Remembering Granny and DoubleStuf

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 5:52 am by

This is shared with you from the Whale Museum…

Photo collage of Granny and members of the Southern Resident orcas by Jeanne Hyde – Click to enlarge

It is with great respect we say goodbye to Granny (J-2). She led her community through many trying times, from captures, industrialization, to the current depletion of their main food source Chinook salmon.

Granny was there through the thick of it all and she taught and passed on her knowledge to others. She also liked to have fun! Whether cartwheeling, breaching, or surrounded by others she was a joy to see. The question would often arise, “Has anyone see Granny today?”

She might have been in the lead by a mile, mixed in with others or trailing behind but Granny was always there with J Pod. We humans expressed concern about her, our orca friend. After all, she was one of our family.

The time came when encounter after encounter, the question was asked if anyone had seen Granny. The reply came in the form of silence. That silence grew until it was confirmed that Granny was missing. She had not been seen in over two months and was believed to be deceased (announcement by the Center for Whale Research, December 31, 2016).

Many are sharing their memories and photos of Granny. Please join them by submitting your Granny stories and/or photos here: They will contribute to a permanent exhibit at The Whale Museum so others can learn about Granny and how she touched the lives of so many people over the years.

* * *

Photo collage of DoubleStuf and members of the Southern Resident orcas by Jeanne Hyde – Click to enlarge

We also have to say goodbye to DoubleStuf (J-34) whose death was unexpected and truly shocking. He was first seen in Puget Sound in early December, 1997 and died December 20, 2016.

His body was found near Sechelt, B.C. Initial necropsy results conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada determined he died of blunt force trauma. Necropsy updates will be posted here when they become available. 

DoubleStuf traveled close to his mother Oreo (J-22). He had a tall narrow dorsal fin, was just coming into adulthood, and was often seen chasing after a salmon. This beautiful whale will be greatly missed.

Bits & Spurs Says Thanks!

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 5:48 am by

Bits & Spurs club members show off their new hoodies – Contributed photo

Nancy Ballman shares this news from the local 4-H horse club “Bits & Spurs”…

Thanks to a generous donation from Islanders Bank and the helpful assistance of Alexandra Sherlock, Bits & Spurs was able to purchase new 4-H club hoodies which you will be able to see them wearing when they ride at the fair.

They would like to say a big Thank You to Islanders Bank and Alexandra! 

Bits & Spurs is the local 4-H Horsemanship club – a non profit group who meet monthly and have project horses that they take care of year-round. It is their responsibility to make sure the horses are fed and their stalls are cleaned daily. They also go to clinics and ride together as much as possible. They keep a project book up to date and turn it in before the Fair and then show their horses at the Fair. They also do a demonstration and a community project.

Nancy hopes to get the word out about this group to try and get more members. Their next meeting will be in February and will be announced on Facebook. To learn more about the group, visit the local 4H web site.

Merri Ann’s SJI Lifestyle Video Series

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 5:40 am by

Merri Ann Simonson shares another SJI Lifestyle video. This one offers tips on what some islanders do in the fall and winter.  Because not everyone goes to Hawaii or Mexico.

2017 Accessory Dwelling Unit Eligibility Deadline

Posted on January 20, 2017 at 5:37 am by

San Juan County Department of Community Development (DCD) is accepting applications for detached ADU permits proposed outside of urban growth areas and activity centers until 4:30 pm February 13 2017.  There are 8 permits for the construction of new ADUs and 2 permits for the conversion of existing accessory structures, legally in existence for five years.

DCD’s ADU eligibility application form must be completed and submitted along with the fee of $245. This form is available at or can be provided by DCD.

Complete applications must be submitted to DCD in person at DCD’s office during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm (except holidays), at 135 Rhone Street, Friday Harbor, Washington, or by mail at P.O. Box 947, 98250.

If needed, a lottery will take place on March 8, 2017 and will be open to the public. The time and place will be noted on the DCD website ten days prior to the drawing. Applications received after February 13 are ineligible for the lottery, but will be added to a waitlist.  
Questions? (360) 378-2354 or email

Home Trust Board Orientation

Posted on January 19, 2017 at 5:50 am by

Steve Ulvi, Bob Kleven, Attilio Galli, Dina Melic, Bridget Nyberg, Peter Goddu, Gay Graham, Sarah Crosby, Steve Bowman. Not pictured are Chinmayo, Chary Caren, Maia Yip and Executive Director Nancy DeVaux – Contributed photo

The San Juan Community Home Trust held its New Board Member Orientation on Saturday, January 14th. The purpose of the meeting was both to inform new members of our Mission, History and Responsibilities, and to bring all of us to a similar level of understanding of the nuts and bolts of Home Trust operations. All came away with renewed energy to serve affordable housing needs on the island, given that the County Council and other non-profits have made the issue a top priority for 2017.

Executive Director Nancy DeVaux began by giving a history of the organization and some of the unique aspects of each of the three neighborhoods developed by the Home Trust, including our state of the art LOSS (Large Onsite Sewer System) in Sun Rise. Dina Melic and Chinmayo spoke of the Ambassador Program to which they have been appointed, and which lobbies national legislators on affordable housing issues. Peter Goddu spoke of the legal responsibilities of board members; Attilio Galli spoke of fiduciary matters; Gay Graham spoke about Fundraising, the ongoing job of members of nonprofit boards.

In talking about our neighborhoods and how they benefit San Juan Island, notable points made:

  • Home ownership of a permanently affordable home allows wealth building on the part of islanders. Some have been able to start businesses, not having had to use as high a percentage of their income on housing. Others have sold and moved into market rate homes, having had the stability and time to build equity while owning a permanently affordable home.
  • Home Trust homeowners pay property taxes on the assessed fair-market value of their homes, contributing to the tax base of the island.

Accompanied by pastries and copious amounts of coffee and questions, the Orientation was an intense but very productive 4 hours session.

Valentine’s Day Dinner

Posted on January 19, 2017 at 5:48 am by

The restaurant at Friday Harbor House is having a special on Valentine’s Day. Here they are with more on that…

Join the restaurant at Friday Harbor House for a Valentine’s celebration to remember. Enjoy a champagne toast on arrival, followed by 5-courses of scintillating cuisine inspired by the flavors of love and natural aphrodisiacs. The menu will be revealed upon arrival to make for an exciting and delectable evening.

Tuesday, February 14, 2016 | 5pm – 9pm
$99 per person and champagne on arrival; optional $35 wine pairing.

Reservations highly recommended. Taxes and gratuity not included. Wine pairing available for purchase upon arrival.

Annual Homeless Count to be completed on January 26th

Posted on January 19, 2017 at 5:44 am by

San Juan County’s 2017 Point in Time Homeless Count will be conducted on Thursday, January 26th. Count organizers and volunteers work with local family resource centers, food banks, churches, healthcare providers, senior centers, libraries, the sheriff’s office, and many other community support service providers to conduct the count. The count, initiated by the State of Washington in 2005 (RCW43.185C.030), is conducted annually at the end of January. 

Last year’s count identified 104 individuals in San Juan County, 58 of whom were living out of doors, in vehicles, in abandoned buildings, or buildings unfit for human habitation. The remaining 46 people were staying in temporary, unstable living arrangements, often with friends or family. Results of previous counts can be viewed on the Washington State Department of Commerce website under Annual Point in Time Count

If you have questions or would like to help with the count, please contact Ryan Page, San Juan County Affordable Housing Coordinator, Health & Community Services at 370-0590 or email at

Annual Point in Time Count

Numbers from Christmas Bird Count

Posted on January 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm by

Michael, Nancy and Barb counting birds on 12/31/2016 – Tim Dustrude photo

Here’s a note from Barbara Jensen about the recent Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count…

I have finally crunched the numbers for the CBC and even though the weather was not the best, lots of areas were covered and lots of birds seen, here are some of the highlights:

  • 81 people participated, in 32 parties and 12 feeder counts.
  • They spent almost 80 hours on foot and covered over 75 miles.
  • 10 hours were spent on boats and covered over 40 miles!
  • Almost 170 miles were traveled by car in 34 hours.

Barb, Max, Blake, Michael, Jeanette and Nancy – Tim Dustrude photo

Species Highlights: Numbers were generally down due to stormy weather but 114 species were seen.
There were several high numbers (highest recorded numbers for any count): Cackling Goose, Black Turnstone, Mew Gull, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird (124! and only a few years ago they were not on the count), Northern Flicker, Western Bluebird (first year on the count), Townsend’s Solitaire, Slat-colored Junco (a first), White-crowned Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbird.

The White Crowned Sparrow had high numbers on the bird count this year – Tim Dustrude photo

I was surprised there was not the usual Turkey Vulture on Lopez and there was only one Peregrine Falcon in the count. The Burrowing Owl at American Camp left before the count, darn.

I want to send a huge thank you to everyone who braved the weather and especially want to thank Kim Middleton, our Orcas coordinator and Beth St. George our Lopez coordinator as they put so much work and enthusiasm into the project.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope to see you on one of our field trips.

See detailed information here. (PDF)

Downy Woodpecker – Tim Dustrude photo

Stay Home if You’re Sick

Written on January 18, 2017 at 4:12 pm, by

San Juan County Health and Community Services Urges Public Action to Prevent Spread of Influenza Flu cases are on the rise in San Juan County, although we are not currently seeing the epidemic levels reported in other parts of Washington state.  San Juan County Health & Community Services urge flu vaccine as the first line  Continue Reading

The Wizard of OZ

Written on January 18, 2017 at 5:43 am, by

Take the original story and music from the original motion picture, add a little steampunk to the costumes, a little modern technology to the set and some 60 local youth, and you have THE WIZARD of OZ, island and San Juan Community Theatre-style! Directed by Jenni Merritt, the FHHS & FHMS production opens this Thursday,  Continue Reading

Beachwalkers Wanted For COASST

Written on January 17, 2017 at 5:57 am, by

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) will deliver two free training sessions: one focused on beached birds and one focused on marine debris. The Beached Bird training will be held in Eastsound, WA on Saturday, January 28 and the Marine Debris training will be held in Friday Harbor, WA on Sunday, January 29.  Continue Reading

Women’s March on Friday Harbor

Written on January 17, 2017 at 5:53 am, by

From the kitchen to the streets: these heels and pearls are made for walking… Residents of the San Juan Islands are coming together to support human rights and the environment in our county and our country. A community march is planned for Saturday, January 21st at 12:00pm noon. This march is in conjunction with the  Continue Reading

Chair Yoga at the Mullis Center

Written on January 17, 2017 at 5:51 am, by

Peggy Sue McRae shares this story… On Friday I went to the chair yoga class at the Mullis Center. Chair yoga is a gentle alternative to getting-down-on-the-floor yoga. Whether you have physical limitations or would like to learn yoga that you can do at your desk, chair yoga offers yoga’s benefits without the strain. Teaching the class  Continue Reading

Progress on the Zylstra Lake Purchase

Written on January 17, 2017 at 5:46 am, by

The Land Bank shares more good news… We Won! We Won! Fun Fact: on January 5, 1933, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge began in the San Francisco bay. Fast forward to January 5, 2017: Zylstra Lake, on San Juan Island, was awarded a $1 million federal coastal wetlands grant from the US Fish and Wildlife  Continue Reading

SJI Real Estate Market Summary

Written on January 17, 2017 at 5:32 am, by

Merri Ann Simonson shares some real estate numbers… In reviewing the year-end results for 2016, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $251,020,953 which reflects an increase in volume of 16.4% over 2015 when the volume was $215,561,667. The percentage of growth this  Continue Reading

Rosie the Lamb

Written on January 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm, by

Michelle Loftus from the Animal Inn shares this photo… This lamb was born January 10th. Her name is Rosie. She weighed about 9 pounds. Have any other ranchers beat us for the first of the year? Michelle Loftus Animal Inn

Volunteer Orientations for Animal Shelter

Written on January 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm, by

The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor has announced it will hold two orientation sessions for those who would like to become volunteers. The organization is looking for two types of volunteers; the first to help at the shelter socializing animals, walking dogs, cleaning, and administrative tasks. The second group will help with events and  Continue Reading

The Land Bank’s First “Outer Island” Preserve

Written on January 16, 2017 at 5:50 am, by

The San Juan County Land Bank received a spectacular gift on December 28th, 2016: an 80-acre donation on Henry Island! Sarah Hart is generously donating the underlying fee interest in the property to the Land Bank, along with a conservation easement to the San Juan Preservation Trust. The new Preserve has two shorelines extending over  Continue Reading

Local Landmark Program

Written on January 16, 2017 at 5:48 am, by

Town of Friday Harbor launches local landmark program Owners of historic properties within the town limits are encouraged to consider landmarking their properties in a new landmark register program initiated by the Town of Friday Harbor. Historic landmark status is voluntary and may include eligibility for a growing number of preservation incentives, such as Special  Continue Reading

SJI Chamber Featured Member of the Month

Written on January 16, 2017 at 5:46 am, by

Paula West is a studio potter who lives on San Juan Island. Originally from Connecticut, Paula moved to San Juan Island in 1990 and in 1995 set up her small, home based ceramic studio. For the next 10 years she honed her craft and sold her work at regional art and craft shows while working  Continue Reading

Pet of the Week

Written on January 16, 2017 at 5:43 am, by

Dear dog lovers and those who appreciate the finer things in life,  Hello there. I’m Daphne. I’ve been living in a wonderful foster home here in Friday Harbor, but all good things must come to an end and I find myself in need of a more permanent arrangement. My therapist tells me I need to  Continue Reading

Ted Fitzgerald Resigns

Written on January 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm, by

Port of Friday Harbor Executive Director, Ted Fitzgerald has tendered his resignation to the Port Commission as of Wednesday, January 11. Ted sailed into Friday Harbor six months ago to take the reins at the Port.  In a statement to the press, the port commissioners related, “we enjoyed working with Ted and are grateful to  Continue Reading

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