Archived Updates: January 3, 1999 - February 26, 1999

Friday Harbor - San Juan Island Update

February 26, 1999

Dream ends: Last night the FHHS boys ended their quest for a state playoff berth with a 62-57 loss...ahead most of the game, the Wolverines got behind with four minutes to go & were unable to close the gap.

February 25, 1999

The morning notes: When will this wind let up? Everytime it seems to die down, it seems to rev back's been doing this since late fall.

Burgandy Waite's back working at Emerald Seas after three months in Thailand - drop by & she'll tell you stories....did you know Doug Bison, the guy who manages the American Legion, is the grandson of Bigfoot, the Sioux chief killed in the Wounded Knee Massacre? He also tells me the Legion's museum is coming together, with their opening later this year.

Among all the basketball excitement at FHHS: Janet Chamberlain reminds me the last time we went to state was 1984, when her boy Wolfgang played. Jeff Roberson played as well....he went on to play at the University of Washington, and is presently still on the island - married to FHHS girls' coach Tracy Marble. Janet plans on traveling to the game tonight to cheer on this year's edition of roundball stars.

Jessica over at Panacea Bed & Breakfast has a special she offers: If you stay for a couple of nights on your anniversary, you get 2% off for each year you've been married. She tells me she just booked someone who's been married for 60 years, so I guess she owes THEM money for coming...she says her previous record was 57 years...

Did you hear Jim Cahaill is retiring from OPALCO where he's worked for 30 years? The former mayor has seen electric use grow with the islands' population, with more and more miles of cable being laid over the past decades...someone with his long view of the island's history is impossible to replace

Store moves: Dolphin Arts (the shirts & casual wear) is opening a store in Annikin's old spot...I hear the Toy Box is moving up to Dominique's old spot, across from the Bistro, just up from Griffin Bay Books...


February 24, 1999

Basketball rolls on: FHHS dumped University Prep last night by 30 to stay alive in the playoffs. Next game: Thursday.

February 22, 1999

Services observe passing: Services of remembrance were held on two islands on Saturday, as Ottley Schonberger (here) and Sally Bill (Lopez) were remembered.

Play's the thing: Went to see Twelve Angry Men on Saturday at the Community Theatre...directed by Andrew MacLaglen (the famous movie director - did you know he lives here? These guys were directed by the same guy who has directed Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne...not bad company!) The show has a couple of more weekends to run.

Basketball redux: Ran into FHHS Athletic Director Cal Johnson this morning and he tells me the deal for boys basketball from here on out:

With last Friday's OT loss, we gotta win tonight, Thursday, and Saturday to go on to State in Tacoma the next week on the 4th, 5th, and 6th. We'll keep watching.

Meanwhile, wrestler & senior Nate Prescott took fifth at state...I lost track, but I think he had nearly 30 wins this year, making him one of the dominant wrestlers in school history.

Good eats: This was a weekend for eating out, and it went well - The Place Next To the San Juan Ferry was awesome Friday night, with our server Amy (she also works for the Whale Museum's Orca Adoption program) doing a super job.

Breakfast yesterday was handled by Bella Luna (Rhonda tells me they're starting to pick up a steady local following - essential for success in the quiet season), while the white Russians prepared by the Pub (Saturday) and Haley's (Friday) were perfectly prepped.

Speaking of which, seeing Kate Stone at the library today reminds me what a good (and delicious) job she does at Katrina's. When was the last time you dropped in? Get over there!

You don't have to leave the island to eat right...

Student scores big: I heard yesterday that ace student Jennifer Zehring scored a 1600 on her combined SATs. That's nearly impossible & rare, sports fans...and awesome. Way to go, Jen! Somebody give this girl a scholarship!

Skagit sets up the GED: Students needing their high school diploma now have a chance to signup for GED classes at Skagit Valley College 3220 for details, and get over there.


February 20, 1999

Basketball falls by three: In last night's game, FHHS was ahead by four in the third but King's came back to tie & force overtime. Turman & Hyland scored 22 each, but King's scrappy man-to-man took its toll in the extra period as they won 52-49.

Next up: University Prep on Monday night at Mountlake Terrace High, then games next week end to decide who gos to State in the Tacama Dome in March.

February 17, 1999

Crowds move on: They came, they ate, they move on, slowly...there were lots of people here this past holiday weekend. Evidence: Cars in the street, those six-car things we call traffic jams, visitors in the shops, and ferry overloads with folks trying to get away Sunday and Monday.

Basketball: It's set: the boys play Friday night at 6:30pm away to begin their quest for postseason glory....we'll let you know how it turns out.


February 13, 1999

School's out for the winter: Yep, no school for a week as the schools take their winter break...the last big break till spring break in April.

Seems like everyone I've talked to is going skiing somewhere else besides in our 1/4 inch of snow that melted. Lotta ski racks on cars in town, too...

Wasn't it nice today? Kinda cool, in the forties, but the sun was out most of the day. Someone told me the Inns at Friday Harbor were full or nearly full (they're the biggest lodging place here) for the evening and for tomorrow night, because of Valentine's Day & the Presidents' Day holiday some people take...sure feels crowded in town as well, with lots of folks crowding off the ferries all afternoon.

Glad the sun's out for 'em. Get outside and play.

Don't get lost: I heard a woman at the Post Office telling someone who had just moved here to "take a right at the corner where the Community College used to be..."

We have that kind of place.

Basketball: The FHHS boys are watching the sub-playoffs to see who they'll play next the number one seed from our league, they don't have to hash it out with the other wannabes.

The girls, meanwhile, lost to Charles Wright Academy last night to end their season. Scott Bell mentioned it was a positive end to long season, as the girls worked hard, losing only by four.

Airhead: Looks like I'll be going up tomorrow in a plane with some friends, ostensibly to take some photos of the island from the air. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Coupla years ago, the folks over at Decatur School flew me over so's I could set them up on the that time, it struck me that however beautiful our sceptered isle is on the ground, it's a whole 'nother kind of beautiful from the air. I've got this idea that it would be good to fly newcomers around and show them how incredible the island is from the air, with the admonishment: Don't mess it up.

Some of 'em, of course, would use it as an opportunity to figure out where they think good places for condos, supermarkets, and malls would be.

School springs forth: Have you seen the Spring Street School web site? They've recently updated it with lots of cheery & interesting stuff. After starting up nearly four years ago, they'll graduate their first grads this year.

Exposed: Did you see this fellow from Orcas' page called the San Juan Islands Exposed? It's been up for a couple of years, but it's still fun to read...I like the bit in another part of his site where he mentions there are two ways to look at this place: community or commodity. Hope community wins.

Off-island islands: Ever wonder what all those islands around us are called? Check out this site that labels 'em for reason to accidentally go to Canoe Island when you were aiming for Jones Island....Speaking of finding your way around, Emily Reed's Guides are in their fifth printing & have sold a couple of zillion...she has added a secure order page to her site so folks can order their new & updated Emily's Guides right from the page. Check it out, especially if you're gonna visit here. She tells me she got four orders the first 24 hours the order form was on there....


February 10, 1999

Snow way, man: While it was fun to wake up to white everywhere yesterday morning, it was gone by mid-morning, courtesy of a 35 degree heat wave. This morning's bit o' snow will probably meet the same fate.

Meanwhile, Seattle reported it had some 27 inches of rain in November, December, and January, the most since 1960 or so...this, of course, doesn't mean that's what WE got - our weather tends to follow its own path, since we're in the Vancouver Island and Olympic Peninsula "rainshadow"'s fun to talk to newbies to the island who say "we" got a lot a rain because they read it in the Seattle paper - breaking news: we ain't Seattle.

Has been kinda wet, though.

FHHS wins again: The boys won handily Monday, and finish the season this week. Basketball tri-districts are set for the 19th.

Land in the bank: Every time someone buys property in the islands, 1% of the sale is totted up and given to the Land Bank so's they can buy land and add it to the public's a good idea, especially as we continue to try to protect the island. This is all explained pretty well on their new web site, developed under the watchful eye of Pamela Gross and the Land Bank folks.

Something else you may not have known about the way we do things here...

County works on web site: The County continues its work on its web site, with the notion that each department will be developing its own content & posting that content itself. Under the expert direction of Central Services' Bruce McDanold, the staff is learning the tech stuff this week & beginning to post stuff already. Should be a full, informative, interesting site when it's done. Bruce has done a ton to bring our computer setup here in the County together, and continues to bring people together as well.

Baby: Heard that Heather Schutza's due to deliver any time now, if she hasn't already...

Dog drives car: Noticed across the road from my house a bunged-up car (it was towed here) that looks a lot like my friend Myah's...when I saw her yesterday I asked her about this. She said she had parked her car out in the street on Spring Street, gone in somewhere, and come out, only to discover the car had rolled down the way & plowed in to something, with her dog happily (pant, pant) sitting in the front seat the whole time. More happily: everybody came out of it OK, except for her front end.

She's got an ad in the paper this week to give it away. Free.

Business notes: At last night's Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Springtree Grill (ya oughta go just to eat!), several bits of news emerged.

Apparently the Inns' Vonda Sheiman is working to see if she can land one and maybe two films to happen here in the spring...also, her marketing director, Michelle Clausson, reported that she has just returned from an eventful media swing to California to chase up coverage of the islands as a visitor destination....Jim Skoog (the Smith Barney one) suggested, somewhat presciently, that we start thinking of tourists as visitors and the off-season as the "quiet season"...Chamber Prez Brenda reported the Chamber's Valentine's Day Fundraiser has been cancelled. Cause: low ticket sales.

There was some talk about developing a SJI Chamber Visitors' Guide to send to folks coming to see us. Sticking point: How to pay for the thing....

Bill Wright announced he's putting on a May shoulder-season deal called "Return of the Orca," which may be of interest to visitors. Details are forthcoming....Emerald Seas' Tom Hemphill threw out the idea of a marine (that's water, not the halls-of-Montezuma guys) photo festival for next March (2000), and was looking for volunteers and ideas...

You guys gotta talk: Heard that Mayor Gary Boothman sent a note to the Legislature on behalf of the town opposing a proposed shoreline variance the State's thinking about, which would make it easier to make movies around here. The Town Council unanimously wrote a counter-note, saying they supported the measure & didn't agree with the Mayor. The measure is supported by our state reps Jeff Morris & Dave Quall, and opposed by state Sen. Harriet Spanel, and should be voted on this week or next. The Chamber took a show-of-hands vote that also supported the measure.

Y2K - more news: The State has posted a continually-updated site about its efforts to ready things for the calendar change. Reassuring in several departments, the web page also mentions there are no current plans to call out the National Guard at the first of the year.

Like, the year 2000 will start & everyone's gonna say, "Cool. Let's riot."


February 7, 1999

Boys drop Coupeville: The FHHS boys basketball team dumped a hard-charging Coupeville squad on Friday 52-44...perhaps the most impressive part of the show: down 27-20 in the third quarter, our guys pumped in 20 points in a five minute span to kick the odometer over to 40-27, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd and reminding people we have an explosive, well-knit team on our hands. At 16-3 and league champs, the guys wrap up the season this week and start plans for tri-districts on the 19th. They are presently ranked 8th in the State.

Defense, shooting, a pressure press - these guys are the real thing.

Wanna play? When teacher Larry Wight walked through the FHHS gym at indoor soccer yesterday, every five steps someone asked him, "Do you have your shoes? Are you gonna play? Come'n, Larry!"

It's fun to get recruited, even if you just came by school to work on a Saturday...

Egyptian pancakes & books: At the elementary school on Saturday, hundreds showed up to see the "Egyptian Museum" put together by the teachers & kids: each class had a project or activity to show off in the gym, which showed the incredible variety & creativity of our students. There was third-grader Joe Ford from Jody Bell's class dressed up as an Egyptian slave named Raw (Ra was already taken) - punch his button & he's tell you a story. There was Mary William's class multimedia/video project, and lab ace Bonnie Potter's computer's to make & print & spell hyroglyphics, as well as Bruce Robinson's marshmallow and toothpick pyramids. Roy Cope led the group in a dance, and maybe the most fun was justing visiting friends who came to see it all.

Meanwhile, the Pancake breakfast was carbo-loading kids & parents alike, with Fire Chief Glen Potter and his ace volunteers pounding out Egyptian pancakes that were vaguely similar to fire house pancakes...enough people came back for seconds to tell you they were good, and by ten o'clock there were so many people there, there was no place to sit.

Over in the Karen Traub's library, the annual book fair was drawing a crowd as well...all in all, this was a wonderful community event that showed off our kids and school staff at their best, and brought folks together for a great time.

Lights out: Could the wind blow harder? Amid reports of trees and BIG branches down across Cattle Point Road and Beaverton Valley Road, Friday's wind also knocked out power for an hour or so in the afternoon, delaying the start of the basketball game by a half hour & threatening to cancel the JV games (a big deal: it's a drag for our visitors to come all this way to play & not get to!). That's the second time this week - we lost the lights for an hour or so Tuesday as well. More promised for this coming week....

Notes: Heard that TJ Small got her wisdom teeth taken out...Mike Dean has had a great January, selling some boats at the Seattle Boat show...saw Anne Williams at the basketball game, cheering on her boy Tyler who starred in the "Cuckoo's Nest" last week and in the game Friday. Talk about talented...


February 4, 1999

On to State! Boys Basketball on a roll: Shoot, I was about to tell you about how great the boys are doing when sports dude Pierre from the Sounder dropped a line to me (and you):


I had an idea for a blurb you can put in your 
I'm trying to
get the word out as much as possible 
that Friday is the last home game
for the Friday Harbor boys basketball. 
They are 14-3, ranked No. 8 in
the entire state, have won nine straight, 
are a #1 seed at
Tri-Districts, and are the unofficial 
champions of the Northwest A/B
It is the first boys basketball 
championship since 1991 (according to
Matt Pranger -- I didn't know that).
Anyhow, the boys are playing at 4 p.m. 
Friday against Coupeville, and
it would be neat to see a huge crowd 
(girls are at 5:45 p.m.). The boys
get a first-round playoff bye since 
they are a #1 seed, so their first
Tri-District game is at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 
at Mountlake Terrace High School.
They'll play either Bellevue Christian 
or King's, according to Dave
Anderson. These kids are *really* good. 
I think they have a pretty good
shot to make it to State at the Tacoma Dome, 
though four of the top 10
teams in the state will be 
in the tournament at Mountlake Terrace
(Lynden Christian #4, Life Christian #5, 
Friday Harbor #8 and Bellevue
Christian #10)
Also, the girls are playing a home 
playoff game either Feb. 12 or 13
(maybe Charles Wright Academy or Tacoma 
Baptist). They don't get as much
support as the boys, so I'm hoping to 
get a big crowd to show up for
that game, too.


Picture show: I know you like pictures, so here's some... Mark at Rainshadow Arts has put together a nice 40-photo web site celebrating (and showing off) the islands. If you haven't been up this way lately, these'll give you an idea what things look like.

Big light, no light: Yesterday was weird: Blue skies & strong winds, enough to knock the lights & computers off for an hour or so...then - did you see the moon? Rising around 8 or so, it was huge & bright & wonderful, even if a couple of days off of its full moon time....along with the whitecaps on Griffin Bay, a beautiful day.

Little notes: Doggone planes have started taking off at 6 or so in the morning, which is pretty dadgum noisy, even for us heavy sleepers. The airport, as you know, is right in town...used to be the rule was you couldn't take off before 7am, but that's just a good idea, not a law. Hate to see it that we gotta make up laws just to be considerate....

Meanwhile, the ferry workers are organizing: talking about unionizing - solidairity forever....Island Events has moved over into the old Journal Building on Tucker, and expanded their offerings. Drop by to see Nancy sometime...with the electricity out around lunchtime, most restaurants were scrambling to offer cold dishes, salads, and sandwiches to all the workers who couldn't work on their computers because they were off....

Lotta people have some small thing that makes 'em different from other folks...I have a friend (who shyly asked me not to tell you who she was) who is cliche-impaired. She always gets 'em close: "That's like beating your head against a dead horse," or "That's a foot in the right direction," or "Are you trying to pull the rug over my eyes?"

DUI meeting rundown: OK, I'll admit I have an axe to grind: when I was teaching school a few years back I went to see one of my great students receive his Eagle Scout award, only to find myself attending his funeral a couple of weeks later after he was run over by a drunk driver.

This discussion about the new DUI laws - with the intent of keeping drunk folks off the road - is therefore interesting to me. I asked County Commissioner Darcie Neilsen what happened at last week's community meeting in Friday Harbor on the new law:

Only about 25 people showed up but the panel 
discussion was interesting and sobering 
to say the least. 
We did discuss some prevention ideas 
that I will be pursuing...such as: 
*Sign community pledges to not drive drunk 
or let your family, parents, friends, 
neighbors (and enemies, they could kill 
someone close to you!) drive drunk; 
*Working closely with the schools to put 
together a "Scared Straight" type of assembly at the 
schools to let kids know what the consequences to them, 
their parents, friends and 
neighbors will be if possessing alcohol or DUI; 
*Working with service groups to put up signs 
and flyers in local bar bathrooms 
advising people to drink responsibly and don't DUI; 
*Providing alcohol free commmunity events; 
*Emphasizing health and fitness programs 
especially with kids to develop healthy 
body attitudes free of drugs and alcohol;
*Funding substance abuse programs with 
gambling tax revenues; 
*Having devices available for people to 
test themselves and get an idea of body 
limits for alcohol consumption; 
*Working with the bars and transportation 
providers to make sure everyone knows 
there are options to driving drunk and 
it is sooooooo very cool to take a ride home 
instead of trying to drive!
We'll see what comes of it....but it is an 
issue that will cost and haunt us for 
some time unless we take a serious look at 
it as a community problem.


February 1, 1999

Meeting: Louise Dustrude dropped me a note, and asked me to tell you: Another First Tuesday potluck is coming up Feb. 2 at 5:30 at St. David's Episcopal Church, at Park & Marguerite. Speaker will be Tom Schroeder on "Our Island Forests: Slipping through the Cracks?"

Open to everyone - good food & lively discussion....

Another marina? The folks trying to build a marina over near the Orcas ferry landing have run into some opposition, who just posted a web site explaining what they're thinking.

Perhaps the biggest discussion around here: When is too much development too much? Where does it end? And at what point does development make the islands something other than what they are now?

And it goes on.


January 31, 1999

DUI - the change: Since the first, the level at which a person can be stopped for driving under the influence has dropped in Washington State, to .08...last Thursday, a forum was held at the middle school to discuss the new, tougher law, with law enforcement officials and County Commissioner Darcie Nielsen speaking - with one of the talking points being to develop community DUI prevention strategies. Good deal...there's nothing harder to take than the unnecessary pain & grief that running over someone when you're drunk can bring.

Hope it works.

Little notes: Rueben Woodruff tells me he's bought half interest in Entertainment Tonight - I saw him behind the counter; he's switching over from his work in real estate at Windermere...the strong, strong winds of Thursday gave way to the gray and wet of Friday...Is there a bigger fan? Rock Island's Melonie Walter (& husband Chris) will join other islanders in front of the Super Bowl today. She and he moved here from Denver three years ago, so guess who they're rootin' for... the annual Knowledge Bowl (patterned on the old College Bowl) is set for Wednesday the 10th at the Theatre; the event pits teams of high school kids against community adults in a fundraiser for the San Juan Island Schools Foundation - it's great fun.....

Didja see the notice in both local papers that a tanker narrowly missed going aground on Stuart Island, just north of here? Dejá vu Exxon Valdez...and too close to home. What's it going to take to set things up so a tug is required to escort those guys through here?


January 26, 1999

Why? Too Kay, II: John Dustrude wrote me today and mentioned: "Which reminds me: wouldn't it be unusual if we had as much concern over global warming as is 'popular' with Y2K?"

Ya know, he's right, again.

Too much flu: Maude at FHHS tells me last week was bad with folks being sick, with the high last week being 16% of the middle school kids out, and 18% of the high school students. All the teachers came, though, till today, when three teachers sat it out. The newspaper said Orcas hit 24% one day...

Don't let 'em breathe on ya.


January 25, 1999

Chill: Getting cold already this Monday...maybe even a little snow on the way. Cool.

The Best of the Nest: Well, if you missed the FHHS production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, you blew it. It was phenomenal...the ensemble cast made the Theatre's stage into a madhouse for two and a half hours, with the important moments not only believable but unforgettable: Daryl Bacon as MacMurphy choking Nurse Ratchett (Amelia Powell) was downright scary; Tony Carter-Piff's Billy built up the angst that made his off-stage suicide his only choice; Andrew Jay's Chief was forbidding and foreboding; and the chemistry between the inmates rang true - there was a feeling these people had been cooped up together forever.

The whole play was beautifully played out...another feather in Drama Teacher Fred Yockers' cap, super teamwork by the kids, and another good show, along with The Comedy of Errors (see below). We have great, talented kids in this community....

The place was long sold out for Saturday's show, and visting with folks during intermission I found out why: I discovered six different people who had seen the show either two or three other times.

Meanwhile, the cast party started at 11:30 Saturday night & there was much good to celebrate.

Art moves & retail moves: The tale in the streets: Sunshine Gallery's moving to Spring Street somewhere, and Annikin's Gallery will close its doors at the end of the month.

In other retail moves, the Lemon Tree is relocating from its present place across from the courthouse into a part of the Mercantile...Andy Duke says his move (his sporting goods place is next to Island Studios now) has increased business, and was a good move. Location, location location....speaking of which, Leigh Freeman from Windermere Real Estate tells me inventory (that means the houses and land which realtors sell) will be low this summer, leading to what he calls a sellers' market. That's his January guess & forecast, which echoes remarks earlier in the week from fellow realtor Bill Percich.

Have you eaten at Mi Casita lately? Holy moley...we went with our friend Brenda on Friday night and didn't finish the leftovers till Sunday night. Greg Ford (and his ace assistant manager Kelly) do a super job with both service (they hustle with a smile) and food, with no apparent concern for portion control.

Community crowds: Elbow to elbow at the Fairgrounds a week ago, as 74 people paid to go skating Saturday night (and more came to watch) - the most ever....Mike Cohen tells me there was a nice crowd at contra dancing this Saturday as well, some 30-40 folks to folk dance....

Also in the community: a group plans to report a proposal to build lights for our soccer/football field at this week's School Board meeting...a good way to stretch use of our three varsity teams' use of the one field for games & practice each fall.

Speaking of more people showing up: both Cindi Baker and Jessica Hulseman are pregnant, with summer due dates pencilled in....heard that Lisa Lawrence sold a house...if it's a community thing, she'll be there: Mary Keith was at the theatre Saturday night to see the Cuckoo's Nest, as was Commissioner Darcie, proud parents Dan & Frances Bacon (they had kids in both plays), Milene & George Johnson (their girls were both in Comedy), Aimee Urata & Chad Peterman (whose girl Amber played for Prenga at the cast party, with Kiyo & Kelsey as well), as well as half of Waldron Island to see Rheanna Bensel as the "other nurse."

Actor Garth McArdle with his friend Joan sat behind me: he tells me 12 Angry Men opens February 9th. We both noticed Andrew McLaglen's last two plays have big, nearly all-male casts, as this show follows the two dozen guys in Mr. Roberts - holy testestorone, Batman! Dorian Oliver, also in 12AM, says rehearsals are going great.

Did I tell you Library computer guy Wade Guidry just bought an new iMac? That's news.

Clean up & doin' time: At last week's Island Rec meeting, Sheriff Bill announced they hired a fellow named Brad who starts this week - his job will be to supervise folks doing time in various out-of-cell activities. Mentioned at the meeting: keeping the courthouse & fairgrounds mowed & clean.

Books: Who do you know who has self-published and sold over 60,000 books? Lee Sturdivant's series on making gardening (herbs, flowers, medicinal herbs) into a business comtinues to sell well...if you can't come to the island to get your copy, you can order right from her web site.

There are also books for sale online about our island in the San Juan Island Web Directory. Order from the convenience and comfort of your mousepad.

Roundball: So close: The FHHS girls took Coupeville to overtime before losing by four last Tuesday, then celebrated Kiyo Peterman's new driver's license by driving on Lopez - al though the Wolverines were ahead most of the game, the Lobos snuck ahead from the free throw line with six seconds to go to slip out of the gym with a win...meanwhile, the boys keep winning & tuning up for postseason 7th-8th grade soccer action, the Spitfires dropped a 7-0 decision this past Saturday, but it sure was a pretty day - all sun - for the girls to play. What else would you want to do on a great winter day?

Why two kay?: Last Wednesday at the Presbyterian Church, some 75-90 folks showed up to hear community experts address what they thought would happen with the Y2K bug looming (there's a bunch of links you can look over.) Reps from the ferries, banks, OPALCO (our electric guys), the county & town, Red Cross, the Sheriff's Department, emergencies preparedness department, and more reported things as they saw them.

The general consensus: Things are being tended to, people are hustling to fix the buggy machines in their charge, and things might actually be all right. Check in the regular newspaper for details... While no one made 100% ironclad guarantees, there was a great deal of optimism that we actually would be operational & functional New Year's Day.

I liked what OPALCO's Jim Cahaill said, remembering that the electricity was off for some 26 days or so back in 1964 when the underground cable that supplies us parted, and parts of the island were dark & cold for three weeks or so during the 1991 storms. Heck, it's a good idea for folks who live here to be prepped for possible downtime...with the Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year a reminder (it was dark for a day) that it could happen anytime, anyway.

I also liked what Rock Island's Mike Greene said about us coming together as a community to deal with any possible outages - someone also remembered that in previous outages the island tends to come together, with neighbors helping neighbors. Darcie Nielsen reminded the crowd that the County Commissioners had voted 1999 as the Year of Kindness, with the notion that we can work together on things like this...a good way to start 2000 in any event.

We'll leave the rioting and pillaging to the big cities...we don't want to mess our place up.

A good point was made by Andrew Seltser: We need to keep our eyes and hearts open for folks on the island who can't afford to buy groceries way ahead of time. Some folks can't buy a full month's food during a month, much less a month ahead...Bill Cumming said there are resources available (Red Cross, food bank, places that will be warmed with generators), and that it would be a good idea to review & make sure the contingency plans were adequate, and that folks know what & where they are.


January 18, 1999

Hey, ho, the wind and the rain.... Sure, the wind's been blowing for the last couple of days, with rain mixed in. Not too cold, not too warm.

Sort of like a rainbow lately - with all shades of gray.

Reminds me of an old Arkansas expression: "The weather isn't bad here. It only rained twice last week; the first time for three days and the second time for four days." Hasn't rained that much, but you get the idea.

The play's the thing: FHHS' production of Comedy of Errors went quite nicely, thank you - the kids did a super job with that 400-year-old play, sometimes called Shakespeare's first sitcom; I heard good things about Cuckoo's Nest, too. still a week left...don't miss 'em. Ya gotta go.

Work: I've heard a lot of people talk about how hard they work in their little businesses in town, investing much sweat equity...someone last week said something about also putting in sleep equity, not because they're getting any, of course. Gotta do those taxes sometime...

Quick sports update: The FHHS boys continue to win, taking two last week, while the girls pegged Concrete (they're hard) with a seven-point win on Friday for their second win of the season....wrestler Nate Prescott continues his quest for state honors, remaining undefeated and generally unthreatened....the 7-8th grade Spitfires lost in their soccer game at Vancouver, 4-0.

Birthday's on: At last week's Chamber meeting, Mayor Gary Boothman mentioned this year is Friday Harbor's 90th birthday (February 10th, to be precise) and some events are being planned, one of which is an "island portrait" where we all stand in the street and get our collective photo taken. The 90th may be the theme for the 4th of July parade as well....

He also announced and discussed the Council's decision to build new bathrooms in town; some Chamber members would rather see more money spent on tourist promotion. Currently, port-a-potties are placed around town for our visitors...real, live bathrooms seem much friendlier, if you ask me.

Meanwhile, Clark McAlpine from the Whale Museum tells me biz was much down last summer at his place, and with most of the retailers in town he's talked to, and says it wouldn't be surprising to see something less than a boom this year as well. Many factors come into play about how the money flows around here, tourist-wise...hopefully optimism, friendly service and a welcoming heart count for something.

Fun to see so many kids in the street today for Dr. King's Birthday & holiday from school...that oughta help business, a little.

Passing: Just heard Garrett Holmes, Sr. died this last week...that's Garrett's dad and Leisha's dad-in-law.....

Peachy: Haven't heard many folks talking about the impeachment proceedings this past struck me as interesting that Time magazine chose to talk about Y2K stuff instead, as well. Between the two problems, it's an easy guess which is more likely to bring down the country.

Quote: "A jury should decide a case the minute they are shown it, before the lawyers have had a chance to mislead 'em." -- Will Rogers


January 10, 1999

The wetter the weather: It's been wet & rainy, especially yesterday. Not too cold though...up near 50 degrees today.

Sports: FHHS boys roll: The basketball boys got back on the winning track with a couple of wins Friday and Saturday....the 7th-8th grade Spitfires played heroic if wet soccer vs. the Auburn folks here yesterday in Commissioner's Cup play, with the girls dropping a 7-0 decision. At the end of the game the entire 18-girl roster took a flying leap of a dive in the deeper puddles on the field, followed by ebullient coach Andy Guittierrez, who wears shorts to every game, even in January. There were puddles all over the field - the Spitfires' best chance for a goal died in a puddle on the goal line instead of rolling in...the FHHS girls basketball team dropped two this weekend, but continue to play hard.

Y2K: A number of folks are talking about the Y2K deal, and range from the initiated, the enlightened (and they'll tell you so), the scared, and the clueless...count me as a little bit of each.

Found a good place to start for understanding the problem and making a plan for yourself and your community: Check out the Utne site's community action plan page. Their booklets are only a dollar apiece, bought in bulk, and could improve the odds we have a community response to this thing, rather than a media-inspired kneejerk reaction. (You can also run off the text of the book from the web site.)

Check it out, as well as the Dec. 31 entry below for more links.

Eats: Have you dropped by the Springtree Grill lately? Steve and Kathy Anderson took over the old Springtree Restaurant from Jim Boyle back in late summer, and are doing a super job of keeping the standard set by Boyle high...last night I dropped in with Sherri and we checked out the ginger chicken and prawns, with an ahi appetizer. It was great...I know we'll be back.

Steve and Kathy also run the Place Next to the San Juan Ferry, another great place to eat. I'm really glad when they took over the Springtree they didn't rename it the Place Next To Browne Lumber.

While you're eating around town, go by Bella Luna sometime...I got to eat breakfast there this morning (power breakfast with my boy Cameron; we went to watch the Jets since we don't have TV at home) and they do a good job, both food-wise and service-wise. Bella Luna used to be the Electric Company down on First Street near the ferry lines.

Egypt: Partly in conjunction with the Seattle Art Museum and mostly because it's a good idea, the elementary school is studying and reading about Egypt this month...the library has put together some info to help the cause.

Not related: There's a movie about a talking parrot at Video Express called "Paulie." There's a doctor at the medical center called Dr. Pauly. The two are not related, but both are good. You should go see them.

Wharfside: Bob Pittman runs Blair House and now has purchased a second B&B, the Jacquelyn - Clyde and Betty Rice's floating bed and breakfast - sometimes called the Wharfside.

Dancin' in the Grange: A nice-sized mob turned out for the first contra dance of the year at the Grange last night, with music provided by the Cork Paupers. It was fun to see so many ages represented: seven-year-old girls and high school kids and everybody over and above...Journal editor Matt Pranger was there shooting pictures, so maybe there'll be a story in the paper...there seemed to be a lot of new people as well, which means the word's getting out that folk dancing is fun...

The play's the thing: Spoke with Cameni Williams last night about the upcoming high school plays. She plays Adriana in Comedy of Errors and runs some tech stuff for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and she had just come from an eight-hour tech rehearsal, a couple of hours of play rehearsal, a cast dinner which she helped serve, and she reports she's loving it all...she and the other kids are working hard (and by report from other actors, they are excited about the two productions) to put on the two shows, which open this Thursday. Get your tix now!

Quote: "Everybody neat and pretty? Then on with the show!" - Mickey Mouse Club, 1955.

Holiday: School is closed for Dr. King Day next Monday...make your plans, and remind the kids what makes a great man great.


January 7, 1999

New kid on the block: Brenda Larson from what was San Juan Real Estate Company tells me they are now ReMax, San Juan Island...she says Bill Geisy bought the franchise for the island, and it will result in some changes in the office. The company will still offer rental services and storage, as well as real estate services.

New bosses: Brenda also mentioned that she was elected Chamber of Commerce president for the coming year, with Dave from the Wine Shop (last year's prez) serving as vice-president. The Chamber's newsletter is also being added to their page...

Speaking of new positions, Colleen Clancy appears to be settling into her new postion at Skagit Valley College just fine...she's still smiling after her first week, which included registering half the island world for its classes, including my intro to computers class, which is reading this RIGHT NOW.

Drama & basketball rocks: Put it on your calendar: the high school's plays are the next two weekends - this year Fred Yockers' kids are doing two (!) plays: Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Comedy of Errors by you-know-who. Opening on the 14th - check with the theater for the times you want to go. Make plans now! Is Fred an island treasure or what? He gives so much to the kids...he's a great one.

Meanwhile, in basketball, the boys lost two last week at a tourney, then dropped a nailbiter at Orcas for their first losses of the season after starting December undefeated...they've still...they take on Mount Vernon Christian at our place tonight, then play Holy Cross tomorrow; same schedule for the girls, who continue to improve, according to Sue Evans, who made the trip to see them play on Tuesday at Orcas.

History lesson: Did you know the place where the Sandpebble is now used to be the doctor's office in town? Or that present County Commisioner Darcie Nielsen was born in what was the island medical center and is now those county offices behind the post office, across from the Sounder? Did you know the library was built on the site of an old restaurant called The Shrimp Boat?

Safer on the road: Dan at San Juan Transit says his drivers gave over 60 people rides on New Year's Eve, keeping some 30 to 40 drivers who weren't sure they should drive off the roads.

He also mentioned that he still gets e-mail and calls from people who see his webpage and wonder if we have roads here yet, or do we drive on the grass....?

Quote (for the upcoming holiday): If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don't ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.
-- Martin Luther King, 1956


January 3, 1999

Sunrise early: Even though sunrise isn't until about eight in the morning these days - and it was beautiful this morning with reds, blues, and orange stretched across the sky - it looked like it was coming an hour or two early as the nearly fully moon was setting at 6 to 6:30 this morning.

Of course, having it get light in the western sky is clue that it must be the moon...

The last couple of days have been sunny and just a bit chilly - in the 30s and 40s - but good for walking & playing outside.

Macs & stuff: Did you see Bruce Conway moved his Macman Computers office over next to the health club on Argyle Street? My guess is that business for him - setting up and servicing Macs - will be booming, since Macintosh announced they've doubled their market share in the last few months...even Time magazine is impressed.

And it seems like those iMacs are popping up everywhere - Marilyn O'Conner and her boy Kevin got one for Christmas, Maryellen Foster has had hers since early fall, FHES' Cathy Bordi and her girl Jenny got one in August, Sara Grace got one for the Menu Bar Internet Café, Farhad at Harrison House got his last get the idea. The two words that come up in conversations about their new machines: fun and fast.

Does this sound like an ad for Apple or something? Well, shoot, if Bruce is MacMan, call me MacFan.

Orcas shootout: When was the last time Orcas High and FHHS battled for league honors? I can't remember either...but I can tell you the next time: Tuesday at their place, as our Wolverines take on their tough squad, while our girls play their undefeated girls' team. Should be fun.


December 31, 1998

Y2K stuff: People around here - and I understand, around the world - are worrying and wondering what to do with the so called Y2K bug for the world's computers. As a public service (to scare, enlighten, inform, or otherwise confuse), here are some links you might check out about the issue:

What it is:

How big a problem is it?

What people are doing about it:

See if that helps.

Quote: "We may not have got everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end." - Douglas Adams

Town square: You know, we don't have a town square here on the island, but we do have spots that serve that purpose - getting out & about and visiting folks - including the theater and the Theatre, the grocery stores, the streets on sunny days like today, and, somewhat weirdly, the ferries.

See, this time of year, many of the folks on the boat are Friday Harborites escaping to the mainland to return holiday presents, buy cars, do work, or just go malling. On Monday, my son and I went to Anacortes for eyeglasses, and we ran into Gayle and Dennis Hazelton (she grows herbs, he's in charge of US Customs here) with Gayle's sister Glenda up from Oregon for the holiday; Maryellen Foster from Coldwell Banker was taking her daughter to America with friends, while Carol from Serendipity Used Books was going to Seattle to prowl for new books; saw Brock Harmon from the American Legion Angels talking with his mom Renee (she just got married to her fellow Tim this year, did you know that?) and others.

It's fun to ride the ferry. Hard to feel lonesome.

Unarmed with a bad break: Marilyn Madson (of All Islands Reservations) is visiting in San Francisco this week and tells me she slipped on some ice and fell against a curb - and the curb won. Her left arm'll be in a cast for 5-6 weeks...she's one of the fastest typists on the island, nearly 90mph (oops, I mean wpm), but this may be the only thing that could have slowed her down.

Other Marilyn stuff: The Town proclaimed Tuesday "Marilyn Campbell Day" as the longtime director of Skagit Valley College's branch here retires this week.

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

To comment, feel free to add to our guestbook, or view it.

History is doomed to repeat itself:

Review the Update from November 1, 1998 - January 3, 1998

Review the Update from August 31, 1998 - October 31, 1998

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.


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