Friday Harbor RV Dump Station Re-opens with Limited Access

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Togo RV on Unsplash, Contributed.

From the town of Friday Harbor

The RV dump station located in Friday Harbor on Harbor Street (across from the wastewater treatment plant) has been reopened with limited, secured access.  

The station has been closed due to a deposit of unknown chemicals in the sewage that proved harmful to treatment processes at the wastewater treatment plant.

Recreational vehicles and pre-approved commercial businesses shall be able to use the station. Other users shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Visitors or residents requesting the use of the RV dump station should contact the town of Friday Harbor’s finance department at 360-378-2810. The cost per use is $20, payable by cash or check. A refundable deposit applies for access to the station.

For more information, contact the town at 360-378-2810 or visit

Last Chance to See Alchemy Art’s July Artist in Residence Thursday

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 5:00 am by

From Alchemy Art Center

Amy Simons’ work, Contributed.

July Artist in Residence Amy Simons has been hard at work creating an incredibly beautiful series of monotype prints during her time at Alchemy.

Come see what she’s created 6-9 p.m. Thursday at a pop-up art show in the dome at 1255 Wold Rd. on San Juan Island. Limited parking is available in the upper and lower lots, so please carpool.

This is the perfect (and last) chance to meet this talented, hardworking, exploratory artist before she departs again for the Southwest!

Kids are welcome. We will have snacks and beverages.

Weigh in on Friday Harbor’s Guesthouse Plans

Posted on July 27, 2021 at 10:13 pm by

From the town of Friday Harbor

The Town of Friday Harbor Planning Commission is seeking public comment through Aug. 12 regarding proposed regulations for attached accessory dwelling units.

Visit or town hall for agendas, meeting information and contact information to forward comments.

On June 3, the town council adopted interim regulations allowing attached accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, in the single-family residential zone.

Attached ADUs are located within preexisting single-family residences, often involving the conversion of a garage or basement into an independent living space. These proposed regulations will allow owner-occupants in the town to carve out space within their primary residences to create smaller, independent living units.

Ordinance No. 1721 created a narrow pathway to legally turn existing structures into additional livable space while the planning commission was tasked with developing permanent regulations for this type of ADU.

While the interim ordinance adopted dealt only with the conversion of existing structures within the same footprint, upcoming meetings will also cover the creation of ADUs as part of new construction and the expansion of existing structures to add living areas.

The town planning commission is currently tasked with making recommendations to the town council on issues such as density, footprint size, lot size, yard setbacks, utilities, parking, and owner-occupancy. A series of public meetings are anticipated in the upcoming months as the Town proposes new regulations.

Learn Medicare Basics in Free Virtual Presentation Thursday

Posted on July 27, 2021 at 5:30 am by

By Pegi Groundwater, San Juan County SHIBA Volunteer Coordinator

Are you joining Medicare this year? If so, there’s a lot to learn.  

Medicare has its own vocabulary and rules. There are deadlines to meet and penalties (some lasting a lifetime) for not doing things at the right time. 

SHIBA volunteers are here to make the transition easier. Join us for an online presentation 2 p.m. Thursday, July 29. Learn how Medicare works, what your coverage options are and when you must act to avoid penalties. 

To register for the presentation, email or call 360-376-5892. We will need first and last names, email addresses and phone numbers.

This is a free presentation made by trained volunteers from the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors, or SHIBA, program overseen by the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner to provide free, unbiased and confidential counseling assistance in San Juan County.

There are many new terms for you to understand and several options from which to choose. Medicare has four different parts: A, B, C,and D.  You can stay with Original Medicare (Parts A & B) or buy a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) or a Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap), which is private insurance that works with Parts A and B.  Most people also buy Drug Insurance (Part D). 

Resources are available to help people with very low income and limited assets pay their Medicare premiums, copays and deductibles.

Call the local SHIBA office at 360-376-5892 to schedule your free personal, confidential, unbiased counseling session. In San Juan County, SHIBA is sponsored by the Inter Island Healthcare Foundation.

Three Live Music Shows to hit the Fairgrounds Stage in August

Posted on July 27, 2021 at 5:00 am by

Tres Leche, Contributed.

From San Juan County Fairgrounds

San Juan County Fairgrounds is hosting a variety of in-person activities this August leading up to and during the county’s virtual fair.

Saturday, Aug. 14:

  • 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Fair market and plant sale.
  • 6-9 p.m., the Fair Summer Music Series in partnership with Going Left Music presents The Black Tones and Tres Leches, featuring a beer garden hosted by the San Juan Island Lions Club.

Friday, Aug. 20:

  • 6-9 p.m., the Fair Summer Music Series in partnership with Going Left Music presents the Low Hums, featuring a beer garden hosted by the San Juan Island Lions Club.

Saturday, Aug. 21

  • 6-10 p.m. Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor presents Summer Sounds featuring local musicians.

We would like to thank this year’s fair sponsors: Kings Market, San Juan Brewery, Joe Friday’s t-shirt shop, Kings Marine and Market Place.

Visit for more information on these events and more.

Orcas Island Teams Up to Create New Playground

Posted on July 27, 2021 at 4:30 am by

The new playground at Eastsound Village Green on Orcas. San Juan County Parks and Fair, Contributed.

From San Juan County Parks and Fair

A new playground will be dedicated to residents and visiting children noon Saturday, Aug. 14 at the Village Green on Orcas Island.

The Playground-on-the-Green is a product of Orcas Island’s imagination, energy and funding, and was constructed by Orcas artists Chuck Greening and Zackarya Leck.

The playground design, by Greenworks of Portland, Oregon, mimics what kids might find in the woods or on the beach — rocks to climb, logs to scramble, sand to mold —  and features a  sculptural slide, designed and constructed by Zackarya Leck.  The nature-based design encourages kids to build confidence in assessing risk and supports their coordination, orientation, and social skills. 

The playground committee — Dan Burke, Chuck Greening, Ken Katz, Zackarya Leck, David Kau, Mark Mayer, Pete Moe, and Margaret Payne — thanks the following:

  • San Juan County for a lodging tax grant to get the project going.
  • San Juan County Parks for supporting the committee through three years of planning and construction.
  • Moran State Park and the Port of Orcas for donating logs.
  • Camp Orkila for rocks.
  • West Sound Lumber for milling, treating and storing logs.
  • Joe Cohen and Martha Farish for funding the slide.
  • The Orcas Island Community Foundation for support through “Give Orcas” and for donating landscape trees to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.
  • Island Market for donating benches.
  • A Ginny-Lu Wood Legacy Grant for the water fountain (and Eastsound Water for its installation).
  • An anonymous donor for the large, flat rock that anchors the play area. The anonymous donor wishes to celebrate Orcas Island volunteerism — the many awesome citizens and businesses who donated time, talent and funding for this exceptional playground.

San Juan is One of Eight Washington Counties to Re-start Mask Recommendations

Posted on July 26, 2021 at 6:25 pm by

Vera Davidova on Unsplash, Contributed.

Businesses Encouraged, not Mandated to ask Customers to Mask Up

From San Juan County

As a part of a regional effort to curb the rising infection rates in Washington, San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James recommends that islanders mask up when entering an indoor public space, including businesses, whether vaccinated or not.

Local health officers in counties adjacent to the Salish Sea are coming together to put forward this masking recommendation. The participating health officers to date are from Pierce, King, Snohomish, Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and San Juan counties. COVID-19 cases are rising across the
region and there is increased circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

This is not a new or separate mandate for businesses. It is already a requirement for unvaccinated people to wear a mask. This recommendation does encourage businesses to ask all people to mask up when entering the space to help protect workers and the community.

“Remember that the primary behavioral problem we are addressing is unvaccinated people not wearing masks,” says Dr. James. “To ensure easy verification that all unvaccinated people are masked in indoor
settings, we need to have all people mask in indoor public settings. Recommending that proprietors of public indoor venues require masking for all is a key part of what we need to do at this time.”

Virus variants are expected to occur. There are four notable variants in the United States that are being monitored by the CDC. Most notable for San Juan County and our region is the Delta variant. The county’s recent breakthrough cases (infection in vaccinated individuals) are showing similar viral
behavior to the Delta variant. This is a troubling development because the Delta variant is 225% more infectious than the original virus.

San Juan County is leading the state in vaccination rates; however, there are portions of our community that are unprotected or under-protected, especially against emerging variant strains. Unvaccinated people, children under 12 and those who share a household with them should be especially diligent
in wearing a mask in order to keep their loved ones safe.

As cases are on the rise nationally, regionally, and locally, San Juan County is joining the effort to keep Washingtonians safe. Until these variants are understood more, the road ahead will require a shift back to what we know works best to protect against the virus: get fully vaccinated if you haven’t done so already, mask up indoors, maintain social distancing, and minimize travel.

Larsen Secures nearly $700K to Fix Eroding Agate Beach Lane on Lopez Island

Posted on July 26, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Large rocks that bury much of the public beach at Agate County Park in 2019 were planned to be removed once the road is relocated away from the eroding bluff, restoring the site for people and nature. Friends of the San Juans, Contributed in 2019.

From Rep. Rick Larsen’s Office

July 21, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) announced he has secured $10,662,665 for ten Second District projects in the Fiscal Year 2022 House appropriations bills, including nearly $700,000 to repair an eroding Lopez Island road. 

“My priority in shaping spending bills is to invest in local communities to create well-paying jobs and provide vital services in Northwest Washington,” said Larsen. “I will continue to champion these critical projects to ensure communities can build and strengthen vital infrastructure, improve residents’ health outcomes, provide basic services to the homeless and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.”

The bills include the following appropriations to support Northwest Washington communities:

  • $694,480 for the MacKaye Harbor Water District’s Agate Beach Lane infrastructure improvements on Lopez Island. The Water District will relocate water infrastructure away from a road that is currently failing due to coastal erosion.
  • $2,000,000 for Phase II construction of Compass Health’s advanced facility for Intensive Behavioral Health Services in Everett. The five-story, 82,000 square foot building will accommodate a range of integrated emergency and preventive outpatient behavioral health care services.
  • $2,000,000 for the City of Mountlake Terrace’s transit connection project. The City will construct a pedestrian plaza adjacent to the new light rail station and lighted, paved pedestrian trails through Veterans Memorial Park.
  • $2,000,000 for construction of Unity Care NW’s The Way Station in Bellingham. The Way Station will provide medical respite, a hygiene center, health care, long-term housing supports and case management for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
  • $1,740,000 for the Samish Indian Nation’s State Route 20 – Campbell Lake Road Roundabout project. The Samish will construct a three-legged roundabout at the intersection of State Route 20 and Campbell Lake Road.
  • $1,000,000 for the City of Lynnwood’s Scriber Creek Trail redevelopment project. The City will redevelop the existing trail corridor into a 16’ wide, ADA-accessible trail with durable, slip-resistant hard surfaces. Where crossing Scriber Creek and associated wetlands, the trail will be constructed on elevated bridge/boardwalk structures.

Read More »

Island Stage Left Cancels July 31 Performance due to Nearby Concert

Posted on July 26, 2021 at 5:00 am, by

From Island Stage Left Island Stage Left’s July 31 performance of “Much Ado About Nothing” has been canceled. A neighbor has a rock concert that evening and you wouldn’t be able to hear us! Sunshine, humor and love reign eternal in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” We are setting the story in the  Continue Reading

Browne’s Offers DIY Classes through August

Posted on July 26, 2021 at 4:30 am, by

  From Browne’s Home Center   We’re excited to be hosting DIY classes again!   Browne’s Home Center’s first kids DIY class of the year will be a chalkboard toolbox. Kids will be able to build and paint their own toolbox so they can help fix things around the house, or at least keep all  Continue Reading

Canada to Open Border to Fully Vaccinated Americans August 9

Posted on July 25, 2021 at 5:30 am, by

Travelers Must Register Online and May be Randomly Tested for COVID-19 From the Public Health Agency of Canada The Government of Canada is prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in Canada by taking a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening our borders. Thanks to the hard work of Canadians, rising vaccination rates and declining  Continue Reading

Friends of the Library Hosts Book Sale at Library’s New Location in Old Life Care Center

Posted on July 25, 2021 at 5:00 am, by

From the San Juan Island Friends of the Library The San Juan Island Friends of the Library will host its annual in-person book sale Saturday, Aug. 14 at the library’s new location, the former Life Care Center at 660 Spring St. in Friday Harbor.  Friends of the Library members can shop from 9-10 a.m. and  Continue Reading

San Juan Island Museum of Art Extends Summer Hours

Posted on July 25, 2021 at 4:30 am, by

From the San Juan Island Museum of Art Don’t miss this gem! The San Juan Island Museum of Art has extended its hours from 7-9 p.m., Thursday-Sunday through Sept. 11. This is in addition to the regular hours 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Monday. The museum is located at 540 Spring St. in Friday Harbor. Visit the  Continue Reading

Share Stories about San Juans Fishing for Conservation Project

Posted on July 24, 2021 at 8:59 am, by

From San Juan County Environmental Stewardship Department San Juan County’s Environmental Stewardship Department wants to hear and share your fishing stories. We are collaborating with an organization called Salmon Nation that recognizes the fight for wild salmon is about much more than fish — it’s about culture, livelihoods and the viability of our natural and  Continue Reading

Fall, Winter Ferries Reservations for Anacortes and San Juan Route Open Tuesday

Posted on July 24, 2021 at 8:45 am, by

From Washington State Ferries Vehicle reservations for travel between late September and New Year’s Day on the Anacortes and San Juan Islands and Port Townsend and Coupeville routes will be released next week. Starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, July 27, customers can secure their spot on sailings between Sept. 26 and Jan. 1, 2022. Customers  Continue Reading

Freezer-burned: Tales of Interior Alaska

Posted on July 24, 2021 at 8:42 am, by

The Heart of Darkness on the River “Freezer-Burned: Tales of Interior Alaska” is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Steve Ulvi. Sammy Jenks gently shut the backdoor of his rustic home. He turned to pick up a stone then slung it at an alley cat in the garbage can. Striking the  Continue Reading

County Warns Unvaccinated are at Highest Risk of Contracting Delta COVID Variant

Posted on July 23, 2021 at 5:30 am, by

Delta Variant is 225% More Infectious, Says County From San Juan County In the past week, total cases in San Juan County have increased from 191 to 195. Each of the recent cases is a breakthrough case, meaning the infected person is fully vaccinated. There are eight close contacts of positive cases. Five are currently  Continue Reading

Letter | Ghatan Deserves Another Term

Posted on July 23, 2021 at 5:00 am, by

By Lee Sturdivant, Friday Harbor As a 42 year resident of Friday Harbor, I write to encourage the town residents to vote for Farhad Ghatan, our present F.H. mayor, who deserves another term.  The town of Friday Harbor is only 1 mile square, but everything that happens here affects all island residents, even all county  Continue Reading

Friday Harbor Film Festival Announces October Lineup

Posted on July 23, 2021 at 4:30 am, by

Viewers Picked the List, Won Prizes From the Friday Harbor Film Festival Friday Harbor Film Festival congratulates San Juan Island’s Eliza Habegger, winner of the organization’s crowdsourcing film evaluation project in May. Because she rated and commented on the most films submitted through FilmFreeway, she will receive a free pass to the Friday Harbor Film  Continue Reading

Music at the Fairgrounds

Posted on July 22, 2021 at 6:36 pm, by

Folk-Rock Duo The Talbott Brothers and Local Band Sway Wild Perform Live For San Juan Community Theatre’s Summer Season The San Juan Community Theatre Outdoor Summer Season continues with folk-rock duo, The Talbott Brothers, on July 25th at 7pm. The Talbott Brothers have earned a large and growing following for their songs consisting of down-to-earth  Continue Reading

San Juan EMS to add Fifth Paramedic by sending Longtime EMT to Training

Posted on July 22, 2021 at 7:59 am, by

From San Juan Island EMS  Longtime San Juan EMT Margaret Longley will attend paramedic school at the Seattle area Medic One Foundation program. This is one of the best-respected paramedic programs in the nation. The Medic One Foundation will pay for the training, and the San Juan Island EMS will pay a stipend to help  Continue Reading

Flushed Toxic Chemicals Left Town Water Treatment Plant’s pH Level ‘Dangerously Low’

Posted on July 22, 2021 at 7:53 am, by

Nearby RV Dump Station Temporarily Closed as a Result From the town of Friday Harbor The town of Friday Harbor urgently requests that all users of its sewer system refrain from adding toxic fluids and nondegradable items into the waste stream. “A properly functioning sewer system is absolutely critical for the health of coastal communities,”  Continue Reading