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Wednesday, February 28th

Rotary Annual Spelling Bee Thursday

ig_SO_RotarySpellingBee-003 (112k image)
(File photo of previous contest)

The San Juan Island Rotary Club will hold its 12th annual Spelling Bee on Thursday (03-01-18) at 3:00 PM in the San Juan Community Theater.

Students from Friday Harbor Elementary School, Friday Harbor Middle School, and Paideia Classical School will participate in a last person standing of spelling ability.

The contest is open to 4th through 8th graders. First place winner receives a trophy and check for for $10, and $200 will be awarded to winner’s class and $300 to their school. Second place winner will receive a trophy and a check for $75. Their class will receive $150 and school $200. All students will receive a medal in appreciation for their participation.

Tuesday, February 27th

FH Animal Protection Society Fundraiser Success

ig_APS_FundRaiser_CAKE-001 (100k image)

The Friday Harbor Animal Protection Society held their annual “Spaygetti Dinner” fund raiser Tuesday at The Mullis Center, and there was a packed house of supporters dinning, drinking and out bidding each other for donated items. One donated item really stood out, a cake by Cakes by Felicitations in Friday Harbor of ‘Lady and the Tramp”, with Tramp sucking in a piece of “Spaygett” while Lady watched (photo above). The winning bid, $450.00 won the cake (How does one eat a piece of art?) as a donation to help support the animal shelter’s Sray/Neuter fund.

Monday, February 26th

Hospital Board Catches Up On Open Government & Governance/Management

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(Attorney Richard A. Davis III presents to SJIH Commissioners & staff -IG photo -IG photo)

The Hospital Board held a Special Meeting on Monday to receive an update on the OMPA (Open Public Meetings Act), and one assumes the board, and perhaps legal counsel, may have decided the timing was appropriate, given that the Board had recently appointed a new board member after two of the members discussing one of the candidates qualifications by phone, i.e. they took action without a quorum and not in a public meeting. Related Story.

UPDATED & CORRECTION: The original story stated that the attorney said that action negated the appointment, but in fact he did not say that, he only noted what the law states, to wit: If a complaint were to be filed, and if it was proven and found that anyone committed a violation of the OPMA, including the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine, then any “action taken at a meeting which fails to comply with the provisions of the OPMA is null and void. RCW 42.30.060.” We regret, and apologize, for our error.


Saturday, February 24th

Tucker Ave Project Begins

Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians who use Tucker Avenue will enjoy a safer and better quality roadway by late-summer.

The Town of Friday Harbor has contracted with Strider Construction to reconstruct this portion of Tucker Avenue (Phase Two). The Contractor is scheduled to begin this project on Monday, February 26th.

Searching Out The Outage Problem

ig_OPALCO_Fault_Checking-001 (163k image)(OPALCO Crews check connectors for breaks -IG photo)

No fun for anyone when the power goes out, and especially for the crews and staff that, regardless of the time of day or if it is rain, shine, snow or blowing wind, they find and fix the problem, and on Friday a part of San Juan Island suddenly lost power. The crews piled into their trucks and started looking for the problem, and quickly believed it be a failed connection in one of the transformer boxes; but which one?. So… working their way from one to another they isolated the problem and solved the problem.


Thursday, February 22nd

Take Back Your Meds Program

Wondering how to safely dispose of expired and unused medications? Take the medications to one for the five permanent Drop Off Bins located throughout the County for free disposal. The Drop Off bins are located at:

San Juan Island Sheriff’s Office (Available 24/7)
Lopez Island Sheriff’s Substation
Orcas Island Sheriff’s Substation
Ray’s Pharmacy on Orcas Island
Friday Harbor Drug

Wednesday, February 21st

County Looking At Building Affordable Housing -& A New County "Civic Campus"

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(County land considered for “Civic Campus” )

The County was recent presented a report that included a recommendation to fund affordable housing with a new real estate tax (related story), and to move forward with a public hearing on the proposal.

The Council has also announced that after years of looking towards building a “Civic Campus” construed on county property “to bring specific departments together in an effort to increase efficiencies, reduce operating costs, and provide better service to County residents,” they are now ready to start the planning and feasibility studies.

Tuesday, February 20th

Update By The Community Long-Term Care Options Task Force

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(Friday Harbor Life Care Building)

To address the crisis created by the closure of the Life Care Center of the San Juan Islands, the Community Long-Term Options Task Force, an ad hoc group of individuals with expertise in healthcare and the community, has been meeting over the last five months to discuss options.

One of our guiding goals in this process has been to clearly define our community needs and formulate conceptual solutions for not only today but for the future as well.

We have looked for the best options for San Juan County on the issues of Skilled Nursing, Long-term Affordable Senior Housing, Home Care, Home Health, Workforce Development, and related support systems.


Monday, February 19th

Speaker: "The Rights of Nature & Community"

ig_Kai_Huschke_youtube-001 (38k image)( Screen grab photo)
Can the democratic rights of communities and the rights of nature survive the exploitation of corporate interests? This essential question, and the answer, “Yes!” is said to be at the heart of the film, “WE the People 2.0” which will be showing at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 22nd at Brickworks in Friday Harbor. and again on Orcas Island: 5:30-7:30 Feb 23 at Emmanuel Parish; and is also offering a legal workshop with Kai Huschke from The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) on Saturday Feb 24 from 10-12 at the Lopez Library. Kai will present various legal issues related to developing community bills of rights and answer questions.

Tucker Detours In FH Starts on 26th

The Town of Friday Harbor has sent out the following construction Update on "What to expect for the week(s) of February 26th through March 12th on Phase 2 of the Tucker Avenue Reconstruction Project:
The Town of Friday Harbor truly appreciates everyone’s patience while we work through this project. A project manager/inspector will be available to any address concerns. Do not hesitate to contact the Project Inspector, Frank Baublits, at or (360) 461-2338. You may also contact Town Hall at (360) 378-2810 with questions or comments. Construction updates will be posted as often as possible.

Project task(s):

Thursday, February 15th

OPALCO Elections Time

Board Nominations by Petition are open until February 23 Two candidates have been selected by the Elections and Governance Committee, Jeffery Struthers and Richard Christmas.

There is still time for members to declare their candidacy for the board election. Nominations by petition are due by 12 pm (PST) on February 23rd. Co-op members from District 2 may submit their candidacy by 1) collecting no fewer than 20 names and signatures of OPALCO members who live in their district on a petition; and 2) completing the nominations app at


Wednesday, February 14th

New Sidewalks & A Roundabout For FH

ig_TFH_TurnAround-smal-001 (88k image)
(Draft rendering of Roundabout)

Friday Harbor Town Administrator Duncan Wilson was an invited guest speaker Wednesday at the Rotary Club, and gave a general update on upcoming projects. The highlight was the announcement that, after many years of study and discussion, an at grade roundabout, and new and extended crosswalks will be placed at the intersection of Spring Street and Argyle Avenue.


Jensen Youth Scholarship Applications Are Due By March 9

ig_OPALCO_Scholarship-JoMietzner-HaleyMoss.01 (168k image)
(Team building exercise -contributed photo)

OPALCO’s Nourdine Jensen Cooperative Youth Scholarship Program is accepting applications from high school sophomores and juniors of OPALCO member households. Up to five scholars will receive a $1,000 scholarship from OPALCO and the family of Nourdine Jensen, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to the Youth Rally, a co-op leadership camp, at the College of Idaho.


Tuesday, February 13th

Imogen Cunningham: Through My Lens

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(Self portrait: Imogen -contributed photo)

Friday Harbor, WA: The San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) will open an exhibition by world renown Pacific Northwest photographer Imogen Cunningham, courtesy of the Imogen Cunningham Trust and its director, San Juan Islands resident Meg Partridge, Cunningham’s grand daughter and an award winning documentary film maker.
Imogen Cunningham: Through My Lens will be on view from February 17 to May 7, 2018.

Monday, February 12th

Open Meetings Act Not Violated By Hospital Commissioners Edwards & Schwinge

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(SJCHB prior to appointment of new board member -IG photo)

At the last SJC Public Hospital District #1 Commissioners special meeting the commissioners were accused of violating the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) when two of the five member board commissioners (with two vacant chairs) had discussed district business by phone, including candidates, two of whom would be appointed by the commission to fill out the board. After the meeting Commission chair Michael Edwards told The Island Guardian that “the board will ask for a review of the actions by the appropriate parties to determine if they violated any procedures rules.”

Pamela Hutchins, Superintendent of the district reported on Monday (02-12-18) that “any two commissioners on our five-person board may discuss public business as they wish without violating the OPMA. This has been confirmed by the district’s legal counsel and by the attorneys at Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC), the authoritative source for these sorts of issues.”


Sunday, February 11th

Public Comment Hearing On Comprehensive Plan Vision

At the February 16, 2018, Planning Commission meeting in the County Council hearing room, will take public comment and discuss proposed amendments to the SJC Comprehensive Plan Vision.

Proposed amendments were first discussed at the January 19, 2018 work session. At that work session, Community Development staff presented a summary of public input regarding the vision and obtained the Planning Commission’s guidance for drafting preliminary amendments.


Saturday, February 10th

Orca Drone Protection Bill Passes House

ig_Orca-Drones_aeromotus_com-001 (104k image)
( photo)

For thousands of Washingtonians with a new drone to try out, the ability to get some up close and personal footage of orca whales is tempting. But, under a bill sponsored by Representatives Lytton, Morris, Tarleton, Fitzgibbon, Springer, Gregerson, & Hudgins
passed out of the House this week, flying too close to orca whales could result in a fine.


Thursday, February 8th

Appleton & Smith Appointed To SJC Public Hospital Board -& Some Controversy

ig_SJHD_Dr_Warren_Appleton-Rebecca_Smith_2018-001 (102k image)
(L to R: Dr. Warren Appleton & Rebecca Smith -IG photo)

The San Juan County Public Hospital Board of Commissioners held a special meeting and work session Thursday night to complete interviews and then vote to appoint two of seven applicants to fill Position 5 and 3 of the commission -and of course that lead to controversy.

There were seven applicants: Dr. Warren Appleton; Dr. David Balmer; John Manning; David Meiland; Barbara Sharp; C. Mitchell Shlosser, and Rebecca Smith. Keri Talbott had put her name forward, but then withdrew.

Wednesday, February 7th

Land Bank Expands “Mt. Grant” Land Area

ig_MountGrantAcquisitions-001 (98k image)
(Land Bank map)

On the heels of the Zylstra Lake property acquisition, the San Juan County Land Bank was able to secure and additional 60+ acres adjacent to Mount Grant Preserve.
“Mount Grant is one of the most fascinating projects I have worked on since becoming a land bank commissioner,” said commissioner Amanda Azous.

Tuesday, February 6th

SJI Schools Big Winners in Knowledge Bowl

check (144k image)

The 24th annual Knowledge Bowl was held Monday, (02-05-2018) at the San Juan Community Theatre. Sponsored by the San Juan Public Schools Foundation, the family fun began with the Friday Harbor High School Jazz Band, and the battle of knowledge began as moderator Brent Snow read the questions for the team members to try and come up with the correct answers -it ended with the Soroptimist Club just bumping out the rest of the participants, and the evening concluded with the presentation of a check from the sponsoring foundation for $127,4040.00 to the SJI School District.

Monday, February 5th

San Juan School Superintendent Looking For New Job In Ellensburg

ig_Danna_Diaz-001 (3k image)(file photo)
As seems to be the norm, San Juan Island School District Superintendent Danna Diaz has decided after three years it is time to move on; and it may be to the Ellensburg school district, a larger school district -and presumably a larger contract-with an enrollment of just over three thousand students.


Sunday, February 4th

Cooke Aquaculture Lease Revoked

ig_Salmon_PenEscape_a.breckenridge-001 (95k image)
( A. Breckenridge screen capture file photo)

Hilary Franz, Commissioner of Public Lands, announced the termination of Cooke Aquaculture’s lease for its Cypress Island facility. Cooke Aquaculture (Cooke) raises Atlantic salmon at the site and leases the aquatic lands from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

On Tuesday, state investigators released their finding that Cooke’s failure to properly clean and maintain its facility was the primary cause of the August 19 net pen collapse at Cypress Island.

Thursday, February 1st

Big Bucks Awarded To SJC Projects

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board this week announced the award of State Awards $3,768,745.00 in Grants for SJC Outdoor Recreation/Conservation Projects that build and maintain outdoor recreation facilities and conserve wildlife habitat.

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