Summary of Recent Cases in San Juan County

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 5:58 pm by

From San Juan County Department of Emergency Management…

San Juan County is shifting to a weekly roll-up of new cases. This is the first of those reports. Going forward, the report will be issued on Thursday of each week. In addition to providing for additional time to review results of case investigations and draft releases, this approach also allows for a bit more info to be shared since details aren’t tied to a single case, unless there has only been one case in a given week. If there are cases that pose an immediate threat to wider public safety or involve particularly notable locations or facilities, info will be released as soon as received and confirmed.

Since last case update on July 23rd, there have been four new cases reported in the islands. One each on Orcas and Lopez Islands and two on San Juan Island. These cases bring the total San Juan County case count to 30.

Of the cases, two of them are tied to travel to the islands by family or friends of San Juan County residents. One case is tied to islanders traveling off island and then returning home. A fourth case in an island resident is of indeterminate cause at this time but may be related to family contacts. All five individuals were tested after experiencing COVID-like symptoms. Read More »

Attention Parents: Alchemy Art Center Offers Kids Clay Club

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 5:46 pm by

There is a lot going on at the Alchemy Art Center.

Kids Clay Club at Alchemy Art Center – Contributed photo

Dear Parents,
We have been looking forward to getting back to making art in person, and have some thoughts on how we can do so as safely as possible!
It seems to us that school will probably not be back to “normal” in the fall, and that we might not be able to count on the school bus for transportation to Clay Club as we have in the past. We have also been hearing ideas about “quarantine pods” from some parents who are looking for group learning opportunities while minimizing risk of exposure to Covid-19.
In response, Alchemy would like to offer in-person Clay Club classes for quarantine pods! These will be small groups of kids who are already spending time with each other, or live in the same household. They will meet with an Alchemy instructor once per week for 4 week sessions in an outdoor learning environment that will combine art, nature, and active games.
How we envision it working:
Parents will gather a group of 4 kids, and decide some days/times that would work best for your group. Alchemy will work with each group to accommodate your schedule. Read More »

Corner Stakes and Purchasing Property

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 2:24 pm by

We hear from Merri Ann Simonson…
Corner stakes are one of the most important components of purchasing real estate, I have learned this over 25 years of selling real estate on San Juan. For the properties that transacted years ago, corner stakes were not a big issue; of course, nor was a water source, or a septic permit or archaeological areas. Times have changed in our rural area and the buyer must know what they are purchasing before they close.
To make an informed purchase decision on any type of real estate purchase, even improved, they must know the property’s boundaries. Within every contract I write I include that the seller is required to show buyer the stake locations and further agrees to hire a surveyor to mark any missing stakes. Many sellers strike this provision due to the added costs, but then I recommend to my buyer to hire the surveyor to find the corners.
Stakes go missing over the years because a tree might fall on them, a car runs them over, a neighbor might remove or relocate them and if they were wood, they rot. Of course, cows and horses love to scratch their chins on them. Surveyors mark a date on each stake and are required to record the survey if any new stakes must be set.

Read More »

9 days until Virtual Fair! August 12 – 15, 2020

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 5:01 am by

San Juan County residents! There is still time to make the fair entry deadline of August 8th! Visit the SJC Fair web page for information on how to participate in this year’s virtual Fair.

Check out Online Entry by Department rules and to upload photos of all the awesome things you have made, created, grown, or produced this year!

Check out online portals for: Open Class Exhibits, Vendors, Entertainment, Education and Demonstration, Fair Food, and 4-H.

Link to San Juan County Fair Website
Link to: Online Entry by Department
Link to: Online Portals

County Council Seeks Board Members

Posted on August 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm by

The County Council is searching for San Juan County citizens to fill current and upcoming vacancies on various boards and commissions. Additional information about each committee is available on the County’s website at: Persons interested in serving on a board or advisory committee should fill out an Advisory Committee Application or Contact the Council Office at: (360) 378-2898


Attention Photographers!

Posted on August 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm by

We hear from Miles Crossen, San Juan County Fair Photography Co-Superintendent…

Budding Photographer – Tim Dustrude photo

Attention all you photographers out there! You have about 10 days left to enter your pictures in the First Ever San Juan County Virtual Fair.

Link to: Virtual Fair Online Entry

Interview with County Public Health Office Dr. Frank James

Posted on August 1, 2020 at 11:57 am by

The San Juan Update is pleased to reprint this interview by Minor Lile with San Juan County Public Health Officer Dr. Frank James as published 7.30.2020 in Orcas Issues News & Views

Dr. Frank James – Contributed photo

As Public Health Officer for San Juan County, Dr. Frank James has played a prominent role in the community response to the Coronavirus pandemic. This past Tuesday we talked for about an hour in a conversation that touched on a wide range of topics, including the most significant COVID-related challenges facing the County, reliable sources of information, the balance between public health and economic health, tourism, prospects for a vaccine, the opening of local schools, and other topics.

The interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Minor Lile: My first question is what is the role of the public health officer?

Dr. James: The Public Health officer is the one person in the county who is legally responsible for public health decision making, particularly in an emergency. So in every county, there’s a health officer and a Board of Health. And they are given broad powers and in emergencies extremely broad powers to control diseases that might impact everybody’s health.

Public Health Officers also have a role in the day to day work of public health in terms of controlling communicable diseases that might not rise to the level of being an emergency. For example, if there’s an outbreak of measles, pertussis or chicken pox. Those are things that can become quite serious if not controlled and so we certainly have a role in that. And then we supervise all the clinical staff and registered sanitarians that do the health and hygiene stuff in restaurants and septic systems and all that. And we also supervise the nursing staff and others that provide community health services. That might be immunizations for kids or other public interventions, or the Link program. Things like that are all in the health department. Read More »

Vote! Washington Primary Election August 4

Posted on August 1, 2020 at 5:15 am by

Be sure to get your ballot in the mail by August 4. You can also pop it in the ballot box by the courthouse by 8 pm August 4. Better yet, get your ballot in early. No postage is necessary. Need help? Link to the online Voters pamphlet (see link below) or to register go to

Link to: Voter’s Guide – Primary 2020
Link to:


Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Guide

Posted on August 1, 2020 at 5:05 am, by

Below are Washington State guidelines for safely recreating outdoors…

Record $5.2 Million Gift Expands Turtleback Preserve

Posted on July 31, 2020 at 1:03 pm, by

Great news from San Juan Preservation Trust! Record gift expends Turtleback Preserve plus the precedent-setting donation also returns land to the Lummi Nation. The San Juan County Land Bank and San Juan Preservation Trust today announced the acquisition and permanent conservation of a 36-acre addition to the Turtleback Mountain Preserve on Orcas Island. Concurrently, an  Continue Reading

Island Senior: New Flag at the Mullis Center Honors Margret Lackey

Posted on July 31, 2020 at 5:30 am, by

A new flag is flying over the Mullis Center. The flag is a gift to the Mullis Center from the family of Margret Lackey in honor of their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Not only has the Lackey family provided the Mullis Center with a new flag, they also generously oversaw long needed repairs to the  Continue Reading

FHHS Aerospace Team’s International Space Settlement Design Competition, 2020

Posted on July 30, 2020 at 5:45 am, by

The Friday Harbor High School Aerospace Team is at it again! The 2020 International Space Settlement Design Competition just finished, though without travelling to NASA as in the last two years. The Aerospace Team’s name this year is “Grumbo” (think Grumman mixed with Boeing) and the Friday Harbor High School Team joined with teams from  Continue Reading

State Launches New Grant Program to Conserve Community Forests

Posted on July 30, 2020 at 5:30 am, by

OLYMPIA–Communities wanting to conserve forestlands now have a state grant program to help, the Recreation and Conservation Office announced today. Beginning September 1, communities can apply for grants of up to $3 million in the newly created Community Forests Program. The grants must be used to buy at least 5 acres of forestland and the  Continue Reading

Letter About The Joint Meeting Of The Public Hospital District And Fire District 3

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:47 pm, by

I know very little about Fire District Commissioner Frank Cardinale, but last afternoon during our first joint meeting with the Fire District to discuss integration, Commissioner Cardinale showed me everything I need to know about him. He is disrespectful, attacking, accusatory, aggressive, and clearly not interested in getting to know our new hospital district board or being remotely collaborative.  Continue Reading

A Letter From Fire Commissioner Bob Jarman

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm, by

I am writing on behalf of San Juan Island Fire District #3 to extend our board’s full and deepest apology for the offensive comment made by Commissioner Cardinale during last night’s joint commission meeting. The commissioner’s comment was offensive, disrespectful and completely inappropriate. Fire District #3 does not in any way condone the use of  Continue Reading

Letter About The Joint Meeting Of The Public Hospital District And Fire District 3

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm, by

Editor: Something shameful happened Tuesday afternoon.  The San Juan County Public Hospital District Commissioners (PHD) and the San Juan County Fire District 3 (FD3) Commissioners held a virtual joint public meeting to discuss the possibility of resuming discussion of integrating San Juan Island Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and FD3. The meeting was progressing with some  Continue Reading

The Great Chicken Race Scandal of 1981

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:30 am, by

SJ Historical Museum with their History Column for August… It was pretty easy to choose a topic for this month’s history column. Last month’s column suggested a theme when we came upon the fun photo from the 1981 Fourth of July Parade and decided to use it, since we didn’t have a parade this year.  Continue Reading

Waterworks Gallery Features New Work By Kalindi Kunis

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 5:05 am, by

Waterworks new show, Art AiSLE, features acrylic on panel paintings by Kalindi Kunis. Join us wearing your mask for a socially distanced opening on Thursday, July 30, 4:00 – 7:00 pm. The show will continue 07/30 – 09/30   Waterworks Gallery is proud to present Kalindi Kunis’s newest body of work created especially for this show. These acrylic  Continue Reading

Chamber Chat July 2020

Posted on July 28, 2020 at 7:20 pm, by

A note from Scott Sluis and the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce… I, well we (The SJ Chamber of Commerce), want to say a sincere thank you and also congratulations to Susan Doyle and her husband Michael from Susie’s Mopeds, as of July 1, 2020 the business has been sold and Susie and Michael will start  Continue Reading

San Juan Islands Museum of Art Features First Virtual Artist Talk

Posted on July 28, 2020 at 10:00 am, by

We hear from Diane Martindale at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art… Don’t miss our first virtual Artist Talk on Sunday, August 9, 11:00 am featuring Holly Ballard Martz (DOMESTIC BLISS) and June Sekiguchi (THE PULSE OF WATER).   Holly and June will be walking you through their exhibitions and answering questions from virtual participants!  Continue Reading

Feeling Crabby?

Posted on July 28, 2020 at 5:45 am, by

Giant crab joins giant bear at San Juan Islands Sculpture Park Thanks to a loan by Cattle Point Rock & Topsoil, “Rusty” the giant crab, now has a temporary home near the bay at the Sculpture Park.  “Rusty” is the work of artist Zackarya Leck, on Orcas Island.  Come see them both along with 150  Continue Reading

Library Presents: Know Your Islanders Talk – Brady Ryan On Sea Salt

Posted on July 28, 2020 at 5:02 am, by

This Know Your islanders Talk will be available via ZOOM on August 3, 2020 at 7:00 pm Brady Ryan will be discussing the science and practice of sea salt production along with some interesting things he has learned about running a small business–San Juan Sea Salt–for the last nine years.  Bring your curiosity! Join Zoom  Continue Reading