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Wednesday, September 30th

Whalewatch Boat Takes On Some Water



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( Vessel Assist photo: Passengers ready to abandon if required )


Capt. Richard J. Rodriguez of Friday Harbor is in the business of vessel assist and training of future Captains, and on Tuesday (9-29-09) he once again (past story) came to the rescue of a boat in danger of sinking.

Rodriguez reported “At 13:00 a local wildlife boat issued a Mayday. She was taking on water faster than the bilge pump could keep up, with 28 people on board.”

[more..]


No Trips To Dump On Saturday



There are going to be some unhappy people this Saturday when they show up at the Orcas & San Juan transfer stations with a truck load of trash and recyclables, only to find the gate locked. Both the Orcas and San Juan transfer stations will be open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and on Sundays 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The budget cuts due to loss of revenue from the operation of the transfer stations are being blamed for the need to close the dumps on Saturday.The elimination of Saturday hours is expected to result in a savings of approximately $40,000 per year.

Even more impressive is the switching from customer-sorted recycling to the co-mingled recycling system On Lopez Island: it is projected this alone will save $45,000 per year.
[more..]


Tuesday, September 29th

Budget Discussions By CC Continue



After formulating a response to the No-Go-Zone (story above), the County Council will return to the 2010 budget discussions (see below for links). At 2:30 the Council will hear from Community Services, including the following departments:
* Community Development & Planning - John Manning, HCS Director
* Parks & Recreation, Dona Wuthnow, Parks Director
* WSU Extension, Noxious Weed - Tom Schultz, Extension Director
* Fair - Rev Shannon, Fair Director
* Land Bank - Lincoln Bormann, Land Bank Director

[more..]


Monday, September 28th

Public Meetings On Land Use This Week



San Juan Today & Tonight: The second of three public meetings on proposed changes to the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan will be held on Lopez. (see schedule below). The much debated Country Corner Local Area of More Intense Rural Development (LAMIRD) on Orcas is one of a number of proposals.

The other proposed changes that will be affected county wide include a proposed fair grounds overlay district; removal of the Wireless Communication Service Facilities Plan as a subarea plan (in conjunction with transfer of the regulations to the Development Code without substantive changes); amendment of Critical Area goals and policies; amendment of an urban growth area policy on accommodating 50% of new population growth within UGAs.
[more..]


Sunday, September 27th

The Superintendent’s Report



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((L-R): Carla MacDiarmid, Mike Erickson, Khris DayVincent, Becky Nash, Mary Elford -SJISD photo)


By Walt Wegener

As you all know, school is open! All our major maintenance projects are done, including the Elementary roof work and the High School field sprinkler system. The maintenance staff has done a fabulous job transforming the chaos of summer cleaning into the bright shine and preparations of new classrooms for our students.
[more..]


Saturday, September 26th

Patos Island Fire Department Update


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(L to R: Dave Mowrey, Maxx Jones, Jeff Jones, Dwight Gus, Seth Ybarra, Marie Gus, Lindsay Siler and Steven Siler -OFD photo)
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue members have been donating time to Patos Island under the guise of the informal Patos Island Fire Department since November 2005.

A few members pose with official Patos Island Sign, marking the working coalition between San Juan County, Washington State Parks and The Federal Bureau of Land Management.

The group has a membership of over 60 and has donated well over 1000 hours towards nature habitat restoration, trail/campsite maintenance, building maintenance and brush abatement. A few members recently spent 2 nights and several work hours on trails, campsite and island maintenance, and adding 7 new members as well.

[link]


Ranker Gives Testimony On Ocean Policy



OLYMPIA - Sen. Kevin Rankerwas also invited to testify at Obama’s west coast Ocean Policy Task Force meeting held last week in San Francisco.

On Thursday (9-24-09), at the invitation of the White House Council for Environmental Quality, Ranker testified at the U.S. Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force hearing at the White House Conference Center.

In his testimony Ranker, who is also a senior fellow at The Ocean Foundation, said the challenges faced during the Puget Sound recovery can transform into lessons for the rest of the country as national ocean policy moves forward. He also relayed unified comments from 178 legislators from 30 coastal states.

[more..]


Friday, September 25th

But SJC Has A Nuclear Ban …



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( Coast Guard takes part in an exercise -Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's photo)


$262 million dollars in 2006 doubled a previous budget item for domestic programs to safeguard against nuclear, biological, and chemical threats within the U.S.

Fast track to 2009, and evidence the program is still afloat showed up on local waters this month as an estimated 50 federal and state vessels participated in the West Coast Maritime Pilot exercise that involved law enforcement and first responder personnel conducting radiological screening of small vessels as part of a training drill.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory(PNNL) coordinated activities with the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, and many other state, local and tribal agencies for the two-day event. Team members used radiation detection equipment ranging from portable hand-held sensors to boat-mounted systems.
[more..]


Doggone Lot Of Fun


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(All sizes & all happy. -Island Rec photo)


Island Rec’s 2009 K-9 Carnival was a big success with over 300 people, and about 100 dogs in attendance. The dogs enjoyed a day of playing, greeting, sniffing, competing, eating and barking! It was the first time the event was held in September, but the weather was picture perfect for the event.

pie eating contest, dancing dog contest, agility demo and a few general participant pictures.

Dogs were entered into a “Strut Your Mutt” Parade, and competed in a variety of contests, such as “Pie Eating”, Best Costume, Dancing, Basic Obedience and more. There were many dog related vendors on hand to share information and services to keep dogs and their owners well educated and entertained.



[link]


Thursday, September 24th

Killer Whales Kill Harbor Porpoise Off SJI



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(Sea DocpPhoto by Robin Baird)


The Sea Doc Society reports researchers observing southern resident killer whales in Haro Strait noticed whales from J- and K-pods "interacting with a harbor porpoise."

The researchers reported one of the whales (J31) was seen on two occasions throwing a harbor porpoise into the air. The entire interaction lasted over 30 minutes.

[more..]


Distler Votes For Additional WSF Fares



a 10% summer surcharge on top of the existing "peak season" surcharge on San Juan routes has been nixed by the Washington State Transportation Commission. The surcharge had been proposed to be on top of the 7.5% proposed inter-island car/driver increase on the San Juan inter-island run.

San Juan County had high hopes for some influence on the ferry system when Orcas resident Bob Distler was appointed to the Commission, but Distler was one of two that voted against the motion to not impose the additional fee.

The proposal for the 2.5 percent increase, and the existing 25 percent peak-season surcharge for vehicles, imposed each year from May 1 to the second Sunday in October, also remains in effect. The rejected 10 percent surcharge would have been an additional charge. The approved increases, the first in two years, takes effect Oct. 11.
[more..]


Wednesday, September 23rd

PC Special Meeting On County Wide Barge Landings



While it may seem like all the news about new shoreline regulations have to do with protection, there are other concerns in the works that override such concerns: barge landings.

The SJC Planning Commission will hold a special meeting Wednesday to take public testimony, and may enter into deliberations on “proposed amendments to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan & Development Code Policies & Regulations for Shoreline Essential Public Facilities;” including, but limited to an “Update & clarification of associated terms, procedures and requirements.”

The hearing is the next step in a long journey by the County to change the land use classifications of eleven shoreline properties that the County, in general, and Public Works in particular, want to use as, among other things, barge landings. The blanket term at work here is “Essential Public Facilities.”

[more..]


Computer Model On 11 Swine Flu Deaths Is Worse Case Model



A computer model on a pandemic flu outbreak concluded a “swine flu” (Novel Influenza A H1N1) outbreak could cause 11 deaths in SJ County, but that does not mean it will happen.

Dr. Frank James, the San Juan County Health Officer, said “if the community takes the proper precautions, it may avoid such a tragic outcome.”

The County currently has a supply of anti-viral medications to treat people who do get sick; and additional shipments of a vaccine that will protect most people from the disease should be available for people in high risk groups by mid October.

[more..]


Monday, September 21st

Solid Leads On The Barefoot Burglar


An 18 year old career criminal, with a police record that started when he was 12 years old, is still at large after he escaped from a group home in Renton in April of 2007.

Sheriff's deputies in Island County are said to be convinced Harris-Moore was once again breaking into vacation homes on Camano Island. He was believed to have been spotted there in July, chased, but was able to avoid capture.

Sheriff’s deputies in San Juan County think he may be the man in the Island Market surveillance photo . There is a possibility, based on the similarities between years of break-ins in Island County, and the recent crimes on San Juan and on Orcas , that Island Counties gain may be San Juan Counties loss, if in fact Mr. Harris-Moore is responsible for the crimes here.

Sheriff Bill Cumming officially acknowledged that the suspect is Colton Harris-Moore, and they do in fact have biological evidence that may link him through DNA analysis to the local crimes. Cummings said there is also a possible link to the plane stolen in November of 2008, and flown to eastern Washington -this would be in addition to the plane stolen from Friday Harbor, and flown to Orcas.

The Island Guardian emailed information and photos to reporters in Point Roberts last week, and asked if there had been any recent events there that might indicate Harris-Moore was at work up there, or had anyone seem the person in the photos. "No" to photos, but yes to break-ins. So, where is he now? Still here, or up there; or have any cars, boats, or airplanes been stolen lately? An if so, where were they abandoned?

At least two things are different now from when he started breaking the law as a 12 year old. He is now legally an adult, and he may be armed. An Island County Deputy sheriff’s car was broken into, and a rifle was stolen.

The only good news in all this -if there is any- is that when Harris-Moore is captured, he will stand trial as an adult. He will be serving some hard time.

Here is Colton Harris-Moore’s rap sheet -so far anyway:

Oct. 8, 2003 (age 12): Third-degree possession of stolen property in Snohomish County. Sentenced to 11 days.
Nov. 27, 2003 (age 12): Second-degree burglary, third-degree malicious mischief in Snohomish County. Sentenced to 10 days detention.
Dec. 31, 2003 (age 12): Fourth-degree assault in Island County. Sentenced to six months community service a.
March 16, 2004 (age 12): Second-degree theft in Snohomish County. Sentenced to 10 days.
July 2004 (age 13): Third-degree theft and possession of stolen property. Island County.
Feb. 28, 2005 (age 13): Second-degree attempted burglary in Snohomish County.
March 2, 2005 (13): First- and second-degree theft; sentenced to 50 days in jail.

ig_Barefood_Burglar-3 (41k image)May 28, 2006 (age 15): First-degree theft and possessing stolen property Island County Arrest warrant issued for missed court date.
July 3, 2006 (15): Second-degree burglary; sentenced to 30 days in jail detention
Feb. 9, 2007 (age 15): Arrested at a Camano Island home.

June 14, 2007 (16): Three counts of first-degree residential burglary in Island County
June 2007, Harris-Moore was convicted of three counts of residential burglary and sentenced to at least three years in confinement. On April 30, he escaped from a group home in Renton. He's been on the run since



[link]


MRC Does Not Support No-Go-Zone


The Marine Resources Committee (MRC) will present a formal report and recommendation to the County Council on Tuesday (10:20 am) that calls for a one year delay in implementation by NOAA of a No-Go-Zone on the west side of San Juan Island.

The MRC suggests that a year delay would give time for the community of interest time to organize and “develop an integrated vessel plan for the San Juan Islands that protects the whales, is fair and workable, and achieves community support.”

The MRC report states their support for “increased regulatory and voluntary measures to improve protection and recovery of the southern resident orca whales. We support two of the three elements of the proposed rule, specifically for the 200 yard approach limit and the prohibition for intercepting
the path of whales.”

Citing “significant concerns and community division over the third element, we do not support the no-go zone as it is written in the proposed rule.”

The MRC noted one major lacuna in the NOAA proposal, namely that it may not stop Canadian vessels: Considerable concern is being expressed in the community about whether the rule would apply to Canadian vessels and how it would be enforced. We recommend that NOAA work with the Canadian government to ensure that U.S. and Canadian vessels are treated equally under the rule."

Another concern is how it would impact property owners with a legal right to access the water: ""We note that NOAA’s “limited exceptions” for property owners adjacent
to the no-go zone are ambiguous and recommend that they define who is a property owner, and clarify how their access would be affected by the proposed rule."

The presentation to the Council takes place at 10:20 in the Legislative Hearing Room, 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor

[link]


Sunday, September 20th

-- Guest Column --



Emergency Funds Are For Emergencies


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By Robert Low

Three Town of Friday Harbor Council Members passed a resolution this week for $600,000.00 dollars for a new specialty fire engine.

They used the emergency funds that the town treasurer has saved for many years for emergencies; like a break in the water transmission line, or sewer line, or some other catastrophic failure of the town infrastructure. And they did it by sneaking it by us.

They even caught the treasurer off guard. Council member Noel Monnin was the only one to vote against it

[more..]


Friday, September 18th

Time Again To Recycle Ag Plastic



This year’s recycling collections of agricultural plastics are as follows (all from noon to 5 pm):

Lopez Island - Monday, September 21st, Solid Waste Facility
Orcas Island - Tuesday, September 22nd, Solid Waste Facility

Plastic nursery pots and flats, soil amendment bags, drip irrigation tape, mulch film, tunnel film, silage bags and hay bale stretch wrap will be accepted at no cost. Please keep materials dry and shake off any loose soil. Nursery pots and flats will be made available at each event for re-use.

[more..]


Thursday, September 17th

Barefoot Burglar Strikes Again?


First it was a rash of breaking and entering, then a photo showed the suspect, and now what may be a number of related incidents could indicate the suspect has fled to Canada.

A boat was reported stolen from Orcas last week, used to go to Friday Harbor, and although we have not been able to confirm the account, it may have occurred just prior to a $700K Cirrus turbo airplane owned by John Strohl that was stolen from the Friday Harbor airport early Friday night, or early Saturday, and flown to Eastsound.

A deputy noticed the plane at the Orcas airport, investigated and found the doors to the plane and storage area had been broken into.

Based on damage to the plane, whoever took the plane did not execute a proper landing. One report cites damage to the running gear, and another report said there was grass and dirt clogging the wheel wells

Then later on the same day there was a report that deputies gave chase to a barefoot young man who was able to elude them. The barefoot part is interesting, since the suspect in the Island Market Break-in was barefoot, too.

After that, Jason Lnnes of Orcas reported his $75K 30’ Express Cruiser was stolen from Brant’s landing. The boat was found by the Coast Guard near Pt, Roberts, adrift with the keys in the ignition.

Point Roberts is a point of land that should have been part of Canada, but is not, to reach it by land one has to go to Canada, but three sides of it sit in American waters.

Some other reports -yet to be confirmed by the Island Guardian: No finger prints found on the airplane or boats, but surgical gloves were found on the boat. And, bare footprints were found on the boat.

So the question is, is all of this related to what some are calling the “Barefoot Burglar? Is he now in Canada, or is he bringing cheer to the business owners of Point Roberts? And why, does this guy not wear shoes?


[link]


Peddling Ordinance Lawsuit Filed



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(Attorney for Gary Franco holds press conference while SJC attorney Karen Vedder looks on)


Lopez farmer Gary Franco has suited San Juan County over the recently passed ordinance that controls “peddling” in Eastsound. The lawsuit was filed by the Institute for Justice, on behalf of Mr. Franco.

The suite alleges the intent of the ordinance is to protect “favored categories of vendors -for example, farmers who sell their own produce, ice cream trucks; and non profit and charitable groups.”

The complaint states “This is a constitutional lawsuit.” The filed complaint to the court, and an Institute press release, make it clear the suit is intended to obtain an answer to “the crucial question.. does Washington’s Privileges or Immunities Clause provide meaningful protection to the right to earn an honest living?”

[more..]


Islanders #1 & #2 Bank In Washington State



ig_Bob_Colman-3 (35k image)(Bob Coleman -IG photo)


Bob Coleman, President and CEO of Islanders Bank has a right to be happy today, after Bank Performance Reviews by an independent ranking organization found Islanders had achieved the top #1 Performance Ranking among all commercial banks, and a #2 Performance Ranking among all banks in Washington State, for quarters ending March 31, and June 30, 2009 consecutively.
[more..]


Cinderella In Friday Harbor



A cast and chorus of 29 singers will perform the opera Cinderella, Saturday, September 19 at 2:30pm at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church.

The production involves the setting of the timeless fairy tale, Cinderella by one of France’s finest composers, Jules Massenet. The opera will be performed in its entirety, and is a production of the by the Puget Sound Concert Opera and the Bellevue Opera.

This story of true love includes some of the most beautiful music ever written, including a fabulous women’s chorus of spirits and the unforgettable vocal fireworks of the Fairy Godmother.


[more..]


Wednesday, September 16th

Ruckelshaus, The No-Go-Zone & MRC



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(L to R: Chairman Kit Rawson confers with MRC member Johannes Krieger)


8:30 AM until 10:30 AM - Islanders Bank Annex basement conference room: Bill Ruckelshaus will address the San Juan Marine Resources Committee (MRC) today, Wednesday (9-16-09) on how the Puget Sound Partnership plans to work with local communities to carry out the management plan for Puget Sound.

The MRC will also review a draft today of a subcommittee report for the County Council on NOAA’s proposed rule to protect orcas from boats.
[more..]


Court (sort of) Rules For Small Buffers In Kitsap County



A recent Court of Appeals Division decision in favor of a group of property owners in Kitsap county may have an impact on how big buffers will be in San Juan County.

The Kitsap Association of Property Owners (KAPO) appealed a case involving 35-foot buffers around marine shorelines. The buffer size had been passed as a part of the updated Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) for Kitsap County.

Environmental groups said the buffers were inadequate and challenged them. The Growth Management Hearings Board (Board) hears cases related to the Growth Management Act (GMA), and they rejected the property owners arguments, ordering Kitsap County to increase the buffer zones. The County responded by increasing some of the buffers to 50 feet, and others to 100 feet.

[more..]


Just Do It!



ig_SJI_BlackieBradyPark_Carl_Jones-1 (61k image)(Nick Gervasi -SJC photo)

Due to the county budget crunch, worthwhile projects are once again being started and completed in the county with the help of volunteerism. A recent example of how things used to get done in San Juan County can be found at Blackie Brady County Park on the south end of Lopez.

The park now has a new set of stairs to a small pocket beach, and it came to be without going through budgeting, long range planning and the tax paying process of government oversight and action.

[more..]


Tuesday, September 15th

PWs Trucks -and stuff- For Sale



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San Juan County Public Works will hold a public auction on September 19th at 10:00 AM at the Public Works Auction Site, 1609 Beaverton Valley Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

The site will be open for a public preview Friday, September 18th 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM. This auction is open to the public. Sales will be to the highest bidder meeting or exceeding the minimum sales price.
[more..]


Comment On “Haze” From Cherry Point



Visibility-limiting pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other fine particles are said to cause a haze from six Washington industrial plants, one of which is the BP Cherry Point Refinery in Whatcom County.

The public is invited to comment on proposed limits for emissions from the six industrial plants that are blamed for causing -or contribute- to visibility-limiting haze in national parks and wilderness areas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has directed states to work to reduce regional haze in national parks and wilderness areas in coming decades. As part of this effort, EPA requires certain industrial plants to install Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) if they emit air pollutants that cause or contribute to regional haze.

[more..]


Monday, September 14th

New Rates Recommended For Dumps



The SWAC (Solid Waste Advisory Committee) will go before the San Juan County Council on Tuesday, September 15, 11:00 a.m. and recommend some new ways of charging to use the solid waste sites to dump garbage and drop off recyclables.

The SWAC will recommend a charge be made to enter the facilities. This would be called a "gate fee". It would be a flat fee "paid each time a customer utilizes the solid waste facility for waste
disposal (recycling is exempt)."

There would also be another fee "charged to all parcels within the disposal district. Developed parcels with
a dwelling or business will be charged more than undeveloped parcels."

And there would still be a the current "Tipping Fee…This is a continuation of our current tipping fee but will be at a reduced rate." And then there would be a "Town Capital Fee…This would be a negotiated annual payment intended to equal what town residents would pay if they were part of the disposal district and subject to the parcel fees."
[more..]


Sunday, September 13th

Open Burning Season Still Closed



With the recent rains, local fire departments have been asked whether it is now permissible to burn brush piles. For now, the answer is still “No.”

The one exception is recreational fires, which are small fires, not more than two-feet in diameter and contained in a fire ring or otherwise cleared area.


[more..]


Nine New West Nile Cases In State



U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing has confirmed nine more human cases of West Nile virus in Washington, bringing the state’s total for the year to 10. Until now, 2008’s count of three had been the state’s highest yearly human total since the virus first appeared in Washington early this decade.

All nine cases were in people who were exposed in Eastern Washington between July 11 and August 12. Four live in Yakima County, three in Benton County, one in Grant County, and one in Whatcom County. The person from Whatcom County was bitten by mosquitoes while camping in Benton County.

[more..]


Thursday, September 10th

Do You Know This Man??


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The above photo is the suspect in a rash of break-ins in Eastsound. This photo is from a surveillance camera installed in Island Market. The photo is currently being enhanced for greater clarity.

Anyone who knows who this person is -or may be- is asked to call the San Juan County Sheriff's office at 378-4151
[link]


Remembering The Loss


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(SJIFD Captain Smith rings out 5-5-5)


Friday September 11th was the 8th anniversary of the attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
ig_AL_Cannon_9-11-2009 (36k image)(American Legion FH)
Two remembrance ceremonies were held to commemorate the event and honor all who lost their lives that day.

At at exactly 9:11 a.m. a cannon salute and prayer ceremony was held at American Legion Post 163, and then at 09:59 a full moment of silence -followed by a second cannon salute- was held at the base of Spring Street near Memorial Park. The Fire Department then rang out “Signal 5-5-5” on the bell of a fire engine.

Before radios and telephones, a fire department would send a “Signal 5-5-5” over its fire alarm telegraph system as a means of signifying a fallen firefighter. Over time, the tradition has grown to honor all emergency service workers.
[link]


Fatal Lopez Accident Trial Set For Nov 2nd



The 15 year-old boy involved in a July 28 Fatal Accident will be arraigned in Friday Harbor Thursday, September 10, 2009, to face juvenile criminal charges, including one count of vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular assault and three counts of reckless endangerment. The separate charges were made for each victim in the case: Mr. Jaholkowsky, a 7-year-old bicyclist, a 17-year-old passenger in the car, and three other bicyclists.

The defendantpled "not guilty" to each count. After reviewing the charging papers, and hearing
from the attorneys for the state and for the juvenile, Judge John O. Linde imposed several conditions of release including bail of $10,000, curfew of 4 p.m.to 6 a.m., attendance at school, no contact with victims except as necessary for school-related activities, no operation of a motor vehicle at any time or for any reason, and law abiding behavior
[more..]


KaBOOM! Gas Explosion Pops Boat’s Seams At RH


After a Bayliner gassed up at the Roche Harbor dock, there was a sudden explosion. The internal impact pushed the seams and joint open and the boat began to take on water. The owner received some glass fragments, but other that that, all involved escaped without serious injuries.

Sheriff Bill Cumming said the Roche Harbor crew at the docks quickly reacted both to the explosions and to action to keep the boat from sinking by moving it to a trailer and hauling ashore.

Cumming said the cause and reason for the accident is under investigation.

[link]


Wednesday, September 9th

Young People & Sustainable Farming



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( Cheyenne Cook -Slow Food L&S photo)



Friday Harbor High School students Cheyenne Cook and Aaron Kendzoriak have an interest in farming, and with the help of a local group called “Slow Food Land & Sea” , were able to receive some on the job training on San Juan Island; including an opportunity for Cook to attend the Quillisascut Farm School in Rice, Washington.
[more..]


LWV Offer A View of Health Care Crisis



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(Dr. Paul Hochfeld -film capture photo)


The League of Women Voters of the San Juans will sponsor an open meeting September 14 at noon at the San Juan Library to view and discuss a provocative film “Health, Money and Fear,”

The 45-minute video presentation will be followed by an open discussion; and the League particularly encourages those who have first-hand knowledge of health care issues to attend and share their expertise.
[more..]


Comp Plan Public Meetings



San Juan County will conduct a series of meetings from September 14th to September 30th to gather public input on proposed amendments to the County’s Comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan document does not contain rules or regulations, but sets out principles with which legislative and regulatory actions by the County Council and administrative agencies must comply.

Under State Law, the County’s Comprehensive Plan must be reviewed and updated regularly, but changes can only be adopted once a year. The elements of the plan that will be updated this year include elements concerned with water and land use policy.
[more..]


Monday, September 7th

Football Player Airlifted From Field



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(Orcas Island Fire Rescue photo)


On Saturday, September 5th, Orcas Island and Friday Harbor football teams battled for victory . Friday Harbor won, but the important even was the quick response given to an injured Friday Harbor football player.

After Friday Harbor football player Dalton Baker collapsed on the sidelines due to an accidental -helmet to helmet contact- members from San Juan EMS and Orcas Island Fire Rescue immediately responded to stabilize the player.

[more..]


New Director of the SJC College



Skagit Valley College is pleased to announce that Randy Martin, of Friday Harbor, has been named the new Director of the San Juan Center. In addition to his role as the Center’s director, Martin will continue serving SVC as the Coordinator for the popular Elderhostel Program.

Skagit Valley College’s San Juan Center offers academic transfer courses, community education, small business development, and distance education courses.


[more..]


Saturday, September 5th

House Saved By OFD



ig_OFD_Buddha-1 (54k image)(Julie Remington photo)
The skills of Orcas Island Fire Rescue were challenged by another Wildland fire Friday on Orcas. At approximately 2:00p.m. multiple reports were received at the Sheriff’s 911 dispatch center -including one from an airplane- reporting a fire at multiple different locations.

According to Captain, Max Jones, just back from fighting Wildland fires in Eastern Washington, “Calls came in for a structure fire, with locations as far apart as Turtleback and Mt. Woolard.”

After forty minutes the location, turned out to be north of Killebrew Lake on Markov Lane. By the time the first units arrived, the fire was burning within one foot of the Markov home.
[more..]


Swine Flu Is Among Us



Swine Flu is in San Juan County, and the local Health Department warns the “odds are good that if you have a school age son or daughter, you may receive a call that you need to come pick them up because they have a fever of more than 100F, a sore throat, headache and body aches.”

Those odds may be high for at least three reasons: Not everyone who has contracted A1N1 (Swine Flu) is aware they have it, it is known that some do have it, but may not be self- "quarantined” -one person has admitted they have it and they have a school age child -will they keep the child out of school as a precaution? The age group most likely to be affected is young people - 5 to 17-year-olds; because young people have not developed an immunity to the virus

And then there is the fact that only a physician can officially confirm a case after a lab test has so indicated.

[more..]


Time For County Wide Ban



by Carrie Lacher

The Town Council recently stepped forward and voted 5-0 to approve a ban on Styrofoam take-out containers. As a member of the Council, I am very proud of our new ordinance. Now it’s the County’s turn.

On September 1st, the County Council voted 5-1 to move forward on passing a similar ban throughout the county by scheduling a public hearing. It is clear that our whole community is ready to stop talking about how Styrofoam pollutes our environment and actually DO something about
[more..]


Friday, September 4th

Union Approves Voluntary Furloughs



One creative way for governments across the country to save money, is to have a furlough program in place to decrease the payroll. The ideal is to let workers take some time off, but not be paid for the days they do not work; however they can retain retirement benefits. It is not vacation time or sick time, which is paid time off.

One problem can be a union contract. Some of the employees’ of San Juan County are represented by Local 1849 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). As a result, over fifty per cent of the County workers are protected by a contract, that as written, does not allow a furlough program.
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Couple Of Lucky People



IG_S_Truck-Power_Pole-DouglasRd-1 (55k image)
(A walk-away accident past Cemetery Road on SJI)


A driver and passenger escape with only minor bruises when the driver lost control of a small pickup on Douglas road just south of Cemetery Road on San Juan Island.

According to witnesses and evidence at the scene, the truck dropped off into the road ditch, and before the driver could come to stop the right front time struck the end of a driveway culvert, which caused the truck to jump out of the ditch and slam into an OPALCO power pole.

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Thursday, September 3rd

SJC Receives "Scenic Byway Award"



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( Deborah Hopkins Far Left and far right is Liz Illg)


The “Revisiting Washington CD and Website Project” received the 2009 Scenic Byway Award for Interpretation at a ceremony held on August 24, during the National Scenic Byways 2009 Conference in Denver, Colorado.

There to receive the award (shown above) included San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau Executive Director Deborah Hopkins and San Juan Islands Scenic Byway Coordinator Liz Illg.
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Dumps Still Losing Money -Will Close On Saturday



Public Works Director Jon Shannon told the Council this the solid waste transfer stations are not only still losing money, they are in fact “going backwards.”

Shannon was referring to how little garbage and re-cycling are coming into the three island facilities, and the corresponding loss of revenue. The fall off in construction material is one of the major losses of revenue, he said.
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Loss Of Control Of Moped


IG_S_Moped_RH-EggLake-1 (60k image)A moped operator lost control of his ride and ended up in a ditch on the side of the road. The accident happened late Wednesday afternoon. A witness to the accident said the man simply lost control on Roche Harbor road near the intersection of Egg Lake road.

The man was riding a rented moped and had been supplied with a full face wrap around helmet, but even so, the witness said the rider had been rendered unconscious by the fall for a short period of time.

EMSs’ personnel treated the riders abrasions’ on scene and carefully moved him on to a stretcher anc transported him to the medical center for a more complete check of his condition. The man was conscious and even managed a small smile as the first responders worked to transport him


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Architect Hubbell In FH Friday



ig_James_Hubbell-1 (44k image)The SJI Museum of Art and Sculpture Park will feature Artist and Organic Architect James Hubbell for the “Art as a Voice” Series at the Community Theatre on Friday, September 4 at 7:30.

Mr. Hubbell has developed projects all over the world for more than 40 years, creating places that heal the soul and renew the spirit. He is the founder and principal of the Ilan Lael Foundation, whose mission is to integrate nature-centered art and architecture in environmentally friendly private and public spaces.


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Wednesday, September 2nd

Hey! I Need That Salmon!



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(Orca & fishing boat in proposed No-Go-Zone -J. Maya photo)


The commercial fishing fleet of the treaty tribes will be exempt from the proposed NOAA No-Go-Zone, and this has added fuel to the controversy the proposal has created.

For the last week or so, the commercial fishing fleet has fished from sunrise until well after sunset all along the Westside of San Juan Island, netting tons and tons of salmon.

According to one observer, “So many salmon have been taken that two huge processing vessels have been working with the purse seines to off load their catch allowing the purse seines to resume setting their nets.”

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Steering Committee For CAO Outreach Plan Appointed



On August 10 the County Council voted to begin a process with the San Juan Initiative to “Develop a public participation plan and bringing it to the County Council for review and approval” for the updating of the SMA (Shorline Master Program). The vote included a directive to staff to in draft a contract that would be acceptable to the council and the DOE (Department of Ecology) to accept the DOE offer of $400k for the shoreline update.

At the beginning of the August 25th meeting Councilmember Pratt took the staff and the rest of the council by surprise by making a motion to place on the “Consent Agenda” the appointment of a “steering committee to recommend the SJI portion of the CAO and SMP public outreach plan…”

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Tuesday, September 1st

Be On Look Out For (Aborted?) Killer Whale Calf



On Sunday, August 30th a private boater broadcast a report over the marine radio, Channel 16, that they had discovered what appeared to be a killer whale calf floating off of Lawrence Point near Orcas Island. The observer stated that the placenta was still attached to the carcass.

The Friday Harbor sheriff’s office heard the broadcast and passed the information on to the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
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Meetings Wednesday On No-Go-Zone & Related Issues



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(A great photo advertising Whale Museum Wednesday lecture on the NOAA No-Go-Zone -no photo credit available)


A meeting and a lecture in Friday Harbor on Wednesday will be a kind of unofficial kick-off of the controversial plan by NOAA to make part of the west side of San Juan Island off limits to public access; with a few exceptions, one of which is commercial ship travel and fishing rights allowed by existing treaty rights.

The first meeting is the 8:30 to 10:30a.m. San Juan County Marine Resources Committee discussion the proposed vessel regulations issued by NOAA Fisheries for the Southern Resident Killer Whales during their regular meeting at the Islanders Bank Annex in Friday Harbor. Later in the day there is a Whale Museum sponsored lecture by a NOAA representative on the impact of boat generated sound on the orca.

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Here We Go Again On Ferry Fares



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(Bob Distler addresses the public)


The Washing State Transportation Commission came to San Juan County on Monday to ride the ferry and talk with the public on proposed increases and changes to ferry fares that will result in a 7.5% increase in fares for San Juan County riders.

Not many citizens took them up on the invitation. As usual, the meeting was held on a work day, and even so, one was trapped on the boat until it came back to whatever island they got on from, so a commitment to spend some hours in the middle of the day was required.


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