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Tuesday, November 30th

Site Plan Vesting Initiative Proposed

ig_Sam_Buck_III-2 (31k image)(Sam Buck addresses Council)

Signatures are being gathered in support of a “mini initiative” that requests the County pass an ordinance that will provide property owners with a means to plan and build under existing regulations -if they have prior approval of a proposed project.

The new procedure is the idea of San Juan Island property owner Sam Buck as a way to address the uncertainty of how new rules and regulations for development may impact a property owner in the future.

Direct Hit Can Be A Near Miss

IG_Auto_OffRoad_PearPt-a_seltser-001 (64k image)
(Photo by Andrew Seltser )

The driver of this car was lucky when control was lost and the vehicle left the road near the former LaFarge gravel pit on San Juan Island; the luck resulted from the car hitting a tree, as opposed to continuing down the slope to the cliff edge and then into the water below.

Guard rail may be a good idea, but then there is the budget problem that would require a shifting of priorities. ( Budget hearing is Tuesday, 10-30-10)


Monday, November 29th

Recount Complete And The Winner Is Still Jamie Stephens

ig_Jamie_Stephes-001a (31k image)In the old days a recount could change an election, but with computers the odds are not good that the loser will become the winner if only the ballots are counted again. Such is the case in the Lopez/Shaw District Six County Council race.

Myhr lost the election by 11 votes, and after Myhr paid to have them recounted, he still lost by 11 votes. So, Stephens will join Patty Miller (who ran unopposed) as the two new members of the County Council.

Tuesday: Tax Increases, Tax Breaks & The 2011 Budget

The Count Council will hold five public hearings Tuesday (10:45 in CC Meeting Rm) to take public testimony on taxes and the budget.

The first hearing is for a proposed property tax levy increase of 1% for the road fund, and a second 1% increase for the current expense fund.

Guest Column

ig_Carl_Gipson_wa_policy_center-001 (32k image) By Carl Gipson

In 1998, Washington voters passed Initiative 688, enacting a substantial increase in the state minimum wage. A lesser-known provision of I-688 provided that all future increases in the minimum wage would occur automatically each year and that the amount of increase would be linked to the rate of inflation.

Since then, the minimum wage has increased 11 times, without discussion or debate, and without consideration of employment conditions or job opportunities for young people entering the work force.


Sunday, November 28th

Agriculture Management Workshops

The San Juan County Economic Development Council will present two 2-hour workshops for small agriculture businesses and entrepreneurs on San Juan Island.

Saturday, November 27th

What An Interesting Artist

ig_art_Maria_Michaelson-001 (42k image)(Michaelson in her studio)

Maria Michaelson is presenting her most recent ceramic sculptures in an art show entitled “Go Back and Get What We Forgot”, at the Anne Sheridan Photography studio, (135 2nd St, FH). The opening reception will be Sunday, November 28, 2010, from 1-6 pm.

The show will remain up Monday Nov 29 through Wednesday December 1, from 2-6pm. with the artist in attendance, and it will also include a fundraising opportunity to support artists in West Africa. Why West Africa? To understand that one needs to know a bit more about Maria and how she has literally taken her art on the road.


Friday, November 26th

Constitution Essay Winners

ig_ALWA_Const_Essay_2010-001 (55k image)
(Maria Bolte, 2nd Place High School Division; Auxiliary President Pauli Gavora; 1st Place High School division winner Amanda Brast; 1st Place Middle School winner Kyle Jangard; 2nd Place middle School Division winner Jasmin Sarah and Americanism Chairman Minnie Knych - IG photo)

The Post 163 American Legion Auxiliary Constitution essay contest winners received their awards after a presentation and reading of their essays on what the U.S. Constitution means to them.

-- Guest Column --

An Issue of Fairness

By Charles Zalmanek

Recent articles in local online media have focused on certain assessment programs available for land managed for commercial forest or agricultural purposes or for preservation, which allow the land to be appraised for tax purposes at its “current use,” rather than its “highest and best use.”

Thursday, November 25th

New Office For Animal Protection Society

The Animal Protection Society on San Juan Island has announced the opening of their new satellite office, 'Island Tails,' in downtown Friday Harbor. The office will be officially opened on Wed Dec 1st.

'Island Tails' will be the home for the shelter's new development and fundraising office and will include a gift store and serve as a shelter information hub. The location is at 26 Cannery Landing...upstairs next to Surf San Juan.

Winter hours will be Wed - Sat from 10am - 5pm. There will be an open house for the new store on Sat Dec 11th from 12 noon - 4pm.


Wednesday, November 24th

Pie Sale Benefited Local Girl Scouts

Young island bakers and their parents were geared up and ready to continue a local tradition: Saving islanders the time of preparing Thanksgiving desserts and providing pies for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Local Girl Scouts sold homemade pumpkin and pecan pies inside FH Marketplace on Wednesday, (11-24-10), and more than a few of the pies were donated to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner , and had delivered by the Scouts to the Grange dinner.

Tuesday, November 23rd

Myhr Calls For Recount

ig_Bob_Myhr-8 (31k image)With the final vote showing Myhr down to Stephens by only 11 votes, Myhr has asked for -and will pay for- a recount of the votes.

The Canvass Board has scheduled the recount on November 29 at 9 a.m. The recount will take place at the Elections Office, 55 Second St, Suite A, Friday Harbor. The Canvass Board will convene on November 30 at 8:30 to recertify the election.

State law says that an officer of a political party, any person for whom votes were cast at any election or any group of five or more registered voters may file a written application for a recount of the votes or a portion of the votes cast at that election for all candidates for election to that office.

Volunteers Return As Budget Woes Continue

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( Golf Club owner Justin Taylor donates time and expertise to keep Eastsound Village Green’s grass growing - Fred Klein photo)

There was a time in San Juan County when citizen volunteers were the way things got done, but as time passed and the population and demand on services grew, paid staff grew too.

Works well when you can afford it, but with the drop in revenue to run County services, the need for volunteers has increased; and no one should be surprised that the call is being responded to.

Monday, November 22nd

Severe Cold For Next 24 Hours

Given the forecast of severe cold for next 24 hours (lows into low 20's), now is a good time for islanders to think about how to keep themselves and their pipes warm in the event of an outage. And as always, it's a good opportunity to check in on neighbors who might need a hand with coping with the winter weather. For more info on winter weather preparedness, visit


Do The “Turkey Trot” Thanksgiving Day

ig_Turkey_Trot_Logo-001 (42k image)The sixth annual “Turkey Trot”, a 5K (3.1 mile) run, walk, trot or crawl, will be held on Thanksgiving morning, November 25, at 9:00 am. Registration will take place beginning at 8:00 am in front of the Best Western Friday Harbor Suites, the location of the start and finish, rain or shine…..or snow.

Sunday, November 21st

An Orcas "Science of Safety" Program

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(Captain Maxx Jones with elementary school students -OFD photo)

The Orcas island Fire & Rescue folks held a Science of Safety program at the Orcas elementary school last week.

In the photo above Captain Maxx Jones of the Public Safety & Education division of the OFD showed up in Mrs, Stankevich's kindergarten class in full gear to explain why firefighters wear protective clothing and how it helps to protect them

The program addressed general fire and personal safety, including how and when to dial 911: Every student in Mrs. Stankevich's kindergarten class learned when to call 911 and how to dial this important emergency number. Students in Mrs. McGrath¹s class participated in how to test smoke alarms for working batteries, and students learned the scientific importance of wearing a seat belt.

Friday, November 19th

And The Winner Is: Jamie Stephens

ig_Jamie_Stephes-001a (31k image)With only 13 votes separating the two, Jamie Stephens is the winner, with 875 (50.17%) vs. 862 (49.43%) for Councilman Bob Myhr. Because the difference between the two is more than required, a re-count is not automatically required.

Talk about a close race! The vote count was never far apart, single digits at one point, for the Lopez/Shaw District Six County Council race.

However, there are still votes that need to be officially resolved, and Myhr could also contest the count; if he does so, he will have to pay the cost of the recount.

FH & SJI Fire Agree To Trial Merger

The path to a merging of the Town of FH and San Juan Island fire fighting departments has been a long time coming. It has been controversial, and sometimes emotional, but on Tuesday night the Town agreed to pay SJC Fire District 3 to provide fire protection duties for the town.

At least for now. The Town signed a resolution to enter into an eight page interlocal agreement with SJC Fire Protection District November 3, “in the amount of $8,000.00 per month through April 30, 2011…to provide interim administrative, training and incident response service to the Town.” Next step is a special meeting by the SJC Fire District on Sunday, when it is expected they too will sign on to the merger.


Now That Is A Fire Drill!!

ig_OFD_Drill_Only_Drill-02-001 (69k image)
( Fully involved structure ignites tree as part of drill -Dwight Guss photo )

Orcas Island Fire & Rescue concluded 3 days of training Wednesday evening with a “burn down” of structures in Deer Harbor.

The condemned buildings were used for several training scenarios so that firefighters could hone skills needed in a real structure fire emergency.


Thursday, November 18th

Council Struggles With Open Space Programs -Public Hearing Scheduled

The County council will hold a public hearing November 30th (10:45 am) on a proposed ordinance (.pdf 470\k file) that if adopted as presented will increase the “benefit rating points allowed for farm and agricultural land in the current use open space tax benefit program.”

The Council has struggled with approving current applications (Related Story) because of the concern the program is proposed to be changed, and if passed as proposed it will become considerably easier in the future to obtain a tax break if the new rating system is adopted.


Wednesday, November 17th

~ Guest Editorial ~

ig_Chris_Laws-001 (32k image)By Christopher Laws

The County Council’s recent discussion [related story] concerning the now exasperating topic of the transfer station highlighted two differing approaches to public services and how they should be delivered; i.e. public or private.

The president of San Juan Sanitation Dan Leidecker said to the County Council "his family owned local company, and the San Juan County Solid Waste department are both a $2.5 million dollar gross revenue operation, but there he indicated the similarity comes to an end." When Leidecker said "his company always operates in the black, makes a profit, and buys new equipment" he exemplified the only difference that really matters - the consequences of good management or poor management, success or failure.


Friday Is National Adoption Day

ig_NationalAdoptionDay-001 (41k image)

San Juan County Superior Court Judge Don Eaton asked, and has received, a County proclamation recognizing November 19th as National Adoption Day in San Juan County. The County Council action joins with the Town of Friday Harbor and the State in recognition of the importance of adoption.

Following in the footsteps of the late Judge John O. Linde, Judge Eaton invited the Council and the public to a special event on Friday (11-19-10) in the San Juan County Superior Court to celebrate National Adoption Day.

Tuesday, November 16th

County Votes For Privatization Proposals To Run Solid Waste Program

Rich Peterson made a motion at a special meeting on Monday (see related story below) that: “The Council agrees in concept to prepare an RFP [Request For Proposals], or explore expansion of the current franchise agreement, for a contractor or certified hauler to operate the self-haul transfer operations currently performed by San Juan Sanitation.”

Councilman Howard Rosenfeld said “I like it;” and Councilmember Lovel Pratt said “I think it works” and with that the vote was unanimous to take another step toward an understanding of the costs and implications of the County getting out of the garbage business by turning it over to a commercial hauler.

Want To Serve On A Committee?

The County Council is searching for San Juan County citizens to fill current and upcoming vacancies on various boards and commissions. The following is a list of current vacancies:

Monday, November 15th

Monday: Council Discussion On Privatization Of Solid Waste

ig_Joh_Shannon_Dan_Leidecker-002 (47k image)
( Joh Shannon & Dan Leidecker address County Council)

On Monday (11-15-10) morning at 8:30 the county council will hold a special meeting on funding solid waste by discussion the question: “ Solid Waste, A Public or Private Operation?”, and what are the implications of privatization for the County.


Work Begins On FH Farmer's Market

ig_FM_Building-renovation_Liza_Michaelson-001 (59k image)
(Cleaning up for the holidays -Liza Michaelson photo)

Forty volunteers showed up on Saturday to take the first toward a renovation of the recently purchased Erickson Building in downtown Friday Harbor into a Farmer's Market and a planned community center.

Sunday, November 14th

Farm To Cafeteria Community Fundraiser!

Today On Orcas, The first Farm to Cafeteria community fundraiser! It will feature the spirited toe-tapping music of Orcas's own "JP and the OK Rhythm Boys."

Please your palate with fresh local foods from Taproot, Maple Rock and Jones Family Farm, and prepared by Chefs Lisa Nakamura (Allium), Madden Slabaugh (The Quilted Pig), Abigael Birrell (Doe Bay Cafe), Christina Orchid, Charles Dalton (The Kitchen), Matt and Ryan Carpenter (Deer Harbor Inn), and Kathryn Taylor Chocolates.

Enjoy Goldeneye Farm apple cider, and a no-host wine bar. Don't miss the special raffle and auction items, featuring handmade student items. Tickets are $40 at the door. Kid Care may be available.

Saturday, November 13th

County Declared a "HUBZone" By Feds

San Juan County is considered a HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Victoria Compton, the Executive Director of the San Juan County Economic Development Council explains this “means businesses in San Juan County who are competing for federal contracts have an edge over other businesses.”

Friday, November 12th

Dicks Resigns As PSP Director, Gets Two New Jobs

David Dicks has resigned as the executive director of the PSP (Puget Sound Partnership) for two new jobs. He will become the new Director of Strategic Partnerships and Civic Engagement at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment; and Gov. Gregoire has appointed him to the PSP Leadership Council.

Dick -a lawyer and son of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks- is the second high ranking member of the PSP to resign a position. In May of this year a State Audit found fault with Puget Sound Partnership’s management of financial controls, and in August San Juan Island residentBill Ruckelshaus Resigned as Chair Of PSP, which prompted Gov. Chris Gregoire to proclaimed a “Bill Ruckelshaus Day” in honor of his work to protect Puget Sound.

As for Dicks, the Governor stated: “David has given the past six years of his life to the creation and running of the Puget Sound Partnership;” adding “I deeply appreciate his dedication to the health of Puget Sound. Thankfully, David will continue to be a major player in Puget Sound restoration with my appointment of him today to the Partnership’s Leadership Council.”

The PSP had only praise for Dick’s leadership the Puget Sound Partnership, noting he “fostered a scientifically rigorous regional consensus to focus the region on the most important actions to recover the Sound, culminating in the Action Agenda for Puget Sound; launched an aggressive implementation of the Action Agenda with over 80% of the top ranked actions solidly underway or complete; and, dramatically increased funding for Puget Sound recovery.”

“He is one of the best directors I have encountered in my decades of dealing with salmon and Puget Sound issues. From day one he has understood that this is our last, best chance to save Puget Sound and he has done a great deal to ensure that we will get it done,” said Billy Frank, Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“David’s appointment was crucial in ensuring that business stayed at the table. He has done a great job of making sure that all interests, including those of business, are heard as we chart our path forward with Puget Sound,” said Sam Anderson, executive officer of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.

“I congratulate David on his new post, and thank him for his six years of visioning, creating, and building this important new institution. I look forward to working with him on the Leadership Council, where his deep knowledge, political savvy, and passion will continue to benefit this National Treasure, Puget Sound, and the people who call it home,” said Martha Kongsgaard, Chair of the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council.

Dicks was also gratefull, stating: “I want to thank Governor Gregoire for the opportunity to serve in her administration. It has been an incredible privilege to work with all of the local groups, inspiring individuals, and tribal, local, state, and federal leaders who do so much everyday for Puget Sound. I also want to thank the staff at the Puget Sound Partnership who are some of the brightest, hardest working, and dedicated people I have ever worked with;” adding “I am very hopeful for Puget Sound. We have developed a great Action Agenda that is being implemented all across Puget Sound. We have moved Puget Sound to a level of parity with the Chesapeake Bay at the national level, and we have helped to dramatize to the public the ongoing threats to Puget Sound that need to be remedied.”

In December, Dicks will assume a new role as and will focus on deepening community engagement and utilizing the wealth of scientific resources at the College to help solve environmental problems.

“We are pleased to have David join us as we build the leadership team for the College,” said Lisa Graumlich, Dean of the College of the Environment. “His skills and experience with key issues and diverse communities throughout Washington are real assets as the College defines and deepens its role in the broader community.”

Not Paying Workers’ Comp? Could Be Costly To Construction Employers

Employers dodging workers’ compensation premiums can expect to face significant new consequences from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

As of this week, any construction firm caught with workers, but no current L&I workers’ compensation account, can be served a Stop Work Order (SWO). A SWO is a legal notice requiring an employer to immediately stop work and remain stopped until the employer comes into compliance with state requirements.


Thursday, November 11th

Remembering The Vets On Veteran’s Day

ig_AL_Vets_Day_2010-002 (57k image)

Representatives of the American Legion and the Women's Auxiliary attended a ceremony on Veteran’s Day to honor veterans living in assisted care at the Life Care Center (formerly the Islands Convalescent Center) in Friday Harbor, where three women and eleven male veterans, ranging from WWII and Korea to Viet Nam are now in residence.

France Bieger (Navy); Barbara Turner (Navy); Rudd Smith (Army); Bob Harris (Navy); Zoltan Tofalvy (Army); David Erickson (Army); Jean McAlary (Army); Bob Ross (Navy); Michael Greenfield (Navy); Jack Durbar (Army); Bruce Rowe (Navy); Martha Van Horn (Navy); and Claude Rubeling (Navy) shared a few stories and comradeship with the visiting vets and members of the Women’s Auxiliary.

(The Women's Auxiliary was represented by (L to R above: Minnie Knych; Pauli Gavora, Marlene Crosby & Elli Gull; The Legion was represented by Commander Shannon Plummer & Jack Cory)


Barefoot Burglar Indicted In Seattle

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle has reported that Colton Harris-Moore was indicted on Federal charges Wednesday by a grand jury in Seattle, and will be arraigned on the 18th of this month. The new charges are in addition to minor charges filed in San Juan and Island county, but the latest round of charges carry some heavy fines and jail time.

Wednesday, November 10th

A Ride With The Sheriff -A Good Thing

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(Isaac Shaw, Ethan Rosich & Sheriff Bill Cumming)

At San Juan Island Park and Recreation District’s (Island Rec) annual Touch a Truck event, Ethan Rosich won the raffle for a Ride to school with the Sheriff.

Each year Island Rec sponsors a program that allows kids to explore big rigs of all types, shapes and sizes; and by explore, we mean they can climb behind the wheel of a fire truck, dump truck, ambulance, police car or other fascinating vehicles and large equipment.

Further Education/Training For Women

Applications for the Women’s Opportunity Award, sponsored by Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor, are now available. The award is offered to a woman, primary wage earner in the household pursuing an undergraduate or vocational degree.

This is an award intended to assist women in overcoming personal difficulties and bettering their lives through education and skills training.


Tuesday, November 9th

Boy Scouts Serving Community

ig_BS_Museum-002 (52k image)

Community service projects are just part of what it means to be a Boy Scout, and when Kevin Loftus -the Executive Director of the San Juan Historical Museum - needed to make some exhibit improvements, he put in a call to the Boy Scouts.

Lending A Hand To Abe

ig_Abe_Gutierrez-003 (49k image)
(Contributed photo)

Shoppers at the Market Place in Friday Harbor know Abe Gutierrez as the always friendly and willing to offer advice and lend a hand guy in the produce department, but Abe recently underwent surgery on his foot, and as a result has been out of work for over two months.

While medical insurance has covered some expenses, there are still expenses that need attention, and so a fund raiser was organized for last Saturday at the SJI Yacht Club.

Monday, November 8th

Wolf Eel: Eel, Fish Or Monster?

ig_sds_WOLF_EEL-001 (44k image)Have you ever wondered if the Wolf Eel is really an eel or just a fish disguised as an eel? Or maybe even monster relic of the dinosaur era?

Come hear Dr. Jeff Marliave of the Vancouver Aquarium speak at Camp Orkila on Tuesday, November 9 at 7:00 pm and find out.

Sunday, November 7th

WDFW & DNR Propose Sustainable Funding For State Lands - Want Input

For the 2011 legislative session, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are jointly proposing new legislation to create stable, dedicated funding for state recreation lands. Comments on legislative proposal can be emailed to

State lands are crucial to Washington's quality of life-providing habitat for fish and wildlife, and access for recreation activities that generate billions of dollars annually for Washington's economy.

Saturday, November 6th

From Russia With Love…

ig_SJCT_Odeon_Quartet-001 (52k image)
(Contributed photo)

Chamber Music San Juans’ special guests ODEONQUARTET shared the sounds of Russia at San Juan Community Theatre on Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Fresh from a Moscow tour earlier this year, the quartet played an array of Russian chamber music, from Pavel Karmanov’s 1997 minimalist, baroque-informed string quartet to Glazunov’s 1892 richly-orchestrated cello quintet.


Friday, November 5th

Four Busted For Major Deer Poaching

Acting on tips and an on-going investigation into illegal hunting in the county, officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) accused four San Juan Island men on Friday of deer poaching.

In addition, the County has an ordinance against hunting with large bore rifles in San Juan County. Sources told The Island Guardian the officers were armed with a search warrant, knew where to go, and what to look for.

The search warrant is sealed at this time, but the possible charges against the four young men may include “numerous counts of spotlighting big game, hunting big game without a license, wastage of big game, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and criminal conspiracy.”

Charles Dickens Connection In County

ig_SJCT_Gerald_Dickerns-001 (38k image)By Jan Bollwinkel-Smith

When Charles Dickens’ great-great grandson brings his one-man show, Mr. Dickens is Coming! to San Juan Community Theatre this Monday at 7:30 p.m., he won’t be the only one with family history to share from the times of Dickens.

Friday Harbor resident Joanruth Baumann’s great-great grandmother and her daughter, Isabelle were neighbors of Charles Dickens--living the same “Oliver Twist” childhood that Dickens wrote so much about.


Re-Count Likely In Lingering Lopez Race

“Election Day” is over but not all the results are in, and it seems fairly certain there will be a re-count of the local County Council race between incumbent Bob Myhr and challenger Jamie Stephens, with only the slimmest of leads moving back-and-forth between the two.

All of the ballots are forecast to be processed on Friday, and results posted by the end of the day, and Auditor Milene Henley warns a less than ¼ of a percent difference in the count will result in all of the ballots being counted individually by hand, so the result may still be days away


Thursday, November 4th

Community Input Needed on Arts Council

Since 2009 a small volunteer committee has been meeting to discuss the possible formation of a San Juan County Arts Council. On Thursday, November 4, 5:00 - 8:00pm at the Waterworks Gallery (315 Spring St, Friday Harbor), the community is invited to gather to discuss this proposal and to offer comments and suggestions on the potential role of an arts council in the San Juan Islands community.

Un-intended Drive-in On Lopez

IG_S_Auto-lopez_store-001 (66k image)
(SJC Sheriff's department photo)

A driver stepped on the wrong pedal and send her car crashing into and through a the wall of the market on Lopez, reported causing some minor injuries to others as they rushed to get out of the way.

Driver Hits Tree, Takes A Hike

IG_S_Auto-TREE_SUTTON_RD-001-1 (48k image)
(Accident on Sutton Rd on SJI _IG photo)

A San Juan Island man lost control of his car on Sutton Road sometime before dawn, ran into a tree, then abandon the car in the middle of the road and fled the scene. The car was reported and first responders showed up and searched the area for what could have been an injured person, but were unable to locate anyone.

Shortly later a call came in about an unwanted person on the deck of a house near the accident site. Sheriff deputy responded and found their man with some facial injuries, barefoot and reportedly under the influence of drugs.


Wednesday, November 3rd

Ag Guild Buys Erickson Bld W/Out County Tax Money

//PRESS RELEASE// -- San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild has purchased the historic building and property at 150 Nichols Street, the future home of Friday Harbor Brickworks, a farmers' market facility and community events center.

Tuesday, November 2nd

Peterson, Nou Winners, Myhr vs. Stephens Too Close To Call

ig_P_Rich_Peterson_2010-001 (43k image)
(Former Freeholder David Bailey congratulates Councilman Rich Peterson & Janice Peterson)

by Milene Henley

Deputy Rob Nou will be San Juan County’s new sheriff. In election night returns, he had a commanding lead of 65% versus 34% for Deputy Brent Johnson.

In Council races, incumbent Bob Myhr holds a narrow 18-vote lead over Jamie Stephens for County Council member from District 6, and incumbent Rich Peterson defeated challenger Laura Jo Severson to hold onto his seat in District 2.


Local Groups Float Derelict Vessel Funding

The Friday Harbor Power Squadron and The Common Sense Alliance have announced their contribution to the Derelict Vessel Program in San Juan County to help pick-up and dispose of derelict vessels before they sink.

Several groups have pitched in with donations to resume the Derelict Vessel Program in San Juan County, that has been inactive due to lack of County funding. It is estimated there are approximately nineteen abandoned vessels around the islands that need to be disposed of before they sink and pollute the waters and shorelines.

Boating is a treasured part of life for residents and visitors in the San Juan Islands and vessels of all types are harbored in our waters, including vessels that have become run down to the point of sinking and boats that have been abandoned by their owners. These boats cause problems when they sink or go aground.

They often contain oil, fuel, and other hazardous chemicals that pollute the water. When they break apart, trash and debris litter the beaches as well as contaminate the water. Sinking and sunken boats also cause hazards to navigation. There are currently 5 boats in immediate need of towing in San Juan Island waters, with several more being close to derelict status. Interestingly, the Department of Natural Resources only funds the recovery of vessels after they have sunk, and by this time the pollution damage is well underway.

“Removing a derelict vessel before it sinks just makes common sense. It prevents toxic contaminants from polluting our waters and threatening marine life,” said Marc Forlenza, Executive Officer of the Friday Harbor Power Squadron; while Dave Cable, Executive Director of the Common Sense Alliance reiterated, “We’re not just talking about saving the marine environment, we are intent upon doing it.”

According to San Juan County Auditor F. Milene Henley, “Removing a sunken vessel can cost as much as $86,000 to salvage.” The cost of towing, crushing and disposing or recycling a boat before it sinks can be considerably less. According to Terry Whalen of A-1 Marine, Friday Harbor, the cost may be as much as ten times less if action is taken before sinking. “The last boat we hauled up in Hunter Bay cost $120k to salvage. We could have towed it in, hauled and crushed it for $10-15k, saving more than $100k. You can clean up a lot of old boats for a hundred grand, if you get them before they sink.”

In spearheading this effort the Friday Harbor Power Squadron is joined by the Common Sense Alliance, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island Yacht Club, Island Marine Center on Lopez, and Jensen’s Shipyard. These local groups (of private citizens and businesses) have united in a display of community spirit to raise the minimum funds necessary to assist the County in reviving the program that ceased operations in December 2008.

The funds raised by private groups are to be matched 1:1 by the County and 10:1 by the State through the Department of Natural Resources. According to Auditor F. Milene Henley, the County and State matching funds would be made available to a contractor or contractors who would operate the program locally. Also stepping up in support of the Program, is the Port of Friday Harbor, who will make an in kind (non-cash) contribution of temporary dock space and pumps etc for derelict vessels in transit to final processing.

Henley has committed to presenting the issue of funding to the County Council in time for consideration in 2011 Budget. Additional donations from all private parties are welcome. Contact Marc Forlenza at the Friday Harbor Power Squadron.


Your Opinion On WDFW Enforcement?

In the “Be careful of what you wish for.” The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is conducting a public survey to help assess the agency’s Enforcement Program.
The survey, available HERE on WDFW’s website, consists of about 20 questions concerning the program’s priorities and performance in the field. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.


Monday, November 1st

Continued Public Hearing Tuesday On Ag/Timber Tax Break

The County Council will continue a public hearing Tuesday (11-01-10 at 10:45 am) on the Quetin application to move from one “open space” program into another; but before deciding to approve or reject, the Council will receive some legal advice on what options are available to them for approving or rejecting the application.

5th Annual Garlic Festival At Doe Bay

Celebrate the Stinking Rose at Doe Bay Cafe at ther 5th annual Garlic Feast on November 6th.

The event featurs local garlic varieties from Orcas Farm, La Campesina Project; Taproot; Maple Rock; Black Dog, and Doe Bays very own garden, in a fabulous 4 course tasting!

There will also be screening the Les Blank documentary, Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers and hosting live acoustic music by Fabrice to the accompany dinner. Make your reservations early for this fun annual event. 4 course garlic feast: $50/per person $20 paired wine flight. 360-376-8059.

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