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Wednesday, February 29th

Shoreline Characterization & Inventory Causes Waves At Hearing

ig_Richard_Fralick-8 (46k image)

Representatives of the SMP Consultants, (the Watershed Company and Herrera Inc.) surprised the County Council and planning commission members on Monday when they said they did not need or want information from property owners about the existing conditions of their land. However the Council voted to extend the public comment period to the SJC Shoreline Inventory Characterization Report (pdf 6888\k file) to April 30th

Tuesday, February 28th

Garbage & Recycling Service Levels

The SJ County Council held a Solid Waste Discussion Tue (02-28-12) Agenda to review what services are to be provided(Discussion Request For Proposals.pdf 125\k file) for the Orcas Transfer Station; and a discussion on possible code changes (pdf 446\k file) affecting county wide Levels of Service for providing garbage & recycling service.

Art & Good Mental Health

The arts offer community participation, but they also give our lives meaning, provide opportunities for self expression and offer a way of viewing the world from a different perspective - enriching both individuals and society and reaching people who may be stressed and/or often not otherwise easily engaged with their community.

Monday, February 27th

Vote Tues In SJC Conservation Dist Election

The election of the San Juan Islands Conservation District will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2012.

All San Juan County registered voters are eligible to vote in this election. One supervisor will be elected by registered voters and one supervisor will be appointed by the Washington State Conservation Commission for a 3-year term on the governing board of the San Juan Islands Conservation District.

Sunday, February 26th

-- Guest Column --

"The Charter Has Been Hijacked"

ig_Charlie_Bodenstab-1 (40k image)by Charlie Bodenstab

When the charter was written we freeholders were careful to include a provision for reviewing it in five years. We specified a “Charter Review Commission” to perform this task in order to make the adjustments that would inevitably be needed for something so new.

Friday, February 24th

George Johnson Walks With $105K, Lawyer Gets $145K

(02-24-12; 3:45 pm) Former County IS (Information Services) Manager George Johnson and the Washington Counties Risk Pool have reached settlement terms on Johnson’s lawsuit alleging that his August 23 dismissal from the County was retaliatory. Johnson receives $105,000 and his attorney, Jack Sheridan of Seattle receives $145,000 in legal fees.

Johnson had aimed high when he filed his suit, asking for a cool million, and the County had vowed to fight. The case took an odd turn after The Island Guardian asked to see the material that Johnson had requested from the County (Past Story), and Johnson filed another law suit to keep the material from the Guardian. Johnson lost in Superior Court, filed in the Court of Appeal, lost there, and then went to the Washington Supreme Court, and lost there.

Moving Van Flips, Blocks Orcas Road

ig_S_Orcas_Truck-001 (44k image) ig_S_Orcas_Truck-002 (48k image)
(photos by Teri Williams)

County Public Works Operations Manager Russ Harvey said The section of Orcas Road between Nordstrom Lane and Crow Valley Road was closed for more than two hours today after a moving van ran out of control, rolled onto its side, split open and spilled much of its cargo onto the pavement. The truck had to be unloaded before it could be moved. Shortly before noon, Harvey reported that road clean-up was complete. No one was seriously injured in the accident.


Land Bank Purchases Conservation Easement On Lopez

The San Juan County Land Bank has purchased a conservation easement over a 100-acre property owned by Gary and M.R. Buffum.

The property lies between Fisherman Bay and Dill Roads at the entrance to Lopez’s Center Valley. The transaction was made in partnership with the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office.

Thursday, February 23rd

Tracking A Tagged Orca

ig_Orca_NWFSC-OrcaTagMap-001 (67k image)
(Screen capture of NOAA map -see link below)

On Feb. 20, the research team from NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) deployed a satellite tag on an adult male Southern Resident killer whale, J26, as part of a killer whale research cruise.

The research team is still at sea. As conditions allow, team members will continue tracking J pod to learn more about the whale's movement patterns, habitat use and feeding behavior.


Wednesday, February 22nd

Hit & Run Driver Surrenders To Sheriff

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at about 11:00 p.m. Gary Shawn MOBLEY, 42, of Eastsound surrendered to sheriff’s deputies on Orcas Island. Mobley had been the subject of an extensive search on Orcas after an early morning injury hit and run crash last Thursday (Related Story ).


Spirits On The Water: A Celebration Though Slides & Stories

Join sailor, photographer and storyteller Peter Fromm for a celebration (Wed, 29 Feb at 7:00 PM at the Orcas Senior Center) - through slides and stories- of wooden boats and the people who love them. Peter is a third-generation photographer who has been taking pictures for more than 50 years.

Recognition For SJ Preservaton Trust

ig_SJPT_LTAC_seal_green-01 (27k image)(LOPEZ ISLAND, WA) - The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, announced this week that the San Juan Preservation Trust has been awarded national accredited status.

With this news, the Preservation Trust joins a prestigious group of 157 other land trusts (out of 1,700 nationally) that have achieved this distinction since this new accreditation program was launched in the fall of 2008.

Tuesday, February 21st

Private School Month

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Students at Stillpoint School on San Juan Island celebrating the Governor's proclamation of February as Private School Month.

B.C. & Wa Partner On Jobs, Border Management

OLYMPIA - Gov. Chris Gregoire was joined last week by British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to announce Washington state and British Columbia concluded a series of agreements to strengthen their cross-border partnerships, attract investment and create new jobs.

Sunday, February 19th

Real Estate Sales Slump = Less $ For County

IG-Merri_Ann_Simonson-3 (31k image)By Merri Ann Simonson

In reviewing the year-end results, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market on San Juan Island was $60,116,241, which is 5% less active when compared to the $63,349,657 sales volume in 2010.

Saturday, February 18th

“San Juan Eagles” Honored

alt="ig_SJE_2012_Honored-001 (57k image)" height="253" width="375" />
(front to back , left to back; Vicky Thalacker holding Proclamation, Teresa De Graaf, Jim Cox, 2nd row Dick Babbit, Mike Taylor, John Geyman, Lanny Carver top Art Miller -photo Theresa Simendinger)

Ten years ago the Eagles started flying on their own time and dime to help cancer patients living on San Juan Island. Founder Vicky Thalacker still coordinates the flights which fly patients and their caregivers to various Medical Centers.

Friday, February 17th

Orcas Rollover Traps One Driver -Other Driver Leaves Scene

(PRESS RELEASE) ~Thursday, February 15, 2012 at about 6:30 a.m. San Juan 9-1-1 received a report of a 2 vehicle rollover collision at the intersection of Orcas Rd and Crow Valley on Orcas Island.

Thursday, February 16th

Cantwell & Secretary Salazar Host Town Hall -Saturday In Anacortes- on Future of SJ Islands’ Federal Land

~ Cantwell is sponsor of a bill to turn cherished federally-owned lands in the San Juan Islands into National Conservation Area ~

[02-15-12 ] ANACORTES, WA - On Saturday, Feb. 18, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will host a town hall meeting in Anacortes to hear about the ongoing progress to conserve and protect federal land [related story -Ed ] in the San Juan Islands.


Public Hearing On Wetland Ordinance

The San Juan County Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on an ordinance amending the Wetland Critical Area provisions of the San Juan County Code. These amendments are proposed to fulfill the periodic update requirements of RCW 36.70A.130. (See related story ). For Wetland Critical Areas, the proposed ordinance does the following:


L112 Found Dead At Long Beach

ig_CFOR_Orca_L112_001 (55k image)
( L112 was a new calf in 2009, here traveling with adult female L86 (CWR 2009 photo by Ken Balcomb)

On Feb. 11, 2012, a stranded killer whale, a member of the Southern Resident pod, washed up just north of Long Beach, Wash. Photographs of the dorsal fin and saddle patch were matched to catalogs of known killer whales by biologists from NOAA Fisheries and the Center for Whale Research. The whale has been identified as a member of the Southern Resident L Pod known as L112, a female calf of L86. A full necropsy was conducted on Feb. 12.

Senate Passes Teacher Evaluation Bill

OLYMPIA - On Wednesday (02-14-12) The Senate passed a bipartisan measure, Senate Bill 5895, which fills in details of an existing state mandate to move to a four-tier teacher evaluation system by 2015-16, after eight pilot programs finish testing best practices. One such pilot school is located in Anacortes.

Wednesday, February 15th

Draft Wetland Section Of CAO Available

After months of discussion with technical experts, as of February 15th a "revised" draft of the wetland amendments to the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) is now available for public review and comment.

The planning department had been instructed by the San Juan County Council to draft a “site specific” buffer approach to protecting wetlands. Planning Coordinator Shireene Hale is quoted as stating it was a “monumental task.”

Tuesday, February 14th

All School Bonds & Levies Pass

Lopez Island School District #144 Proposition No. 1 General Obligation Bonds - $1,000,000
Approved 74.22%
Rejected 25.78%
Total Votes 834

Orcas Island School District #137 Proposition No. 1 Replacement Educational Maintenance and Operations Levy
Yes 64.67%
No 35.33%
Total Votes 1,855

San Juan Island School District #149 Proposition No. 1 Capital Levy for School Facilities & Technology
Yes 67.03%
No 3 2.97%
Total Votes 2,686


One More Boat Removed

ig_DV_unknown-01 (61k image)

The latest victim being readied for hauling away.  The boat started taking on water as Towline was cleaning up the diesel and they called in a larger boat from Port Townsend to put on flotation bags and tow it away for disposal.  IOSA put the boom around it as insurance but no diesel was spilled.

See related story below

Monday, February 13th

Derelict Vessel Program Still Afloat

ig_DV_The_Bear-01 (67k image)
(Contributed photo)

Derelict vessels are more than an eyesore in San Juan County: they are a risk to the environment, public health and navigation. So when San Juan County gave up its Derelict Vessel program in 2009 because of lack of funding, it was a disappointment to a lot of people. But some local advocates never gave up.

-- Guest Column --

ig_Alex_MacLeod-2 (30k image)By Alex MacLeod

Anyone who has watched the six-member County Council since its creation in 2006 has probably been struck by how inept it has been in its leadership of the county. While the charter’s creation of a professional administrator has, at least in theory, been an improvement in the county’s ability to manage its day-to-day responsibilities, the expansion of the Council has undone any improvements voters expected in approving the Charter.

SJI Knowledge Bowl Winners

ig_KB_2012_Check (40k image)

Do you know the answer: “What City and State is famous for hosting the largest Groundhog Day celebration”? That was the final question -and it had to be spelled correctly too- at the 18th annual Knowledge Bowl held Thursday (02-02-12), at the SJI Community Theatre. the Spelling counts.

Saturday, February 11th

A Broken Consort Sunday

No, an important person has not been injured. Saint David’s Episcopal Church and Salish Sea Early Music Festival will present a concert of chamber music on period instruments Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 7 pm. The program is called a “broken consort” because...

Wednesday, February 8th

Sunday: Learn About Pruning Older Fruit Trees

ig_SF_tree-1 (46k image)A great opportunity Saturday (02-11-12) is available for anyone interested in learning a bit about pruning older fruit trees! The apple and pear trees located the garden site on Blair St. across from the High School and Middle School will be pruned by the wonderful Keith Keyser this Saturday, and again on Sunday at 10 am.

Canadian Navy Pings In US Waters

ig_boat_HMCS_Ottawa-1 (40k image)By Michael Jasny

On Monday morning, a Canadian Navy frigate ran a sonar exercise in the waters of Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington. Incredibly, a good portion of that exercise took place on the U.S. side of the border - in waters we have designated as critical habitat for killer whales under the Endangered Species Act.

What Is A Wetland? Not Just Wet Land

Dalton_wet_land-01 (55k image)
(YouTube screen capture photo)

Orcas Islander Charles Dalton made, as he stated in a YouTube report, “I made a mistake” by building farm buildings without a permit, and, according to the report, the Friends of The San Juans, turned him in to the SJC Building department.

SJI Firefighters Honored For Service

ig_SJFD_Awards_2011-001 (64k image)
(L to R: Michael Hartzell, Harry See, Ian Paterson, Jeremiah Lord, Lunnette Higdon-Hertel, Jerry Henderson, and Rebecca and Francis Smith.-Ron Garner photo)

Jerry Henderson and Robert Pauls received San Juan Island Fire Department’s highest awards Saturday night when the department celebrated the 2011 contributions of its members at the University of Washington dining hall.

Tuesday, February 7th

Party For Elmo And Friends Saturday

ig_Puppy_Elmo-1 (37k image)By Dennis Hazelton

In dog years he may be only fifteen, but in human years his age ranges from 73 to 105 depending upon which opinion we read.

He’s almost entirely deaf & has noticeable cataracts. There are bumps on his body which aren’t dangerous & his right rear leg sometimes slips out from under him a little. But those aren’t the important things.


United Way Awards $78,000 to SJC Non-Profits

United Way of San Juan County has awarded more than $78,000 to 16 non-profits in the county. The grants range from $560 to $17,400 to support 24 programs on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan islands. Grantees include programs for pre-school and elementary school children, senior assistance, hospice, prevention programs, family support, and others.

Sunday, February 5th

In Support Of Due Process

By Mike Maharrey

With the introduction of the Washington State Preservation of Liberty Act, Evergreen State legislators have the opportunity to exercise their right and duty, and interpose on behalf of their citizens to halt a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of federal power.

Saturday, February 4th

Town & County Councils Want Action On Ferry Funding

Following the recent release of another 100 page study on ferry fares and funding (related story), the Town of Friday Harbor and the County council sent off a strongly worded letter to the Governor and members of the Legislature asking for direct action to solve the problem of funding for the ferry system.

Friday, February 3rd

Meeting On Dead Trees In Moran Park

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public meeting Feb. 15, to discuss forest-health issues at Moran State Park, and seek public comment on proposed treatments to deal with tree diseases in specific areas of the park.

Continuing Bad News On Ferry Funding

Full impact of revenue shortfall on ferries and highways means one or the other may suffer more.

Revenue is approximately $3 billion short to support current service and performance levels for the state’s ferry and highway systems over the next 10 years.

Thursday, February 2nd

Potentially Explosive Material Detonated

ig_S_BombSquadTruck-1 (58k image)
(Sheriff's office photo)

(PRESS RELEASE) ~ On Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at about 8:30 p.m. Orcas Fire and Rescue along with sheriff’s deputies responded to an Eastsound residence regarding a potentially explosive substance. The substance was an old household chemical compound from the 1930s that had become crystallized, leaving it unstable and potentially explosive.


Senate Passes Gay & Lesbian Marriage Equality Bill -Moves To House

The Associated Press has reported the Washington State Senate passed a bill Wednesday night that, if approved by the House next week, will make Washington the seventh state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued the following statement after the state Senate approved legislation to allow marriage equality in Washington state:

“The Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination. I believe that this decision should be made by our state Legislature, and I’m proud our elected leaders recognized that responsibility.


Wednesday, February 1st

CA Park Ranger Shoots Man With Shock Gun In Dogs Off Leash Incident

San Juan County Park Rangers can really get worked up about not having a dog on a leash - even to the point of placing their hand on their sidearm when confronting violators ( Related Story ). But so far no one has been shot.

Such is not the case in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where the San Francisco Chronicle and CBS reports, a man with two “lapdogs off leash was hit with an electric-shock gun by a National Park Service ranger.”

Relay For Life Kickoff Rally

On February 4, 2-5PM, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® of Friday Harbor will officially get underway as event volunteers and participants gather at the Mullis Center for a kickoff rally to launch their fundraising efforts and celebrate 8 years of Relay For Life in Friday Harbor.

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