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Smith Column: If I Were A Cedar Tree
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Things to do on Lopez - Orcas - San Juan
County Ferry Cams-sponsored By Islanders Bank

Today's Weather

Sign Up For Beach & Bird Training

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) will be hosting two free trainings in the San Juans this month: a Beached Bird training in Eastsound, WA on 1/28 and a Marine Debris training in Friday Harbor, WA on 1/29. The full details are below and a press release is attached with more information.

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New FH Port Director Resigns

ig_Port_Ted-Fitzgerald-001 (28k image) Ted Fitzgerald was recently hired (Related Story) as the new Executive Director of the Port of Friday Harbor, but after citing budget cuts were needed, he exercised his right to terminate an at-will employee. He and the port commissioners quickly faced an unrelenting fire storm of criticism from friends and supporters of the employee.

Not officially stated, but discussed by Port observers as possibly related, was the lack of progress in the construction of the new Downriggers building, progress that appeared to speed up after Fitzgerald took control of the Port administration.

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Feds Want Input On Protection Zone

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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced today that it will consider a whale protection zone that will reduce noise and vessel disturbance of endangered southern resident killer whales. This population of killer whales has declined severely with only 78 whales remaining. The scientific petition seeks to protect core foraging habitat for the killer whales by reducing vessel disturbance (Related Story) . The key threats to killer whales include prey limitation, noise and pollution.

NMFS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is requesting comments on the petition and will consider all comments and available information when determining whether to accept the petition and proceed with the suggested rulemaking.

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Close Call On Orcas

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(Contributed photo)

At approximately 8:20pm on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 Orcas Island Fire and Rescue received a call to respond to a vehicle versus tree accident involving a San Juan County Sheriff’s Deputy. A tree, measuring approximately 3 feet in diameter, fell during a local windstorm and landed on top on the Deputies Vehicle.

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Illegal Immigrants Okay Here As Long As They Follow All Other Laws

It is official policy of the new county council that Immigrants are welcome here, even if they enter the country illegally, as long as they follow all other laws in the country.

County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord is quoted in a press release as stating the county policy is “..similar in many parts of the western states and that this has led to the so-called ‘sanctuary’ label....”

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"Mount Grant" Funding Goal Reached

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( SJPT photo)

After two years of fundraising (Related Story), the $4.2 million Campaign for Mount Grant Preserve has come to a successful completion.

The San Juan County Land Bank made an initial investment of $1.5 million in this project - one-half of the property’s purchase price of $3 million. The San Juan Preservation Trust raised the remaining $2.7 million from private philanthropic sources.

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Apply Now For Educational Awards For Women

Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor is now accepting applications for two of its major awards: the “Educational Opportunity Award” and the “Fellowship Award. Downloadable instructions and application forms are available online at Applications for both awards must be mailed to SIFRI, PO Box 2856, Friday Harbor WA 98250, and postmarked by January 31, 2017. For questions or additional information, contact Diana Sibert, or (360) 370-5269.

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New Progam Started To Help Those In Need

San Juan Propane has announced they are starting a new program called the Winter Fund to help families who are in need in the winter months. Erick Crowe, a 40 year resident in the county has moved over from Orcas to take over as the District Manager of SJ Propane, which has plans to put tens of thousands of dollars that they will be putting back into the community. The state they will help through:

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Pertussis Cases Continue In San Juan County

San Juan County Health & Community Service continues to investigate new cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in the county. To date, six cases have been identified in children residing on San Juan Island. None of the children have been hospitalized. San Juan County Health & Community Services is working with the families of these children to investigate the pertussis cases, as well as with the schools the children attend.

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State Report: Salmon Still Declining

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Salmon throughout most of Washington are in trouble, and will need continued investment by state, federal and local organizations if they are to be saved, according to a report released by the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

“Washington State has been investing in salmon recovery for nearly two decades, and we are seeing some results,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “But we still have many challenges ahead, such as population growth and climate change. Salmon are a crucial component of our economy. Families depend on them for food and jobs. They are crucial to our identity as Washingtonians. We can’t give up on salmon recovery until they are taken off the endangered species list. Salmon are ours to save.”

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2 Juvenile Bald Eagles Released

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(Contributed photo)

After several months of receiving care at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Friday Harbor, two juvenile bald eagles have a second chance at life in the wild. With a small group of onlookers attending, Wolf Hollow staff and volunteers released the pair on December 29th at Rasar State Park near Concrete, WA.

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$9.5K Fine For Laser Shot At Ferry

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( USCG photo)

A Coast Guard Hearing Officer assessed a $9,500 civil penalty, Dec. 27 2016, to a Washington resident for interfering with the safe operation of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) Tokitae by shining a high-powered blue laser at the vessel on October 22, 2015.

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FH May Join County On Bag Ban


The Town Council of Friday Harbor will hold a public hearing on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 5:30 p.m., to consider an ordinance for the regulation of single-use carryout plastic bags. San Juan County adopted Ordinance No. 10-2016 that will ban single-use plastic carryout bags within the unincorporated areas of the County (Related Story). The Town is considering similar regulations. If adopted, the Town’s regulations will be in effect on April 1, 2017.

The Town is accepting written public testimony prior to the public hearing. Written comments may be delivered to Town Hall or should be forwarded to the Town Clerk, PO Box 219, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 or

J2 - In Memoriam Of Granny

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(Photo of "Granny" by K. Balcomb)

By Ken Balcomb

My first acquaintance with the southern resident killer whale designated J2 was on April 16, 1976 in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound

I remember calling Mike Bigg immediately after processing my film of the encounter to notify him that we had found a group of about a dozen whales plus a few calves including a newborn, and none of them were whales that we had seen on our previous encounter on April 6 with most of the so-called southern community of these iconic “resident” killer whales.

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Normal Rainfall In 2016

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By Charlie Bodenstab

Rainfall in 2016 was not that unusual except for the continuing pattern of less than one inch for the entire July and August months. (Which has been true since 2011.) In 2002 and 2003 we even had less than a ¼ inch of rain for the total of the two months. If you have landscaping to maintain the only thing one can predict for sure is the need for supplementary water during that period.

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5K Resolution Run/Walk Sunday


Start Your Year Off Right! Join Island Rec for the second annual Resolution Run/Walk 5k! The run will start and end at Jackson's Beach this year, so that you can also enjoy an icy dip in the Salish Sea… Run/Walk begins at 10am and the Salish Splash begins at 11am, Fires will be built, and food will be available, please make sure to bring a change of clothes if you plan on taking a dip
Day of Event: 9-9:45am: Pick up your Bib#! Also may do a day-of-registration.

Master Hunter Permit Sign-up

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept applications for its Master Hunter Permit Program through Feb. 15, 2017. The program is designed to promote safe, lawful and ethical hunting, and to strengthen Washington's hunting heritage and conservation ethic.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

FH Local Landmark Program

Owners of historic properties within the town limits are encouraged to consider landmarking their properties in a new landmark register program initiated by the Town of Friday Harbor.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

OPALCO Rate Increase In January

When Co-op members get their power bills in January, the 2017 rate increase will be included. The Board-approved budget included a 5% revenue increase, which will affect the average bill by roughly the same amount. The rate increase will be applied to the energy usage (kWh) portion only of residential and commercial bills with no increase to the facilities charge.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

San Juan Council To Hold Retreat

The San Juan County Council will conduct a Special Meeting (Council Retreat) on Friday, January 13, 2017 beginning at 9:00 AM. The retreat will be held in the conference room of the Parks & Fair Office at the SJC Fairgrounds, 849 Argyle Avenue, Friday Harbor. The purpose of the meeting is for the Council to discuss administrative planning for the coming year (e.g. departmental workflow, budget outlook, legislative planning, advisory committee assignments)' it is not for public input.

Bad News For Coal Exports

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced he will expand Puget Sound’s Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve north of Bellingham, adding 45 acres previously considered for a large coal export terminal. At the same time, he will reject a proposal from Millennium Bulk Terminals to sublease state-owned aquatic lands on the Columbia River west of Longview.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Hello Fish Eaters! See You Friday!

ig_SO_FishForTeeth_logo-04 (30k image)The Fish for Teeth Taco Team will be making fish tacos on Friday, January 13 at Friday Harbor Ace Hardware from 11-1:30pm. Tacos are $7.00 (suggested donation), which goes to fund our tooth-fixing program.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Food and Farming Opportunities

Deadlines are fast approaching to be included in The Whatcom Food & Farm Finder and Culinary Agritourism Map. Food businesses and farms interested in being a part of either publication can reserve their spot online or contact Sustainable Connections by February 10.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

SJISD May Move 6th Grade To The Middle School

The San Juan Island School District on January 18 (3:30 PM) will consider a proposal to move the 6th grade from the Elementary School to the Middle School -the meeting will be held at the Elementary School. Prior to that, on the 9th, there will be and Executive Session (5:01 pm) to evaluate the qualifications of an applicant for public employment, or to review the performance of a public employee.

Women' March Jan 21

ig_WM_LOGO-001 (19k image)Think Globally Act Locally... WOMEN'S MARCH ON FRIDAY HARBOR: On January 21, 2017, the communities of the San Juan Islands, WA will gather at 12 noon on the lawn next to the County Courthouse to march in solidarity to honor human rights

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Volunteer For Fish For Teeth

Fish For Teeth is looking to assemble Team Tooth -the team of volunteers who work with the Fish For Teeth board and share the duties of conducting three (3) two-day dental clinics, which occur consistently in late-January, mid-May, and early-October.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Resident Camping Reservations Available

San Juan County Parks & Fair is again offering advance camping reservations for people who reside in our county year ‘round! Choose from San Juan County Park,

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SJI Community Dinner & Art Walk-A-Bout

Wednesday, January 11th, from 5:00-7:30pm in the SJI High School Commons Room. Presented by Food for Thought Program & the Baking Class. MENU below

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SJI Trails Committee Meeting Tuesday

The Trails Committee will convene on Tuesday, January 3rd, at noon at the Heritage Bank Conference room. 1 hour meeting. The agenda will include: San Juan County Land Bank aAsking for for "National Get Outdoors Day"
and "Family Nature Club;" Tim Dustrude: Friday Harbor: Walkable Town, and Boyd Pratt: Next Know-Your-Islanders Talks

There Is One Little Thing...

ig_SO_PetWeek-SpongeBobSquarePants-001 (42k image) I say, chaps - you wouldn’t by chance fancy a game of rope pull or ball throwing, would you? Perhaps we could meet up for elevenses or a brisk stroll? My name is Sponge Bob Square Pants, but my mates just call me “Bob”. As you can see, I’m a snappy dresser and we would make a handsome couple, you and I……There is just the one little thing I should tell you.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

“Faithless” Electors Fined

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( Photo courtesy Brian Zylstra )

The Office of Secretary of State on Thursday mailed Washington’s four “faithless” electors a notice of violation of state elections law and imposed a $1,000 fine to each, pursuant to state law, which amounts to $8,000 total fines.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Lunch At Mullis Center Thursday

Ongoing biweekly lunches at Mullis Center, 589 Nash Street: Lunches every Monday and Thursday from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm, 60 years of age and older - $5.00 donation suggested Under 60 years of age - $6.00 per person. Menun: ;Baked Fish; Roasted Yam; Green Beans; Garden Salad & Fruit.

SJI Hospital District Meeting

A regular meeting of the San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 Board of Commissioners Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Agenda follows below:

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Explore & Learn Entrepreneurship

Do you want to know w What it takes to become an entrepreneur?
• How to start your own business, find money?
• Which products or services you should provide?
• How to get licensed, or hire employees?

Click to view the rest of the article ******

C. Richard Hughes

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March 15, 1932 ~ December 16, 2016

Richard Hughes, 84, of Eastsound, Washington, passed peacefully at Providence Hospital, in Everett, Washington, surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Bellingham, Washington in 1932 to Vic and Connie Hughes.

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Dental Van Returns 1-13 & 14

The Medical Teams International Dental Van is coming back to the Mullis Center on Friday, January 13th and 14th. Fish For Teeth is sponsoring this clinic to provide dental care for anyone who is financially unable to afford it. Applications may be picked up at:

SJ County Health Department,
The Family Resource Center
The Mullis Center

Click to view the rest of the article ******

Wells Contaminated Near Coupeville

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

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SJI Assistant Fire Chief

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(Noel Monin -Sheila Harley photo)

Noel Monin was raised in Sedro-Woolley and after graduating high school, attempted a four-year university and spent several years in production and construction jobs in Skagit and King Counties.

Click to view the rest of the article ******

SJI Trails Christmas Party

Dec. 20th, 6pm, Upstairs: Cask and Schooner ((No-host bar). All trails supporters are welcome.

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