New CAO for PIMC

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 5:52 am by

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Merry Ann Keane - Contributed photo

Merry Ann Keane – Contributed photo

Merry-Ann Keane named chief administrative officer for PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center

Merry-Ann Keane, MSN, BSN, RN, has been named interim chief administrative officer for PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center, following the retirement last month of Jim Barnhart.

Prior to joining PeaceHealth in 2012 as nurse manager of the Childbirth Center at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, much of Keane’s early nursing and management career was in southern British Columbia, where she held a variety of positions increasing in responsibility.

Keane holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree, which she earned at the University of British Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She also is certified in neonatal and perinatal nursing.

Keane is on the board of the United Way of San Juan County and is a member of the local Soroptimist International chapter.

She and her husband, Liam, live on San Juan Island and have one adult daughter.

Pet of the Week

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 5:50 am by

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

Elliott is this week’s Pet of the Week – Contributed photo

Hello Friday Harbor! My name is Elliott. I’m about 3 months old and I already have my own tennis ball and a personal trainer.

I’ve actually been compared to Andre Agassi. I’m looking for a doubles partner – do you play? The ball is in your court, my friend.

Let’s start with Love-Love. Stop by the animal shelter to meet me soon! I’ll just be here practicing my serve until you get here.

Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor
111 Shelter Road
(360) 378-2158


Fair Vendors, Apply Now!

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 5:44 am by

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fair-vendors-2016The San Juan County Fair is now accepting vendor booth registration for the 2016 Fair.

Are you an island artisan selling handmade goods? Is your local business looking to advertise? The Fair is the place to do it!

If you are interested, please visit our website for more information on becoming a vendor.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the biggest county-wide event of the year!

OPALCO Programs Help Low-Income Households

Posted on February 8, 2016 at 5:38 am by

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OPALCO’s Energy Assist Credit and Project PAL Step Up to Help Low-Income Households

opalco-logoDid you notice the new line item on your January bill from OPALCO? All co-op members began paying about 45 cents per month (average residential bill) to fund the new Energy Assistance Credit to help qualified low-income households pay their electric bills. This “Energy Assist” program provides a bill credit of $10-$25 per month (depending on household size) every month of the year to members who meet the qualifications for other assistance programs such as Federal Free Lunch, LIHEAP or OPALCO’s Project PAL.

The rising cost of living is a county-wide issue. OPALCO’s Low-Income Needs Assessment in 2015 identified housing as the number one affordability issue, with combined utilities coming in fifth on the list. OPALCO is doing its part and encourages other utilities and organizations to step up to address the affordability gap for a sustainable and vibrant community.

The application for the Energy Assist program is available online (PDF), and paper copies can be picked up at your local OPALCO offices and at island Family Resource and Senior Centers. Applications will begin to be processed by the end of February 2016.

“This well thought-out program will really help low-income households to manage the recent increase in energy costs,” said Erin O’Dell, Executive Director of the Orcas Community Resource Center where she often refers clients to Project PAL. “There is a need for both programs, Energy Assist and Project PAL, to meet the growing affordability gap in our community.” Read More »

Rock Island Working With T-Mobile

Posted on February 7, 2016 at 5:26 am by

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Here’s the latest press release from OPALCO and Rock Island…

Rock Island Working With T-Mobile To Accelerate Wireless Internet Services

T-Mobile To Offer Cellular Service In San Juan County

Rock Island will deliver on its promise to bring wireless services to both home and business users in San Juan County via LTE Fixed Wireless by working with T-Mobile USA, Inc.

“This is a win-win collaboration. We gain the ability to provide fixed LTE to our customers and T-Mobile customers now get expanded 4G LTE service in San Juan County. For the first time, we will now have true, contiguous cellular coverage in this rural island community,” says Gerry Lawlor, EVP of Rock Island.

T-Mobile brings their extensive design and engineering experience to the effort, as well as core and radio networks, equipment, maintenance and support while OPALCO/Rock Island provides the installation services, power and fiber infrastructure. Both parties are bringing wireless spectrum to collectively expand wireless capability to islanders. There is no financial exchange in this agreement.

“Bellevue-based T-Mobile is rapidly expanding its wireless network, more than doubling its LTE coverage in the past year. As a part of its coverage expansion, T-Mobile launched Extended Range LTE, using the same type of 700 MHz spectrum that OPALCO purchased in 2014.  T-Mobile’s experience and proven track record substantially reduce the risk for Rock Island’s start-up operations, and provide the ability to get to market with superior fixed LTE wireless services,” says Foster Hildreth, General Manager of both OPALCO and Rock Island. “Rock Island will dramatically improve communications for first responders resulting in better public safety county-wide. This will be equally beneficial for people dialing into 911.” Read More »

White-Out Senior Night Basketball Series

Posted on February 6, 2016 at 6:05 am by

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Brook Ashcraft of Friday Harbor High School shares this story and photos…

Lady Wolverines - Brook Ashcraft photo

Lady Wolverines – Brook Ashcraft photo

At our White-Out Senior Night basketball series, our fans came pumped and our players came ready. The varsity Lady Wolverines started the night off with an intense game. Neck and neck throughout all four quarters, these marvelous ladies came out with a victory over La Conner. With 7 seconds to go and the ball to La Conner, our very own #32 Cierra Bailey intercepted a pass and prevented a last minute score by the other team. The end score was 33-30.


Our varsity boys team followed. The boys played with heart, intensity, and brought all they had and more to the court even though the score board didn’t say so. The game ended with a loss of 44-53. Many of the points by both teams were 3-pointers. Spotlight on our own Isaac Meyer #4 and John Gustafson #23, who both kept their heads in the game and showed all of us their skills.

The FH cheer squad kept the crowd pepped up and put on a show for us at half time.

A big salute to all of our incredible seniors. Thank you for working hard and bringing pride to our school. We appraciate you.

  • Girls Basketball
    • Allie Galt #12
    • Madi Kincaid #24
    • Lili Wood #22
    • Taylor Turnbull #14
    • Ilaria Verri #40
  • Beloved manager
    • Samantha Finch
  • Boys Basketball
    • Jordan Davis #34
    • Luke Stromberg #15
    • Kyle Janguard #44
    • Stanley Patrick #33
    • Danil Sonjaya #10
  • Cheer
    • Cassie Rude – Senior Captain
    • Megan Ruesch – Senior Captain

Click the link for more photos. Read More »

What We’re Reading

Posted on February 6, 2016 at 5:39 am by

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What Aaron's reading - Aaron Shepard photo

What Aaron’s reading – Aaron Shepard photo

One of the pet projects of Update photographer Aaron Shepard is to take candid shots of people reading downtown and around the harbor. Later, when he zooms into the cover, he can sometimes easily identify the book being read. Other times, he might see only bits of the title or author’s name, and then identifying the book becomes a game. A little searching on the internet is usually enough to find a match for the cover.

Aaron has now posted some of those shots on his blog, An Islander’s Eye, with the books identified in the captions. He also included one photo with a book he couldn’t identify. Maybe you can help! (San Juan Library Director Laurie Orton has already left one guess in the comments.)

Check it out and see if you can guess the book.

SVC Spring Quarter Registration

Posted on February 6, 2016 at 5:19 am by

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Skagit Valley CollegeRegistration for Skagit Valley College Spring Quarter begins February 9th.

  • Registration for Returning Students begins February 9th
  • Registration for New Advised Students begins Feb. 25th.
  • Open Enrollment begins March 10th.
  • Classes begin April 5th.

For students who want to begin a new career or upgrade their job skills, Professional/Technical programs are aligned with local and state economic development strategies. High demand areas include:

SVC also offers Academic Transfer pathways for students who want to begin their college experience and earn a bachelor’s degree. By completing two years at SVC and then transferring to a four-year university, students can study close to home and save money, compared to tuition at a four-year college or university.

Get the most up-to-date list of all available courses, visit .

For more information about programs and degrees, financial aid, career options, campus tours, and getting started. For more information, visit or contact:

  • Mount Vernon Campus, (360) 416-7697 or toll free: 1 844 2SKAGIT
  • Whidbey Island Campus, (360) 675-6656
  • South Whidbey Center, (360) 679-5330
  • San Juan Center, (360) 378-3220
  • Marine Technology Center, (360) 766-6282
Grace Willows - Contributed photo

Grace Wins Clarinet Competition

Written on February 5, 2016 at 5:56 am, by

Just heard that Grace Willows of Friday Harbor entered the high school regional classical music competition and won in her division. Here she is at the San Juan Music Educators Association woodwind solo competition, on January 30, 2016. This performance of the Weber Clarinet Concertino accompanied by Dorothy Baker (piano), won first place and advanced  Continue Reading

Peter Cavanagh photo

How Birds Fly: Photographs and Stories

Written on February 5, 2016 at 5:48 am, by

Barbara Jensen, president of SJI Audubon invites you to this lecture on bird flight this weekend… Join us for “How Birds Fly: Photographs and Stories” with Peter Cavanagh.  Saturday, Feb. 6, 7:00 p.m., Brickworks (150 Nichols St.) in Friday Harbor Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:30 p.m., Orcas Center (917 Mt. Baker Road) in Eastsound Birds fly through our lives every day, their  Continue Reading


Wolverine Winter Playoff Update

Written on February 5, 2016 at 5:36 am, by

Rod Turnbull, Athletic Director at FHHS shares these sports updates with you… The ferry system will be able to accommodate an unscheduled stop at Orcas for the 7:30 ferry leaving Friday Harbor on February 10th. So we will host both Orcas boys and girls on Wednesday, February 10th for the first round of the District playoffs.  Our  Continue Reading


New Street Crossings

Written on February 4, 2016 at 5:59 am, by

You may have noticed some new crosswalks around town lately. These are all part of the Town’s commitment to safer walking routes. The most obvious ones are on Guard Street at the intersection with Marguerite, and on Spring Street at the intersection of Mullis Street – these 2 new crosswalks include lighted signs that blink  Continue Reading


America’s Boating Course

Written on February 4, 2016 at 5:53 am, by

Mark your calendar now for the FREE boating course coming up in March. The Friday Harbor Power Squadron will be offering instruction for this class for Free – the only cost is for  the course materials. Get your Boater Education Card (required to operate any boat with an engine of 15hp or more.) What is  Continue Reading

The 8th Grade Team at last year's Knowledge Bowl - Contributed photo

Knowledge Bowl 2016

Written on February 4, 2016 at 5:45 am, by

Mark your calendar – the 22nd annual Knowledge Bowl will be held on Monday, February 8, at the San Juan Community Theatre. Our fabulous Friday Harbor Jazz Band will begin performing at 6:30 and the FH Middle School PTA will be offering baked treats in the lobby before and during the event. There will be  Continue Reading


The Oak Team

Written on February 4, 2016 at 5:43 am, by

Work Party II on Cady Mountain Preserve Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so it’s official – early spring! Good thing The Oak Team got an early start a couple weeks ago. The momentum continues THIS Sunday and Thom (and the rest of the Oakies) are looking forward to working with you to make space  Continue Reading

Letter About School Levy

Written on February 4, 2016 at 5:33 am, by

Schoolboard chair June Arnold shares this letter… Over the past week I was asked a question regarding the pending Levy which seemed important enough to share with the community:  there seems to be a belief the school district never hires local contractors for any of their construction projects, and therefore island residents should not support  Continue Reading

Snow on Lopez 100 years ago this month - SJ Historical Museum photo

The Big Snow

Written on February 3, 2016 at 5:50 am, by

Here’s this month’s history column from the San Juan Historical Society and Museum… We wish we had a photo of San Juan Island in The Big Snow of 1916, but featuring this one taken on Lopez Island may jog someone’s memory that they have a photo we can digitize and preserve in the San Juan  Continue Reading

Andy Holman - Contributed photo

New Business in the County

Written on February 3, 2016 at 5:48 am, by

There’s a new business in San Juan County: Holman Land Surveying, Inc. Andy Holman, a third-generation land surveyor, is pleased to announce the formation of his new business, Holman Land Surveying, Inc. Andy is a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in Washington and specializes in all aspects of land surveying, from initial research and field data  Continue Reading


Men at Work Department

Written on February 3, 2016 at 5:43 am, by

On First Street, in front of Pelindaba and The Golden Triangle, the Town of Friday Harbor is installing a storm water vault under the sidewalk and a new LA style storm drain (curb opening rather than street grate). These are in response to local business requests, as this is the low point for storm events that  Continue Reading

Click to enlarge

Upcoming Hospice Training

Written on February 3, 2016 at 5:35 am, by

Hospice of San Juan honors the end of life by offering ‘care and comfort’ services to people with chronic, debilitating or terminal illness so that they may remain at home and live with comfort and dignity. Our volunteers provide planned respite for family caregiver. We are offering a Core Training on Saturday, February 20th and  Continue Reading

Merri Ann Simonson - Contributed photo

Thinking about selling your property?

Written on February 3, 2016 at 5:31 am, by

Merri Ann Simonson checks in with these tips on selling your property… Thinking about selling your property? You may want to consider researching, collecting and completing the items detailed below. This is not a check list for planting flowers on your porch and painting your front door, you can go to the internet for that  Continue Reading


EDC, SJIVB offer workshop on brochure design

Written on February 2, 2016 at 5:50 am, by

The San Juan County Economic Development Council (EDC), in partnership with the San Juan Islands Visitors’ Bureau (SJIVB,) are offering two free workshops entitled Effective Design for Tourism, February 23rd and 24th on San Juan Island and Orcas Island. The workshops will be presented by Jill Andrews of Certified Folder Display Service, Inc., brochure distribution and display service  Continue Reading

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