in the sand.....

Passing: Your heart has to go out to Bob Benz & the kids, as Patti passed away Thursday. She'll be much missed by the other moms & dads in the high school community, as well as around the island.

Quote: One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. ~ Sidney Howard

December 29, 2006

So cold: The reason it felt so doggone cold last night was. It dipped down to 28 (-2) or so by 6am, which is why you may have a bit of frost on the windshield this morning. Probably not much, though - it was pretty clear.

San Juan School of Wilderness and Emergency Medicine: Did you know you could take the 48-hour class through our EMS folks here (right)? Here's more.

Roche Harbor Christmas pix: Roche's Lisa Brown does a super job of updating the news on their website, which includes a couple of zillion pix of the festivities over the past couple of weeks. Check it out here, and see who you know.

E-cycling near home: It's a problem! How do you get rid of it? What DO you do with your old 'puter, with its monitor & all that metal & plastic that's never gonna degrade for the next 5,000 years?

Do you let your kids play house with them (right)?

Helen Venada has an idea:

Give your old computer a good home this Saturday from 10-2pm.

San Juan County Solid Waste Division, the Auditor's Office, and Island Wholesale Products are co-sponsoring a one-day Ecycle Event on San Juan opportunity for you to easily recycle your unwanted computers, monitors, and laptops.

Island Wholesale Products will provide the collection site and will deliver collected computers to InterConnection, a nonprofit from Seattle, at a small cost to participants.

InterConnection refurbishes working computers and monitors and provides them to low-income families, schools and non-profits. InterConnection also provides computer and Internet training to under-served communities around the world (see for details). All donations of working computers and monitors are tax deductible.

Benefit for Jamie Morrison: San Juan Masonic Lodge will be hosting a fundraising spaghetti feed from 11-3 new years eve day, Sunday December 31st . This benefit is being held to help a Friday Harbor graduate. Here's the deal:

Jamie Morrison was raised in Friday Harbor, and then moved off the island after graduating in 1990. She has spent the last 16 years hiking the tallest mountains and traveling, with lots of Schooling in the mix. This year she decided it was time to settle down and start a family. In her 7th month of pregnancy, she was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. Her baby was delivered 6 weeks early so Jamie could start her treatment as soon as possible.

Jamie’s Mother, Phyllis Morrison currently lives in Friday Harbor. Phyllis has taken a leave of absence from her Job with the County to go to Colorado so she can help, as Jamie is too weak to care for her baby. All expenses not covered by insurance are stacking up; travel, lodging, etc…

The Masonic lodge would greatly appreciate the support of the community in assisting Jamie and her baby boy in their time of need.

Suggested donation for the “all you can eat” spaghetti dinner with all the trimmings is $10 per person, $20 per family, any donation will be gladly accepted.

The dinner will be hosted at the Masonic lodge building, downtown Friday Harbor, above 2nd Act, next door to Vic’s.

Quinn in the comics: Remember Quinn Gillespie? The FHHS grad from years ago is living in Corvallis & has an online comic starting - check it out here.

Quote: Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. - Kahlil Gibran

December 27, 2006

Plans for the weekend: It's always nice to have a long weekend, even nicer to have two in a row, but you can't beat having a party that's open to everyone on the Sunday night of that weekend.

From 7-10pm at the Mullis Center, Island Rec & the Prevention Coalition are putting on their community celebration with entertainment & games & all kinds of stuff, for all ages. Here's the details - see ya there.

New, totally cool website: OK, you gotta check this out.

Over at the Library, tech dude Floyd took the website (previously designed nicely & cleanly by John Sinclair) and brought it up to date with all the new stuff that's going on at the Library, while adding changing graphics (hit refresh on your browser when you're on the front page & you'll see) and a clear, easy-to-use navigation scheme.

Check it out, then bookmark it so you can stay in touch with what's happening at the coolest Library around.

Around town: I've been hearing little things around the island, with friends of yours & mine...

Over at Serendipity Books, I hear Dilys has broken her arm, while Andi Zehring is on crutches with her ankle hurting.

I read somewhere that Salma Hayek was from Veracruz, Mexico, so I asked Yolanda at the Little Store if she knew her, and she says yep, she grew up just a few blocks from her house.

It's tough to read in the San Juan Islander that Bill Chevalier (former islander with kids here who's been living in Mountlake Terrace) has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, while Dave Smith's passing at such a young age also caught us by surprise. (Details in the San Juan Islander...)

That's the "missing man" formation over the airport (right), just before longtime pilot John Volk's memorial service a couple of Saturdays ago...

A lift to us all: San Juan EMS Chief Jim Cole says the medivac plan is back - read this & then get yourself signed up, now:

Airlift Northwest has just released their new Medivac Subscription. Go to for details about the program including links to informative information about the program and to sign up! The cost will be only $79 per household per year.

Grandparents, unite! Janna wrote to tell me about her program, which starts up next week:

The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Relatives Raising Relatives SUPPORT GROUP will reconvene at the San Juan Island Family Resource Center on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8 pm starting January 3, 2007.

This group offers an opportunity for people who are either temporarily or permanently raising grandchildren or other relatives, to talk with each other and gain support for the many challenges inherent in this generous family commitment.

The group is led by Janna Gingras, a professional Social Worker who also parented a grandchild for several years. The group is confidential, free of charge, and open to anyone doing this kind of parenting. Drop-ins are welcome.

For more information, please call Joyce Sobel at the Family Resource Center, 378-5246. The Resource Center is located across the street from Market Place Foods, and next door to the Food Bank.

By the way, Janna became a great grandmother last month when granddaughter Genoa had a baby boy on Thanksgiving day. At 8’5”, his name is Cristian Alejandro Gramajo London. The baby’s father is Cristian Gramajo, from Guatemala. They are living in a house on a horse ranch in Issaquah.

Since I think she's great, I guess that makes Janna a great great grandmother, or grandmother to the second power, or something.

Quote: "An outstanding statesman, he wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history. He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation." — Former President Jimmy Carter, on the passing of his good friend Gerald Ford this week.

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There will be more next week, if anything happens.

Ian Byington

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