Know Your Island Walk: Horse Trails on Mitchell Hill

Posted on September 18, 2018 at 6:16 am by

Sharon Towson on Cobe and Theresa Simendinger on Zanzibar enjoy the Mitchell Hill trails – Louise Dustrude photo

For September’s Know Your Island walk, follow San Juan Islander Theresa Simendinger and her horse Zanzibar on a walk along her favorite trail; the Horse Trails on Mitchell Hill. She will make stops along the way and tell us about building trails for horses, how to share the trail, what it is like to take care of a horse and her love for the outdoors.

Saturday, September 22, from 1-4pm
Meet at Horse Trail Rd. entrance, off of West Valley Rd.
Distance: about 3 miles
Terrain: Easy, wooded trails
Please leave the dogs a home for this hike.

Meet & Greet Author Susan Wingate at Griffin Bay Bookstore

Posted on September 18, 2018 at 6:15 am by

Susan Wingate – Contributed photo

Celebrating the publication of The Death of Vultures by Susan Wingate…

San Juan Islander Susan Wingate is launching her latest novel, The Death of Vultures, on Saturday, September 22, 2:00-4:00 pm at Griffin Bay Bookstore. If you’re an avid follower of Susan’s books, be sure to stop in the bookstore to chat with her and get your right-off-the press copy signed.

Letters for Upcoming Election

Posted on September 18, 2018 at 5:37 am by

You can see letters from individuals supporting our candidates at the links below. Letters are listed in chronological order. As more letters come in, this list will be updated so be sure to check back.

For Nick Power:
Colleen Kenimond
Don Hall

For Randy Gaylord: 
Lyn Perry
Don Drozd
Cathy Ferran
Norm Stamper

Keeping Your Balance With Tai Ji Quan

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm by

Stephanie Prima – Peggy Sue McRae photo

Stephanie Prima has a message for you… 

Open Letter to Gen-X’ers, Baby Boomers & The Silent Generationals

There is something subtle, almost unnoticeable, that happens to many people as we start to age. Even if we are walking daily and stay fairly active, we can still display this mark of aging.

Like a sneaky invader, age creeps in and gradually slows our reflexes, diminishes our limits of stability, alters our balance and gait. Our ankles aren’t as flexible, our steps are shorter, our arms don’t swing as wide as when we were younger.

Do you know someone who has tripped and fallen while walking a pet? Stumbled on an uneven trail or over a rug? Got knocked accidently from the side and went down? Perhaps these and other falls seem like no big deal, but in reality they should be a wake-up call.

I remember how my mother was so looking forward to moving out of her big home when she was finally free of her family obligations. But she fell in the bathroom one night, cracked her hip, and was never able to return home again.

Falls can cause serious injury, even death, can rack up medical expenses, and dash our dreams for a long, happy life. I’m sure you want you to have the strength and reflexes to catch yourself like when you were younger. That’s why I’m offering two classes in Tai Ji Quan: Moving For Better Balanceâ (TJQMBB), to retrain your body so you can continue to do what you love to do. I believe if my mom had this training, she would still be with me today. Read More »

Local Author Susan Wingate’s New Book is an Immediate Bestseller!

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 6:20 am by

Susan Wingate with Robert – Contributed photo

Wingate fans have been eagerly anticipating her new psychological thriller, The Death of Vultures, a book that has been rocketing up the bestseller list at Amazon since its release on Saturday.

Wingate’s books, are sometimes referred to as “psychological suspense women’s fiction.” I wondered if that was because both the protagonist and the author are female. Here is what Susan says… “Women’s fiction, specifically stories bending toward family drama and mystery, have always resonated in me. Since a kid, I enjoyed watching movies like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, reading Tennessee Williams, books like A Doll’s House, anything Hitchcock. Those stories got into my bones. I love stories about the human condition where family and character are central to the story’s theme.”

The Death of Vultures stands ready to deliver on those early inspirations. Here is an excerpt from the back cover…  “When daughter, Lily, dies from an apparent heroin overdose, Meg becomes embroiled in a world as exotic as it is criminal after getting swept up in the drug world.  When her husband ends up dead too, Meg has nothing left to lose and she goes on the hunt. But will she be the hunter or the hunted? Nothing is as it seems.”

Susan leaves a message for her readers on her Amazon page, a message that may make her work all the more intriguing to her island readers… “That you have added this story to your library means the world to me. Possibly, because this story goes deep into a fictional crime world that I’ve set on the island where we live. Like any community, our small island has a dark underbelly. In VULTURES, I’ve chosen to bring that darkness into the light. Of course, as a fictionalized tale one I hope rings true for the reader.” And from her webpage… “Question: Can a sense of place living on an island in the Pacific Northwest, where wildlife is as abundant as rain, not influence my writing? Simply put, place desperately influences my writing”.

As our island’s seasons turn toward the dark and rainy the time seems right to cozy up with a good thriller. Be fore-warned. I leave you with the words of James Rollins, New York Times bestseller of The Demon Crown… “ I’m still reeling after finishing Susan Wingate’s latest, The Death of Vultures. Brilliantly written, here is a tale that grips you by the throat from the opening prologue to the gut-punch of an ending. Both tender and brutal, intelligent and visceral, each page carries a reader further down a harrowing path… this novel will leave an indelible mark on your soul.”

Link to: Susan Wingate

Island Senior: Keep On Truckin’

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 6:15 am by

Walking with Trekking Poles – Peggy Sue McRae photo

One of the most critical components of maintaining happiness and health as we get older is staying mobile and not falling down. Regarding that, I have some good news and I have some some bad news. The good news is that most healthy Americans can expect to live well into their 80s and beyond. The bad news is, we may wear out a few parts and meet some obstacles along the way. Keeping active is the best way to retain mobility and sustain the quality of life mobility provides. The next challenge is not to fall down, a risk that will increase, as we get older.

Lots of things that affect seniors contribute to falling hazards. Loss of eyesight and hearing or a general slowing of reflexes can contribute to a loss of balance. Diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, and many common medications can also affect your balance. All of the things we know we are suppose to do, eat right, sleep well, and exercise become all the more critical to maintaining active lives and do I even need to say it? Get yourself some sensible shoes.  Those platform sandals looked so cool… in the 70s. But now, Serena looks pretty cool in her Nikes and you can too.

Handy Handrail – Peggy Sue McRae photo

What is becoming fairly common these days, a knee replacement, temporarily slowed down my friend Margaret, an avid hiker and loyal dog walker. The operation was so successful she plans to get her other knee replaced too. To get back up to speed around the house she and husband Conrad have installed strategically placed handrails. They have also made use of trekking poles. Trekking poles provide balance and stability while walking and reducing impact on knees, other joints, and strain on muscles.

If keeping good balance is an issue for you please consider taking Stephanie Prima’s class, Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance starting October 4 at the Mullis Center. If you have already lost some mobility consider taking Katrina Wen’s Chair Yoga class also at the Mullis Center starting October 2.

To learn more about these classes link to: Island Senior: New Classes Starting This Fall at the Mullis Center.

Zylstra Lake Preserve Open House

Posted on September 16, 2018 at 6:20 am by

Zylstra Lake Preserve – Jennifer Furber photo

There will be an Open House at Zylstra Lake Preserve on Sunday September 30 from noon to 4:00 pm, at Zylstra Lake Preserve, San Juan Island…

The San Juan County Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust board members and staff are hosting an open house at the preserve where you can learn about the project, walk the preserve, and share your vision!

Directions: From Friday Harbor, take San Juan Valley Road for just over three miles. Look for event signs alerting you to the turn onto the property.

Please call Tanja Williamson at 360-378-4402 or visit for more information.

Beachwalkers Wanted! COASST Training Session

Posted on September 16, 2018 at 6:15 am by

On October 13thfrom 11 am to 5 pm, the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) will deliver a free training session in Friday Harbor, WA for citizens interested in surveying for marine debris. The COASST Marine Debris program is focused on the intersection of science, conservation, and communities. Rather than simply identifying debris, the program characterizesit and measures its abundance in particular zones of the beach.

Through an interactive, hands-on workshop, trainees will learn how to collect data that speaks directly to the source and transport pathways of debris, as well as to the potential harm to people, wildlife, and local coastal ecosystems.  The COASST training provides participants with the tools to monitor for potential changes in the marine environment and promote stewardship of local marine resources.

COASST is a citizen science project of the University of Washington in partnership with state, tribal, and federal agencies, environmental organizations, and community groups. COASST believes citizens of coastal communities are essential scientific partners in monitoring marine ecosystem health. By collaborating with citizens, natural resource management agencies and environmental organizations, COASST works to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.  Currently, nearly 1000 volunteers survey beaches in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska.

The training session will be held at Friday Harbor Laboratories Commons (620 University Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250). There will be a short break in the middle of the session for lunch, so please bring your own sack lunch, or money to purchase food in the area. Volunteers need NO prior experience with scientific data collection, just a commitment to survey a specific beach at least once a month.

Reserve your training spot by calling COASST at 206-221-6893 or by emailing  For more information on COASST visit

Self Care 1 with Katerina Wen

Posted on September 16, 2018 at 6:10 am, by

Don’t we feel happiest when our bodies are flexible and our minds at ease? Did you know that prevention is far better (and cheaper) than cure? Designed for self-motivated people who enjoy living life to its fullest. Come to learn ways to take charge and optimize your wellbeing from the inside out! Date: Monday & Wednesday 6:00 – 7:30pm, October 1, 3,  Continue Reading

Mother Nature Loves Friday Harbor

Posted on September 15, 2018 at 5:55 am, by

Fred Schumacher shares this awesome photo he shot from the air of the sun shining on Friday Harbor. Be sure to click on it to see a larger version. Thanks for sharing Fred! Mother Nature Loves Friday Harbor – Or, at least it looked like it Monday evening from a Kenmore Caravan heading North to  Continue Reading

Art Over the Harbor

Posted on September 15, 2018 at 5:50 am, by

Sip & Shop – 8 Local Artists Offer their work for sale at the SJI Grange in Friday Harbor, September 22 & 23, 2018 Come join us at the San Juan Island Grange for two days of art and fun! Eight San Juan Island artists, including Patti Barker, Shannon Borg, Alison Engle, Gail Garrett, Maria  Continue Reading

Hawaiian Hula Class

Posted on September 15, 2018 at 5:47 am, by

Hula is a way of life in Hawaii – a celebration, a moving meditation, an expression of gratitude for the Earth, its living residents and Spirit ancestors. Join Alice Hibberd to experience hula as a dance of gratitude, learning how basic hand and body movements express a tale of the Earth, Sea and Spirit. Classes  Continue Reading

Food, Glorious Food!

Posted on September 15, 2018 at 5:45 am, by

For the fall Family Art Days at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA), food inspires the art classes. Imagine waving fields of grain, cattle grazing in fields, printing with potatoes and eating your still life model! Family Art Days are fun for the whole family, and everyone can leave with their work of  Continue Reading

Wolverines Football Friday Night

Posted on September 14, 2018 at 4:32 pm, by

~ Story written by Kaila Olin “As they go, we go,” FHHS Head Football Coach said of his ground-and-pound offensive line.    And they have gone…off.  In the first game of the season, playing up one level and on the road, his offensive line bashed open holes for Wolverines’ ground-and-pound rushing attack.  In that game,  Continue Reading

The Woman As Visionary and Creator

Posted on September 14, 2018 at 5:50 am, by

The three innovative and insightful artists opening at the San Juan Islands of Art (SJIMA) on Saturday in Friday Harbor take their own unique view of the world and bring a feminine perspective to their creations. These varied works interpret the theme of 2018, The Female Gaze-The Woman as Visionary and Creator. In NICOLA WHESTON:  Continue Reading

Marimba Classes

Posted on September 14, 2018 at 5:44 am, by

There’s a new introductory class for beginning marimba students coming up.  This will be a short 4 week session beginning September 19 and going through October 9.  The classes will be held Wednesdays from 5:30-7:00 at Island Marimba Studio. This is a fun opportunity for people to join in and see what playing marimbas is  Continue Reading

Pub Talk in Bothell on Island Marble Butterfly

Posted on September 14, 2018 at 5:43 am, by

Amy Lambert, lecturer at the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell, will be giving a Pub Night Talk: “Encountering Rarity: Restoring the Endangered Island Marble Butterfly”. Once thought to be extinct, the Island Marble butterfly is making a comeback in the San Juan Islands. Lambert, a conservation biologist, explains why saving the  Continue Reading

J50 Presumed Dead

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 5:45 pm, by

“The message brought by J50, and by J35 and her dead calf a few weeks ago, is that the SRKW are running out of reproductive capacity and extinction of this population is looming, while the humans convene task forces and conference calls that result in nothing, or worse than nothing, diverting attention and resources from  Continue Reading

Save Our Shorelines

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 5:49 am, by

Here’s a note from Safe Shippers… Proudly, our San Juan County Council Members recently joined their Canadian counterparts, the Islands Trust Council, in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to abandon the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, once and for all. As Safe Shippers well know, if approved, this project would increase tanker traffic by 700%  Continue Reading

First Annual Back to School Ice Cream Social

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 5:48 am, by

On Sunday, September 16, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, the San Juan Historical Museum will host the First Annual Back to School Ice Cream Social on their grounds at 405 Price Street. There will be Bowls of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and toppings (Yum!) with a suggested donation of $5.00. All proceeds will aid  Continue Reading

Gospel Jazz Reprise

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 5:46 am, by

Nine years ago, gospel and jazz lovers attended a pair of concerts at Saint David’s Episcopal Church which both sold out. Apparently they didn’t get enough, because it is going to be done again on Saturday, Sept. 15th, and Sunday, Sept. 16th, starting at 4 pm each day. The reason for the concerts is to  Continue Reading

Chuckanut Rockslide

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 5:44 am, by

Just in case you’re heading to Bellingham or points farther north, and are planning to take scenic Chuckanut Drive, you might want to rethink that, or at least keep an eye on the WSDOT travel alerts website. Here’s more from WSDOT… A rockslide and the risk of unstable rocks on the hillside above the road,  Continue Reading

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