New Licensing System Coming

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 9:12 am by

wa-drives-logoWashington State residents with vehicle and vessel transactions due in December are urged to complete them by Friday, December 9. On Monday, December 12, the Washington State Department of Licensing will implement, statewide, a new state-of-the-art computer system for vehicle and vessel title and registration transactions.

The new system will replace a 30-year-old, text-based system with a modern system used successfully in several other states across the country.

The launch of this new system will have two notable customer service impacts before and after it is turned on December 12:

  • Online vehicle tab renewal will be offline from December 6 until the new system is turned on December 12. Other vehicle-related online services, such as online filing of a report of sale, online vehicle or boat change of address, and other types of vehicle or boat online transactions or lookups, will be offline from the evening of Friday, December 9, until the new system is turned on December 12. 
  • Following the launch on December 12, customers may experience longer wait times as licensing staff become comfortable processing transactions using the new system.

Customer Service staff at the San Juan County Auditor’s Office have been preparing for this launch for months. Each staff member has completed two online courses, as well as a two-day, in-person, hands-on workshop. For the two weeks prior to the December 12 launch, the office is able to work in both systems in tandem, in order to practice using the new system.

Nonetheless, a change to a new system will inevitably cause delays in processing. Auditor Milene Henley is asking customers for patience in the days immediately following the launch. Read More »

Cattle Point Light Repair Project: Information Update

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 9:01 am by

Heads up to island contractors – this is from the Coast Guard about upcoming improvements to Cattle Point Light…

coast-guard-logoThe Coast Guard is preparing to contract work to correct foundation deficiencies at the Cattle Point Light using our established Regional Multiple Award Construction Contractors including a number from Washington State.

A pre-proposal information meeting and site visit is scheduled for December 6, 2016. There will be a general information meeting at the San Juan Island Grange #966, 152 First Street North, Friday Harbor, WA at 11:00 am on Tuesday the 6th. Afterward there will be a site visit at the lighthouse.

This meeting is for the contractors to understand the scope of work, construction site conditions and local resources so they can prepare their bid proposals. Work could start as early as March but no schedule will be established until after a contractor is selected early next year.

I will be available briefly at the Grange Hall if you have any questions.

Stephen McGrath, P.E.
USCG Civil Engineering Unit Oakland
1301 Clay Street, Suite 700N
Oakland, CA 94612
510-637-5560 office
510-290-9573 cell

Sam’s Books

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 5:46 am by

From the SJ Update mailbag this morning, Emily Geyman shares this with you…

mailbagSam R. Buck II, who recently passed away, lived almost all of his 89 years on San Juan Island and wrote a trilogy of books which give a unique perspective of life in the islands from the 1920s to today.

The Bucks Stopped Here is the story of the Buck family beginning with Sam’s father who served four terms as County Attorney, 1920-28 and 1930-38, his contributions to county government and the role of his son, Sam Buck II, in the real estate economy of the islands.

Sam Sr. and Barbara Buck - Contributed photo

Sam Sr. and Barbara Buck – Contributed photo

Every Day Is An Adventure: Growing Up on San Juan Island offers intriguing stories of what Sam and his friends did for fun, e.g. camping at Jakle’s Lagoon as children, fishing for dogfish livers and netting rabbits as teenagers and much more.

A Letter to the People of Our Amazing and Wonderful San Juan Islands relates the history of the islands and islanders from 1873 to changes in the economy and government in the 1960s and 1970s to 2016 and proposes new directions for county government.

The trilogy is available at Griffin Bay Books and Island Studios in Friday Harbor.


Posted on December 2, 2016 at 5:40 am by

opalco-logoOPALCO Board to Host Tea Talk At San Juan Library

OPALCO Board members Vince Dauciunas, Mark Madsen and Winnie Adams are hosting a Tea Talk event on Tuesday, December 6th at the San Juan Island Library from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Bring your questions and enjoy tea and conversation.

There will not be a formal presentation, but Board members will be available to answer questions and provide information on OPALCO topics.


NEW Elections & Governance Committee – JOIN NOW!

Volunteer Opportunity for Members to Nominate Board Candidates

As proposed by Co-op members this fall, a new volunteer member committee has been created to nominate candidates to OPALCO’s Board of Directors. The Elections & Governance Committee is a year-round volunteer member committee charged with recruiting candidates for Board elections – and will also serve periodically as a member review committee for issues such as board compensation and bylaw updates.

OPALCO members in good standing are eligible to volunteer for this Committee, which will be composed of three members from each of the three County Council districts (San Juan, Orcas and Lopez/ Shaw) and including the outer islands associated with each of those districts. Committee terms will be three years, on a rotating basis, for greater continuity. Read More »

Free Tax Presentation

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 5:39 am by

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

There will be a Free Tax Presentation sponsored by the Washington State Department of Revenue which is targeted to companies in the Building Trades.

This event is scheduled for Friday December 9, 2016 from 9:00 to noon at the Islanders Bank Administration Building Community Room.

Auditors from DOR will be discussing charging retail sales and use tax as it applies specifically to companies involved in the building trades. They can provide information on B&O Tax too.

Work Party on Cady Mountain Preserve

Posted on December 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm by

Beauty and the Beast - Contributed photos

Beauty and the Beast – Contributed photos

Hello Oakies! It’s hard to believe we’re entering into our last work month of 2016 – thank you for all the pruning, limbing, hauling, and camaraderie this year. Your support is greatly appreciated! The next couple work parties will focus on protecting our little dears from those browsing big deers.

  • When?
    Sundays, December 11 & 18
    10:00am to 2:00pm
    RSVP required (e-mail Tanja at tanjaw @
  • Where
    Base of Cady Mountain Preserve – turn on to Cady Mountain Road off of West Valley Road. We’ll meet at the triangle junction about 100 yards from West Valley.
  • What
    Caging young oaks
    Cleaning existing caged oaks
  • Bring/Wear
    Hand pruners
    Plant trowel or Hori Hori
    Weather appropriate clothing

Mullis Center Serves Up Hot Lunches and Delivers Meals on Wheels

Posted on December 1, 2016 at 5:55 am by

Mullis Center Kitchen Crew Callie Daniel McKay, Ben Spaulding, Carolyn Adler, Eugene Cuomo - Photo Peggy Sue McRae

Mullis Center Kitchen Crew Preparing Meals on Wheels: Callie Daniel McKay, Ben Spaulding, Carolyn Adler, Eugene Cuomo – Photo PS McRae

On Monday I had lunch at the Mullis Center. Lunches are served on Mondays and Thursdays at 11:45. It’s an inexpensive hot meal, $5 for seniors $6 for everyone else (all are welcome), and it comes with a choice of beverages, salad, and desert. On the menu Monday was Hungarian goulash over noodles, a good meal for a late November day.

From the Salad Bar - Photo Peggy Sue McRae

From the Salad Bar – Photo PS McRae

I got to the Mullis Center just in time to see the kitchen crew serving up “meals on wheels” to be delivered to homebound Islanders in need of a prepared meal. If you or someone you know is unable to get out, requesting this service (call the Mullis Center at 378-2677) may help. Frozen meals are also available on request and donations are appreciated to help cover the cost.

Monday happened to be the monthly birthday lunch in celebration of all November birthdays. Birthday lunch is usually celebrated on the last Thursday of the month but because Thursday was Thanksgiving… we got cake on Monday. The cake is thanks to Chris Luma who purchases cakes at Costco and delivers them to The Mullis Center as a donation each month. Thank you Chris! I had the chocolate and boy was it tasty.

Raffle Prize - Photo PS McRae

Raffle Prize – Photo PS McRae

Lunch at the Mullis Center is a fun sociable way to share a good meal, visit a few old timers (I’m including myself in that category) or meet some new people. My handsome Uncle Wally met his third wife at these lunches. Plus there is the raffle run by garage sale maven Pat Ball. For only 50 cents you can buy a raffle ticket and when your ticket number is called, choose from a table of treasures, some donated others gathered by Pat. With my lucky ticket on Monday I went home with the most adorable Teddy Bear!

Mullis Center lunch menus are posted in the Senior Signal newsletter and also on the San Juan Calendar. To see more photos from Monday’s lunch link to The Mullis Center Facebook Page.

Nana’s Holiday House

Posted on December 1, 2016 at 5:45 am by

Nana's Holiday House at 165 First Street - Contributed photo

Nana’s Holiday House at 165 First Street – Contributed photo

Nana’s Holiday House is opening for the 4th year in the same location as last year, next door to the Rumor Mill. For those who haven’t shopped here before, we welcome all kids under 18 to shop for their families for the holidays. All items are $1.00 to $10.00 and are new or handmade items.

The store will be open December 1st through the 23rd from 3:00 to 5 “ish” on school days, from 11:00 to 5:00 on weekends and 1:00 to 5:00 on school holidays. There are gifts for everyone in the family and parents are encouraged to bring the kids in and have some cookies in the “parent’s lounge” while their kids shop. We wrap the gifts and the kids tag them. Please send your older kids in too, they’ll love it and find some incredible gifts for under $10.00!

All the profits from this store go back to the community. Last year’s profits went for high school & college scholarships, middle and elementary school special projects, school supplies, food and gas cards to community associations, gift certificates, bill paying and funds for families in need, and group swimming lessons to name a few.

Although it’s nice to give back to the community, the main focus of Nana’s House is to give kids of all ages an opportunity to learn about the joy of giving and to create special memories for the entire family. A big thank you to the community for supporting us in so many ways.


Street and Sidewalk Improvements Coming Soon

Written on December 1, 2016 at 5:42 am, by

Town of Friday Harbor Receives Two Grants totaling $1.2 Million for Rebuild of Web Street and A Street and for sidewalk on Nichols The Town of Friday Harbor is pleased to announce that it has received two grant awards in the total amount of $1,200,000 from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board. The first grant  Continue Reading

Help Wanted Chief Scientist Dec16

Help Wanted

Written on December 1, 2016 at 5:40 am, by

We have an immediate opening for a Chief Scientist. The Chief Scientist is responsible for the technical direction of Luxel’s ultra-thin film deposition processes. The position is hands-on in the lab, while also including extensive customer contact and sales support. Domestic and international travel is required several times per year. The ability to juggle multiple  Continue Reading

Andrea Hampton in her Salty Fox Coffee  - Tim Dustrude photo

Salty Fox Coffee

Written on November 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm, by

Andrea Hampton is the new owner of the coffee shop down there by the ferry landing. It used to be Far North Cafe owned by Eric Bienenstock and The Doctor’s Office owned by Mary Nash before that. Andrea, who worked for Eric for about a year and half, and who you may also know from  Continue Reading

Victoria Compton (L) of the EDC presents Addie Miller with her First Place certificate - Tim Dustrude photo


Written on November 30, 2016 at 9:26 am, by

Addie Miller took first place and a $2000 prize in the Economic Development Council’s 2nd Annual Business Plan Competition for her women’s comfort clothing company, Tush & Bush. Kris Brown of Printonyx took second place and $1300 for an online printing-ordering business, tentatively named Isle Print (but don’t write that name in ink just yet). Third  Continue Reading


Committed to Conservation

Written on November 30, 2016 at 5:53 am, by

Local Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour Companies Donate $24,000 to Orca and Salmon Conservation  Friday Harbor, WA – San Juan Safaris and San Juan Island Outfitters, two local whale watch and sea kayak tour companies, are giving back to killer whale and salmon conservation and research. As highlighted by the recent decline in the Southern  Continue Reading


Children’s Festival Organizers Needed

Written on November 30, 2016 at 5:47 am, by

Plans are just beginning for the San Juan Island Children’s Festival scheduled for May 6, 2017 and people willing to work as a team, committed to creating this fun filled festival dedicated to celebrating children are needed. The Children’s Festival attracts over 1,200 people and is in its 27th year as a hallmark event for San  Continue Reading


NEW! Women’s Boxing for Fitness Classes at SJI Fitness

Written on November 30, 2016 at 5:42 am, by

BooBoo James and Shannon Miniken are now offering women’s boxing for fitness circuit training classes at San Juan Island Fitness. “These classes are for anyone, any fitness level, from the experienced athlete looking for a new challenge, to the woman who’s never done a push up,” said BooBoo James, who’s been teaching these classes for  Continue Reading


Today is Giving Tuesday!

Written on November 29, 2016 at 5:55 am, by

We are reposting this because today is the day that fees are waived and all of your donation goes directly to the PTO… On November 21, Friday Harbor Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) launched their Second Annual Deposit a Gift Fundraiser. The FHES PTO provides all elementary school field trip bus services and serves as  Continue Reading


High School Basketball Tournament

Written on November 29, 2016 at 5:44 am, by

This Friday kicks off the 3rd Annual Friday Harbor High School Basketball “Tip Off” Classic Tournament! Purple & Gold will be tailgating both Friday and Saturday. Come watch some exciting basketball, enjoy delicious pulled pork sandwiches Friday night and hamburgers/hotdogs for lunch on Saturday. The tournament schedule is below. Friday December 2nd (Home team in  Continue Reading

Merri Ann Simonson - Contributed photo

Rental Investment Options for San Juan Island

Written on November 29, 2016 at 5:31 am, by

Merri Ann Simonson shares these real estate tips with you… If you are contemplating buying a rental investment on island, one of the Roche Harbor Resort homes or parcels should be on the list for consideration. In 2005 I purchased a two bedroom rental house in the resort and have been very pleased with my  Continue Reading

Diners enjoy a feast at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner - Contributed photo

No Place Like Home

Written on November 28, 2016 at 5:52 am, by

In the SJ Update mailbag today, it’s Jim and Minnie Knych with this note to share with you… It is very satisfying to know that, in good times or bad times, easy times or hard times, there is no place we would rather be than Friday Harbor. For the past eighteen years, we have shared  Continue Reading

Airlift NW chopper - Tim Dustrude photo

Island Air Ambulance or Airlift NW?

Written on November 28, 2016 at 5:51 am, by

Recommendation: Sign up for both med-evac services As island residents consider which of two med-evac services to pay for, the answer given unanimously at last week’s public hospital district board meeting was “Both.” Commissioner Michael Edwards likened it to wearing both suspenders and a belt, saying “not to have the support of both is folly.”  Continue Reading


SJCT Holiday Gala Event

Written on November 28, 2016 at 5:46 am, by

  San Juan Community Theatre’s annual Holiday Festival on Saturday, December 3 brings island and theater friends together to embrace the joy of the holidays and help keep the Theatre thriving at the same time. The nonprofit theatre’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Festival features gourmet food, silent and live auctions and island entertainment.  Continue Reading

Roxy is this week's Pet of the Week - Contributed photo

Pet of the Week

Written on November 28, 2016 at 5:42 am, by

Hello sailor. New in town? Looking for some company on these long, winter nights? I know I am… My name is Roxy and I’m currently rooming at the “APS-FH Boarding House for Discriminating Young Women”, otherwise known as the animal shelter. I’m quiet, discreet, loyal and a real looker, if I do say so myself.  Continue Reading

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