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NEW John Evans Column: Thank You
Janice Peterson Column: Walk It Back
Wynn Column: Traces
Keeshan Column: Slogging
Things to do on Lopez - Orcas - San Juan

Today's Weather

New Chamber Music Festival Executive Director

ig_Leslie_Rae_Schmitz-001 (11k image)(Leslie Rae Schmitz -contributed photo)

The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival is pleased to announce the appointment of Leslie Rae Schmitz to Executive Director effective April 1, 2015. Most recently, Leslie worked with the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle as Director of Education/Membership/Pilot Funding with the Institute of Translational Health Sciences.

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County Recognition Awards To County Volunteers

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(Councilman Bob Jarman holds an example of a "Thank You" certificate sent to volunteers -IG photo)

A column by former County Commissioner John Evans points out that County government is populated by paid employees and 36 different volunteer citizens boards and committees , with nearly as many, or perhaps more members, than the number of county employees.

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Quarterly Review Of County Finances

ig_Milene_Henley-06 (10k image)By Milene Henley

This is a very late third quarter financial report. It’s been a tough one to write, in part because I’ve been busy with the 2015 budget. But more than that, this report has been tough because it conveys a mixed message.

The good news is that the local economy has continued to perform well this year, and as a result, County revenues have outperformed projections.

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Plaque From State For Blair Project


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( Town contributed Matt Pranger photo

Mayor Carrie Lacher accepts a plaque from Greg Armstrong, Project Engineer with the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board memorializing the Town’s partnership with the TIB in completing the Blair Avenue improvement project. Contractor Mike Carlson of Mike Carlson Enterprises is also pictured.

FH Sunshine Alley Draft Plans Available

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(On of a number of renderings in the report)

After months of meetings, public in put, research and collaboration by Town staff, the Public, Sunshine Alley stakeholders, and the Beckwith Consulting Group, the Town has unveiled preliminary plans (.pdf 3892\k file) for urban improvements to the Sunshine Alley area.

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$10K To Athletic Association From Town

The Friday Harbor Town Council has authorized a $10,000 contribution to the Friday Harbor Athletic Association to defray a portion of the cost to construct a public sidewalk on Carter Avenue.

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Why Registering With Selective Service Matters

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Since 1980, every young man living in the U.S. has been required to register with Selective Service when he turns 18, or when he becomes a resident of this country. If a young man doesn’t register, he loses his eligibility for widely used government programs.

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Blair Avenue Ribbon Cutting tWednesday

The Mayor, council members and Town staff invite you to join them as they celebrate the official completion of the Blair Avenue improvement project on Wednesday, December 17 at 11:30 a.m.

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SJC Workers Say County Can Afford More

When the recession hit San Juan County the development and construction in the county decreased, and so did fees and taxes used to fuel the programs and services the County provided beyond what was, and is, legally required.

In 2012 County workers were asked to switch to new high-deductible health insurance program that would result in substantial financial savings for the County.

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$500,000 Energy Grant For Town of FH

The Town of Friday Harbor has received a grant of $500,000 from the State Department of Commerce for Energy
Efficiency Projects on Town owned real properties.

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Monday Meeting On Open Public Meetings

ig_Dennis_Reynolds-1 (29k image)Monday, December 15, 6:00 PM at the Mullis Community Center, attorney Dennis Reynolds (photo left) will explain the issues and the next steps as the CAPR ( The Citizens Alliance For Property Rights case on open meetings moves through the court system.

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MJ Grow Building Permit Revoked

ig_Phil_A_Olbrechts-01 (7k image) [Updated 10:30 am, 12-12-14]
Phil Olbrechts, (photo left) Hearing Examiner for San Juan County, read the law to the Sweetwater marijuana grow operation by sustaining “two consolidated appeals of a Determination of Nonsignificance (“DNS”) issued under the State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) for a building permit for a marijuana production facility on San Juan Island."

As a result “the DNS is remanded for a new SEPA threshold determination; and the building permit is revoked pending completion of SEPA review.”

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SJ Singers Present “The Heart of Christmas”

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Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. the San Juan Singers community chorus, with special guest, women's a cappella ensemble Sound Vibrations, . will feature some of their jazz settings of Christmas tunes.

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New Bulkhead For Spring Street Landing

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(Owner Mike Carlson at Spring Street Project, & yes the bucket is that large, Mike is resting his hand on it -IG photo)

Work has begun on the rebuilding of the bulkhead at the end of Spring Street -the site of the fire that destroyed the Downriggers Building. Local excavating contractor Mike Carlson, owner of Carlson Enterprises, submitted the winning bid at $1,673,069 dollars.

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SJI Rec Volunteer Basketball Coaches & Referees Needed

ig_IR_Basketball-Girls-HaleyMcCutcheon_OliviaGermain_MazieRoseHill_EllaMason_RayleeMinikin_Austyn_Gunwall_CoachBryanGermain (55k image)
(L to R: Haley McCutcheon, Olivia Germain, Mazie Rose Hill, Ella Mason, Raylee Minikin, Austyn Gunwall & Coach Bryan Germain -IR photo)

Island Rec is in need of volunteer coaches & referees, for the 2015 Girl’s Basketball season. This league is recreational and focused on building skills and having fun.

The commitment is 8 weeks for coaches and 5 weeks for Referees running January 12 - March 1.

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B.C. Aboriginals Lay Claim To The SJ Islands & Part Of Vancouver Island, & Stanley Park


Hwlitsum First Nation in British Columbia have filed a lawsuit related to a claim of land, including the San Juan Islands, southern Vancouver islands, and Stanley park in Vancouver.

The Hwitsum is a small group of aboriginals, around 200 or so, who filed the suit in a B.C. Supreme Court against the provincial and federal governments. They are asking for $1 billion each in damages.

The suit is possible only because the Hwitsum were successful in a prior suit in 2000 that lasted for 15 years as they battled for full recognition of full Indian status as a First nation. Read the full report in Global News

County Employees Reject New Union Contract Proposal

This past weekend, County employees represented by AFSCME, Local 1849, AFL-CIO, voted to reject a tentative agreement with San Juan County on a new 3- year contract. The current contract expires December 31, 2014.

Representatives from AFSCME and County management had been in negotiations on contract terms since August, assisted by a facilitator from the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission.

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MJ Public Meetings Set For Jan


The San Juan County Council will hold two public meetings in the new year - January 12th and 26th in the Council Chambers starting at 9:15 am, to solicit public comment regarding the merits of possible regulation of state approved marijuana businesses in San Juan County.

Although the topic of regulation has been discussed at several council meeting this year, the Council has taken no legislative action to adopt regulations or enact a moratorium. The Council looks forward to hearing from those interested in this issue.

Its Christmas & I Need A Home

ig_SO_PetWeek-Radar-003 (75k image)
Some heartfelt comments from Radar the dog:
"I know what you’re thinking. What’s a fine dog like me doing in an animal shelter Christmas week, right? Well, to be honest with you, I’m wondering the same thing! My name is Radar, and I’m turning one this month. Yep. Spending my first birthday in The Big House, but hopefully out of here by Christmas.

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

Oil Transportation Study

The Washington Department of Ecology delivered a comprehensive report to state legislators outlining key recommendations to improve public safety in response to the rapid increase of oil transportation by rail through Washington state.

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

Free FH QuickBooks Workshop

The SJC EDC (Economic Development Council), in partnership with Islanders Bank and Lake Kennedy McCulloch, CPAs, will present a free workshop Wednesday, Jan 7, 9-10:30 a.m. at the SJI Library on QuickBooks tips.

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

New Ferry Funding Fee

Beginning January 1, 2015, new service fees will be used to replace the state’s Evergreen State Class ferries. Vehicle transactions subject to a $5 licensing service fee on vehicle registration renewals and a $12 service fee on title transfers.

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

-- Guest Column --

OPALCO Revisions To By-Laws

Alex MacLeod

The OPALCO board meets Thursday morning in Friday Harbor (8:30 at the FHA office). Among other things, it is scheduled to vote on “revisions” to the cooperative’s By-Laws. One of the changes would bar from board membership anyone “employed by the cooperative in the last 5 years...”

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

Make Your Reservation Now

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"Omnium Gatherum" ("a gathering of all") is playing every night for just one full week from Dec 18 through Christmas Eve at the Roche Harbor Pavilion - Come and celebrate the spirit of the season through storytelling, theatre and song.

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

Interested In Historic Preservation?

The Town of Friday Harbor is looking for two people to fill immediate vacancies on the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).

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

Clean Audit For FH

The Washington State Auditor’s office has completed the 2013 review of Friday Harbor’s financial records and has given the Town a clean audit report for the the 14th consecutive year.

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

SJC Bar Association Annual Meeting Election & Awards

The 43-member San Juan County Bar Association held its annual general meeting last week and held elections and recognized member's contributions.

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

Navy Flight Schedule Dec 14th to 20th

What’s that rumbling in the sky? Aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island; and Field Carrier Landing Practice (FLCP) operations are scheduled to occur at the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, Wash., during the late afternoon of Dec. 16 and morning of Dec. 18, 2014.

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

James L. Meredith

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June 25th 1924 ~ December 7, 2014

James L. Meredith was born in Lindsay California June 25th 1924. He came to San Juan Island first in the early 1950s with his wife Susan Meredith and other friends to enjoy camping and kayaking in the beautiful area around Roche Harbor.

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

What’s Allowed In Eastsound?

A draft copy (#3) (.pdf 981\k file) of the proposed changes Allowed and Prohibited Land Uses is ready for a review, and may be contrasted with the “Allowed And Prohibited Uses In The Current Eastsound Subarea Plan” (.pdf 592\k file). Those with questions or concerns should contact Colin Maycock at 370-7573 or email

Fresh-Food Christmas Boxes

The Deacons at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church are once again preparing to hand out their fresh-food Christmas boxes to those in need.

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

SJC 4-H Orcas Science Fair

Attend the San Juan County 4-H Youth Science Day @ Camp Orkila, Orcas Island.
Join us for the 2014 4-H National Science Experiment: Rockets to the Rescue., Saturday, January 10, 2015

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

New Energy Star Tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is launching its Energy Star Home Advisor, an online tool designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized and prioritized home-improvement projects.

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

Class Action Suit Against Realtors On Jet Noise

A class action law suit has been filed against realtors to recover lost property value for home owners under EA-18 Growler flight paths surrounding the Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island.

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

Town Council Forms Arts Commission

The Town Council expressed their commitment to promoting and fostering visual, performing, and literary arts in the community with last week’s creation of a Friday Harbor Arts Commission.

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

"Encounters From A Kayak" (16k image)
( photo)

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 7:00pm, to kick-off Lopez Library's "Winter Wanderlust Series," Lopez Library Welcomes Author and World Kayaker Nigel Foster's ""Encounters from a Kayak"

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

SJI Historical Museum Christmas Celebration

Start your holiday season off right by attending a time-honored island tradition at the San Juan Historical Museum Annual Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration, Thursday, (12-04-14, 5 - 8 pm).

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

Navy Public Meeting On Lopez

The Navy will hold a public meeting Wednesday (12-03-14, 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., Lopez Island Center for Community and Arts) to listen to citizens’ comments about EA-18G Growler operations at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI).

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

Council Meeting On Lopez

The County Council will hold their normal Tuesday Council meeting on Lopez (12-02-14, 10:15 am) at the Lopez Center. The council will -included on the agenda- hold a discussion on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) re: Naval Air Station The full agenda can be accessed by clicking HERE

SJC Seeks Contractors

On San Juan County's behalf, Wardell Architects is calling for bids to construct an approximately 1,846 SF office and 420 SF storage shed addition at the Main Building located on the SJC Fairgrounds.

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

Ferry Alert Bulletin

Plan ahead for heavy ferry traffic Thanksgiving weekend, with the longest lines expected eastbound Friday morning, Nov. 28. WSF offers a free travel alert subscription service via email or text message. Travel Alerts help you stay informed of conditions on your route so you can plan ahead.

CC Chair Receives Leadership Award

ig_Rick-Hughes-04 (26k image)
(Contributed photo)

San Juan County Council Chairman Rick Hughes recieved the prestiguous Leadership Award from the Washington State Association of Counties at its recent annual meeting. Chairman Hughes was recognized for his "extraordinary effort in establishing new collaborative partnerships" with other counties in 2014.

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

Council Looking At Un-Permitted Building Permits

Council to hold a Public hearing Dec 9th on a proposed Ordinance Regarding After-the-Fact Building Permit Applications; Waiving of After-the-Fact Building Permit Fees; and Suspension of Code Enforcement Activities Related to Previously Established Un-Permitted Work that required building permits at time of construction.

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

Tucker Ave Next On Town Improvement List

The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) announced their annual grant awards today and the Town of Friday Harbor will be the recipient of $800,000 for the reconstruction of the first phase of Tucker Avenue.

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

Nick Power
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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