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Today's Weather

Morris, Lytton Deliver For Local Construction Projects

Legislators passed the state’s capital budget last night, providing $4.3 billion in construction projects across the state, including $106 million for projects in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

Reps. Jeff Morris (D-Mt. Vernon) and Kristine Lytton (D-Anacortes) were instrumental in securing those funds, which will kick-start important projects in the 40th Legislative District.

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Filing Open For Orcas Hospital District

The San Juan County Council has approved, based on petitions submitted last summer, a proposition for the formation of a public hospital district on Orcas Island. The question of formation will go to the voters of Orcas Island in the April 24, 2018, election. Also on the ballot will be the election of five commissioners for the new district.

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SJC/Anacortes Ferry Ridership Increases 0.2% -Sidney Run Drops 10.1%

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(IG file photo)

System wide the ferry system was the highest in a decade, but Anacortes/San Juan Islands was only up 0.2%, while Anacortes/Sidney, British Columbia had a noticeable drop due to vessel breakdowns :with customers down 10.1% and vehicles down 9.3%

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The Shortest International Scheduled Flights In North America

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Starting February 2018, NorthStar will be serving Friday Harbor, and Eastsound from Victoria International Airport with up to ten flights a week. Their Early Bird fares are as low as $49us one way - plus airport fees, to Friday Harbor, and $79us to Eastsound. The flights take just 12 minutes earning the distinction of being 'The Shortest International Scheduled Flights in North America'.

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John Dennis Spellman

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December 29, 1926 ~ January 15, 2018

John Dennis Spellman was the 18th Governor of Washington between 1981 and 1985 and the first King County Executive from 1969 to 1981.
In response to the news Governor Spellman died Monday at the age of 91, Secretary of State Kim Wyman issued the following statement:

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And Around-And-Around We Will Go

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(WSDOT photo)

Starting in early April and into July, there will be delays as WSDOT contractor crews build two new roundabouts in the area of SR 20 and the SR 20 Spur (the intersection in Skagit County where you choose to drive west to Anacortes or turn south toward Oak Harbor).

You can prepare for trips during construction by:

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San Juan Island Real Estate Market Summary

IG-Merri_Ann_Simonson-3 (21k image)By Merri Ann Simonson

In reviewing the year-end results for 2017, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $299,943,083 which reflects an increase in volume of 19.5% over 2016 when the volume was $251,020,953. The percentage of growth this year was very similar to the increase we enjoyed for the last several years; very stable controlled growth is much more sustainable. The County closed an average of 49.3 transactions per month which is above the last few years.

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OPALCO Seeks Board Candidates For District 2

Nominations are now open for the 2018 OPALCO Board of Directors election. There are two positions up for election in District 2 (Orcas, Armitage, Big Double, Blakely, Fawn, Little Double and Obstruction islands). Interested co-op members from District 2 can apply to be nominated through our online nominations app at The deadline is January 30th.

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Flu Activity Increasing In County

ig_M_FlueAlert-001 (55k image)“While flu cases are on the rise in San Juan County, we are not currently seeing the levels reported in the state and region. However, we can reasonably expect our county to begin seeing an increase in flu cases now that flu is active in the region and children are returning to school” says Dr. Frank James, Health Officer for San Juan County.

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Suggestions Wanted On Land Use Regulations

The deadline for proposed amendments to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan and Uniform Development Code (UDC) is 4:30 pm March 1, 2018.

The Growth Management Act at RCW 36.70A.470(2) allows interested persons including applicants, citizens, hearing examiners, and staff of other agencies, to request amendments to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan maps, policies or development regulations. There are two types of amendments:

• Comprehensive Plan/Code Text Amendments, and
• Comprehensive Plan Map Amendments
Suggestions for amendments are submitted to the Community Development Department by March 1 each year

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Homeless Count Begins In SJ County

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(Per Gosche photo)

The Homeless Housing and Assistance Act requires that each county In Washington State conduct an annual point in time count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons.

In 2017 there were a total of 36 “homeless” individuals (adults & children=10; W/out children=23, and only children= 3); whereas in 2016 there were a total 58 deemed to be homeless.

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Peter Garlock Appointed To OPALCO Board

ig_Peter_Garlock-001 (51k image)Peter Garlock of Lopez Island joins the OPALCO Board of Directors in February, 2018 to fill the vacancy created by Jim Lett upon his retirement. The OPALCO Board appointed Garlock to the position at the December board meeting.

The volunteer member Election & Governance Committee (EGC) reviewed four applications for the vacancy. All candidates were interviewed by the EGC and also by the Board.

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Master Program - Does It Remove Uncertainty Or Increase It

IG-Merri_Ann_Simonson-3 (21k image)By Merri Ann Simonson

As you may or may not be aware, the County Council has recently adopted updates to the Shoreline Master Program (SMP), with the new regulations effective on October 30, 2017. Although the new regulations apply to all shoreline development, the focus of this article will be on regulations related to residential development in the County.

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Atlantic Salmon Net Pen Solution Proposed

A proposal has been introduced by state legislator’s Lytton; Chapman; Sawyer; Blake, and Tarleton to eliminate escapes of nonnative fish populations, such as the Atlantic Salmon Net Pen accident that occurred last August, by implementing an immediate moratorium on new or extensions of leases for net pens, to last at least two years.

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Orca & Salish Sea A Priority In 2018 Legislature Session

Sen. Kevin Ranker announced orca whales and the Salish Sea will be a priority in the 2018 Legislative Session with new legislation to protect Washington state's Orca Whales and marine waters under a Salish Sea Protection package.

The 2018 Salish Sea Protection package of new legislation, will commit the state to dramatically improving oil spill response, strengthening protections of orca whales, banning net pen aquaculture of invasive species, and prioritizing toxic cleanups in the nearshore and marine environment.

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OPALCO Working With PNGC

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PNGC ( Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative) is a power supplier and cooperative of 15 regional electric cooperative utilities who are banding together to build greater access to affordable power, renewable resources and to influence public policy. It also increases OPALCO’s buying power as we plan for an energy future that includes more renewable and clean energy sources.

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Free Healthy Desk workshop

Working an office job can be hard on healthy bodies; learn how business owners and employees can use “Healthy Desk” techniques to improve comfort - and even productivity - in an office setting.

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Women’s March Returns To FH

The San Juan County Women's March will be held in Friday Harbor, starting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the Friday Harbor Courthouse on First Street.

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Wind Advisory In Effect

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 10 AM to 5 PM PST Wednesday. * WIND...Southeast 20 to 35 mph, with gusts near 45 mph.

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Looking For A Proper Residence

ig_SO_PetWeek-Coco-001 (112k image)

I say, Cavendish - I’m ready for my tea. Perhaps we can take a proper stroll through the garden after elevenses? One does get so invigorated after a brisk stroll, does one not?

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Volunteer Alzheimer’s Facilitators Wanted For Caregiver Support Groups

Make a difference in the life of a family caregiver! The Alzheimer’s Association is currently recruiting local volunteers to facilitate Family Caregiver Support Groups in San Juan County, including Orcas Island and Friday Harbor.

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New Broker In Town

ig_Stacey_Smith-001 (37k image)Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands newest broker, Stacey Smith, moved here in August 2011 from Gresham, OR with her family in tow. She is a 2005 graduate of Portland State University and 2014 graduate of Walden University.

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New Executive/Artistic Director Named at SJCT

ig_Nathan_Kessler-Jeffrey-001 (37k image)A professional director, playwright, actor, and teacher from Seattle is the new Executive/Artistic Director at San Juan Community Theatre.

After a nationwide search, the SJCT Board of Trustees recently appointed Nathan Kessler-Jeffrey to take the helm at the 29-year-old performing arts organization.

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Two Appointed To The FH Arts Commission

The Town is pleased to announce the appointment of Cloud Oakes and Christopher Umierski to the Friday Harbor Arts Commission (FHAC).

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Nora Alice Shaller

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May 16,1919 ~ December 16, 2017

Nora Shaller of Friday Harbor passed away peacefully in her home on December 16, 2017, surrounded by family.

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Ship Traffic Noise And Marine Wildlife Discussion

ig_Rob_Williams_PhD-001 (37k image)Just as we navigate our world primarily through vision, whales depend on sound. Large baleen whales use it to communicate over huge distances and resident killer whales use it to find and catch salmon. Underwater, sound travels farther and faster than in air.

Unfortunately out oceans have become noisy places and are getting even noisier.

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Waiting Over A Year Now…

ig_SO_PetWeek-Nellie-001 (50k image)Well. Happy New Year. It’s just me, Nellie. I’m still here at the animal shelter where I was last year at this time. Why don’t you have a seat and explain to me why you don’t have room in your home for a sweet girl like me?

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San Juan Island Rec - Drop-in Adult Volleyball

Island Rec’s evening drop-in programs are expanding in January to include Adult Volleyball in Turnbull Gym! Beginning Thursdays, 1/11/17, stop by from 8-10pm for 2 hours of fun with your friends.

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FH Christmas Tree Recycling Jan 8-12

The Town will collect Christmas trees for residents inside Town limits on January 8-12, 2018 on your scheduled weekly garbage day. Trees should be placed at the curb no later than 9:00 a.m. and should be separate from other unbundled trash and woody waste.

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Apply Now For ADU Permit

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San Juan County Department of Community Development (DCD) is now accepting eligibility applications for detached Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) permits proposed outside of urban growth areas and activity centers. ADU eligibility applications must be received no later than 4:30 pm February 12, 2018.

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Town Of Friday Harbor Has Good Year

By Duncan Wilson

It has been a very busy year in the Town of Friday Harbor. We completed the Water Transmission project, rebuilt Park Street, added a number of sidewalks and constructed a new Pocket Park on Spring Street.

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How Cute Is This Kitten?

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It’s me, Wee Aiden. Everyone here at the animal shelter calls me “The Baby” because I’m just a little kitten. I’m the only kitten here! It’s kind of fun being the littlest guy around, but not always.

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State Gives Fawns Euthanization Reprieve-For Now

OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will not euthanize any more deer this winter at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Thurston County under an agreement with the facility's owners announced today.

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School Board & Superintendent Communiqué November and December, 2017

Below is the first of a regular installment of Superintendent Diaz and the San Juan Island School District Board of Directors recap of board meetings:

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Two SJISD Teachers earn National Board Certifications

San Juan Island School District would like to recognize the recent success of two of our high achieving teachers, Friday Harbor Elementary School Teacher Diane Heller and Friday Harbor High School Teacher Kevin Cullen. After the completion of a rigorous course of study, Ms. Heller and Mr. Cullen have each been awarded National Board Certification.

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What The...Christmas Is Over & I'm Still Homeless?

ig_SO_PetWeek-LARRY-001 (42k image)You can’t be serious. Christmas is over? Where’s my new warm and cozy home? Santa implied that I was a shoe-in to get that this year. If you happen to see him, would you please inquire as to the status of that? Perhaps my wish list got misplaced…. My name is Larry, but here at the animal shelter I’m known as “Crooked Larry”, because my little body has taken a beating during my short life.

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New Accountant In Town

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(L to R: Rob Banes, Peter Lake)

Lake Kennedy McCulloch CPAs, a certified public accounting firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Rob Banes, CPA to their established accounting and tax practice.
Mr. Banes is an accomplished financial and tax accountant with more than 22 years of experience serving a variety of individual, business and nonprofit clients.

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Softball & Baseball Clinic

The Suiter’s Softball & Baseball Clinic is coming back, January 7, 2018! Amy Suiter is the Coach of Western Washington University's Softball team and her and her husband own Competitive Edge Northwest in Mt. Vernon. They have been traveling back and forth to San Juan Island the last few years to put on softball and baseball clinics for the Island youth.

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More Paid Sick Leave

Many more workers around Washington will have paid sick leave soon. The state’s new mandatory paid sick leave law takes effect in less than two weeks, on Jan. 1, 2018. Voters approved the change as part of Initiative 1433, which passed in November 2016. The initiative also included annual increases to the state minimum wage through 2020. In 2017, the minimum wage climbed to $11 an hour; that’ll change to $11.50 in 2018.

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John Evans
Greg Hertel
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Teresa Smith
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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