Island Senior: Changes, and the San Juan Update

Posted on January 15, 2022 at 6:11 pm by

Days Like Pearls – Oil painting tryptic by Peggy Sue McRae

Island Senior is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae…

One thing you can count on, things will always be changing.  Sometimes we invite change into our lives and other times we simply struggle to adjust.  Either way, it’s a skill just to keep your balance. 

It did not come as a total surprise to me that Tim Dustrude would be leaving the San Juan Update. I’ve watched he and Shannon’s growing passion for their life on the open road for a while now. My hope is that someone will pluck this ripe juicy plum of a local online news source before it loses the momentum Tim has given it.

The San Juan Update began in 1997. At that time Ian Byington created a newsy, neighborly, upbeat online news source and bulletin board. Ian gave the Update its motto: “Some of it is news, some of it is old news, and all are just things we wanted to mention, with most of it about the things that make living here great.”  These words have held steady as a guiding light.

Tim took the reins in 2012. With his photographer’s eye and web design skills Tim created the Update’s appealing look while nurturing a collaborative relationship with the Island community. In 2013 I started working with Tim filling in here and there and eventually substituting for him while he traveled and have for the past several years written a regular column, Island Senior.

Island Senior is collaboration with the Mullis Center to keep local seniors informed. During the pandemic this has highlighted classes that are now taught online, shared health information, local history, or reflections on becoming an elder. I’ve enjoyed sharing passages from my 18-year-old Grandfather’s 1905 journal or telling stories about my Great-aunt Ada’s Millenary Shop. Whatever the fate of the San Juan Update, we hope to see Island Senior carry on.

The San Juan Update has provided a worthy service to San Juan Islanders. Thank you Tim for the energy and time you have put into the Update. To you and Shannon, here’s wishing you the very best. Happy Trails!

Tsunami Advisory

Posted on January 15, 2022 at 8:35 am by

Dave Halloran from San Juan County Department of Emergency Management shares this notice with you…

Good morning, in the news today is a volcanic eruption near the Tonga Islands. The Tsunami Warning center ( has issued an Advisory for the outer coast of WA and the coast along the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The State EMD is advising of the potential for higher than normal wave heights later this morning towards 10 AM.

To be safe stay off the beaches this morning, and for live-aboards at marinas, be aware of this potential for higher than normal waves. Because this origin is a volcanic eruption as opposed to the “normal” earthquake genesis of a tsunami, the prediction of wave impacts is more difficult.

Hawaii has observed 1 to 2 foot waves. So be cautious this morning, and stay off the beaches until there is more certain information.

This Advisory is expected to last into the early afternoon today (Saturday, January 15, 2022). Thanks everyone, and stay safe!

Dave Halloran

Thank You, San Juan Island

Posted on January 1, 2022 at 4:31 am by

Enjoying some hot cocoa and solidifying big plans at South Beach on Christmas Day right before the snow flew – Shannon Dean photo

A note to you from Tim Dustrude, editor of the San Juan Update…

As many of you may know, my passion in the past couple of years has been traveling with my wife Shannon in our camper van and seeing our beautiful country. We have been many places so far, from west coast to east coast and from north to south. We’ve made new friends in red states, blue states and other states in between. We’re loving it and we want to continue because there is so much more to see. (click here to see where we’ve been).

We started this journey just over two years ago, and I’ve been able to keep the San Juan Update running during this time, however it has been either extremely challenging when I looked after it myself entirely, or not cost-effective when I’ve hired people to help me.

So I have made the very difficult decision to discontinue the daily publishing of the San Juan Island Update.

To you the faithful Update reader – I want to thank you for your enthusiasm and encouragement. It feels so good to see you around town and hear you say how much you love the Update.

To you the advertiser – I want to thank you very much for your support – there is no way the Update could have remained viable in its current state without advertisers like you, and I really appreciate your faith in me to promote your business while helping to keep the island community aware of things going on around this beautiful island.

To all you contributors – Thanks for sharing your news and announcements, enabling me to provide a venue to amplify your message to share with your fellow islanders.

But it is time for me to move on, so beginning on January 1, 2022 – I will no longer be publishing new daily content. However, the Update isn’t going anywhere yet – it will remain online as a sort of archive at least for the foreseeable future. And I’m sure I will add things from time to time, especially critically important announcements to the community or things that I believe are especially of interest for whatever reason.

I really hate to think of it going away permanently so it is my hope that I can find someone to take over the reins.

To that end, I will be entertaining offers from people interested in buying the Update and keeping it going – if you are interested or if you know of someone who would like a “turn-key” business, I would love to hear from you. I really do believe it could be a wonderful opportunity for someone. More on that at this link.

But for now, I will close, and say once again, thank you so much San Juan Island for all of your support over the past nine years!

So Why Vanlife?

Posted on January 1, 2022 at 4:30 am by

Well, see for yourself – Here’s a brief history in photos showing why we are embracing this new lifestyle. Click on any photo to enlarge, and then use the left or right arrows to see adjacent photos. (and be sure to read the captions at the bottom) Read More »

I’m Late!

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 5:08 pm by

“I’m late, I’m late for a very important date -Happy New Year”

John Miller shares yet another photo of beautiful swans at Lakedale.

Thanks John!

Island Senior: Bringing In The New Year With Katerina Wen on YouTube

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:56 pm by

Island Senior is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae…

Katerina Wen – Contributed photo

If you are anything like me being snowed in during a pandemic over the holidays involved plenty of Christmas movies, whole season binges, plus more than the usual baked goods, sweets, and festive beverages. Also, if you are like me, you may not be planning a brisk hike up Mt. Young anytime soon. If a gentler form of retrieving your body from the Matrix appeals to you, you are in luck.

The Mullis Center has teamed up with the indomitable Katerina Wen to bring you both Chair Yoga and Balance and Stretch classes. Due to Katerina and her partner traveling overseas her classes have temporarily been available on YouTube. Says Anna from the Mullis Center, “You are welcome to access this week’s class recording as often as you’d like and we encourage you to share it with others far and wide.

Upon her imminent return Katerina will resume both classes via Zoom. Meanwhile her YouTube classes will remain available and are posted on the Mullis Center’s Facebook Page.

These classes have been available to all San Juan Island seniors and disabled adults on a “pay what you can” basis since the early days of the pandemic. The suggested fee for each class is $6 per class.

The classes are offered on a sliding scale. “If you are in a position to cover all or part of the suggested fee that’s great, but if not please don’t worry, we just want you to join us!” You can pay for the classes by mailing a check to the Mullis Center at PO Box 684. Please write “Chair Yoga” on the memo line. Any contributions above the suggested fee are handled as tax deductible donations and are greatly appreciated.

Getting a jump on New Year’s resolutions I joined Katrina’s Chair Yoga class this morning and was reminded how even subtle movements can have profound effects. If you spend a fair amount of time at a computer this is an excellent antidote. Here is wishing you a healthy and happy new year!

Link to: The Mullis Center Facebook Page
Link to: Week of December 27 YouTube Chair Yoga
Link to:  Week of December 27 YouTube Balance and Stretch

Water Leak Found and Stopped at 660 Spring Street

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:54 pm by

Editor’s Note, Jan. 2, 2022 – We may not be out of the woods just yet – see this message from Duncan Wilson on San Juan Islander.

(Friday Harbor, WA) – December 31, 2021 – The San Juan Island Library District was notified by the Town of a major leak at the former Life Care Center in the early evening of December 30th and worked with the Fire Department and Town to ensure that the emergency sprinkler system was shut down to stop any further leakage. The main water supply to the property had previously been shut off on December 24th, but the emergency fire suppression system is connected directly to the water main. 

The District maintains a presence at the building five days per week, and the caretaker was onsite through midday on Wednesday, December 29th.  At that time, there was no problem noted. Thus, the fire suppression pipes froze and burst sometime overnight on December 29th and the leak occurred between then and the afternoon of the 30th when neighbors heard alarms. At that time, the District worked with the Town, Fire Department, and OPALCO to stop the leak and render the building safe. 

There has been damage to the building from the water leakage. The District is assessing its extent and will be taking action to keep the building safe and secure. The plan is still to replace the existing building with a structure which meets current construction code and which is suitable for a community library, after a planning and funding process which will begin in 2022.

The District thanks Town, Fire Department, and OPALCO teams for their fast response to yesterday’s event. There will be a report with further details at the District’s upcoming board meeting on January 11th at 3pm, after examination by qualified contractors. 

Weekly Covid Case Update

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:49 pm by

NOTE: the situation is changing quickly and cases are increasing. This will be a long update, but please read the entire document. There are a number of critical details that it is important the community be aware of. Thank you!

Since the last update on Friday December 24th, there have been 54 new confirmed or probable cases in San Juan County. Current case count is now 533.

There are approximately seven unvaccinated close contacts of positive cases currently in quarantine in the islands.

  • Lopez Island: There is one new case on Lopez Island since the last update. There are four positive cases under active monitoring on Lopez Island at this time.
  • Orcas Island: There are forty-six new cases on Orcas Island since the last update. There are forty-four positive cases under active monitoring on Orcas Island. Approximately thirty-one of these new cases are tied in some way to the ongoing outbreak, including some suspected tertiary contacts (people infected by people who were infected by people who were at the original event).
  • San Juan Island: There are seven new cases on San Juan Island since the last update. There are eight positive cases under active monitoring on San Juan Island at this time.

Overall Picture: Read More »

Letter from Sarah Werling Sandwith

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:46 pm, by

Dear Editor, On February 8, 2022, the community of San Juan Island will be asked to vote to renew a local property tax. The Educational Programs and Operations Levy funds our local public schools, 100% of which stays in our community, supporting our students in programs not funded by the state. This levy is renewed  Continue Reading

Letter from J. Michael Edwards

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:44 pm, by

In the mailbag this afternoon we find this letter to you from J. Michael Edwards… The PHD #1 Again ‘Missing the Boat’ In their press release of Nov. 24, 2021 the PHD #1 stated: “On November 2, 2021, residents voted for San Juan Island EMS to remain under the jurisdiction of San Juan County Public  Continue Reading

Advance Camping Reservations

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:38 pm, by

San Juan County Parks & Fair is soon offering advance camping reservations for San Juan County year-round residents, for two weeks only! Proof of residency is required. Early resident reservations will be accepted from January 26 until February 9. Email requests (preferred) are accepted at 6:00 am on January 26th via email After 1:00  Continue Reading

San Juan Island Fire and Rescue Committed to Continuous Improvement for all Emergency Response

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:32 pm, by

Here’s a letter to you from SJI Fire & Rescue… San Juan Island Fire and Rescue (SJIF&R) remains committed to continuous improvement in our service to our islands’ communities to ensure professional, quality, and compassionate emergency response and service. Why does SJIF&R respond to medical calls? First: SJIF&R’s guiding principle is do what is right  Continue Reading

SJIMA Introduces Its New Board Members

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 4:38 am, by

Joining the board of the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) are Lisa Brooks, Barb Snider and Rob Ray who all share of love of the arts. Join us in welcoming them to our art museum board. Lisa Brooks is a 3rd generation Seattleite who was introduced at a young age to Pacific Northwest art  Continue Reading

Girls Basketball League

Posted on December 30, 2021 at 2:17 pm, by

It is time to register for Island Rec Girls Basketball Leagues, open to all kids in grades 2 through 8. The focus of this league is development and improvement of individual and team skills. Previous basketball experience is not required.  All games are played on Island, Sundays in Turnbull Gym. Girl’s basketball practices begin the  Continue Reading

Water Rationing Order

Posted on December 30, 2021 at 2:13 pm, by

The Town of Friday Harbor has noted that water levels in the water storage tanks in Town are dangerously low and the Town is therefore imposing an immediate water rationing order and may later need to initiate planned service outages to maintain service. We have no indication that there are major leaks in the distribution  Continue Reading

Goodbye Cafe Demeter

Posted on December 29, 2021 at 9:46 pm, by

Marilyn O’Conner shares this photo of Jordyn Magnuson (left) and Alex Hayes (right), two of the crew on either side of Pam Stewart, owner of Cafe Demeter, as they hang the “closed” sign on Christmas Eve.   The bakery is closing permanently.  It has been a beloved community gathering place for many years, not just  Continue Reading

Check for Leaks or Broken Pipes

Posted on December 29, 2021 at 3:42 pm, by

To Friday Harbor water system customers – Town of Friday Harbor is asking anyone who owns or lives in property served by the Town water system to check for water leaks both inside and outside. Since the freezing temperatures arrived the Town has seen an unusual draw down of our water tanks challenging the ability  Continue Reading

Winter Visitor at Dream Lake

Posted on December 29, 2021 at 9:34 am, by

“Neither Rain nor snow nor heat nor…” well you know the rest. It seems nothing keeps these beautiful birds from arriving at this chilly time of year. John Miller shares another of his gorgeous photos.

New WA State Law Will Reduce the Use of Single-use Utensils, Condiments, and Straws Beginning Jan. 1

Posted on December 29, 2021 at 9:28 am, by

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Washington restaurants will no longer automatically include single-use food service items like utensils, condiments, and straws with food orders. A new state law restricts the use of these items and prohibits packaged bundles of single-use items in order to reduce waste and litter – although customers can still request individual items if needed.  Continue Reading

Artists’ Registry Show Celebrates Its 10-Year Anniversary With a Peek Behind the Scenes

Posted on December 28, 2021 at 3:45 pm, by

Volunteers at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) have been busy over the last few weeks, preparing for the annual Artists’ Registry Show, which opened its doors December 17.  The show is the much-anticipated event highlighting the recent works of artists from each of the San Juan Islands.  A bit of history follows.  Continue Reading

Winter Message from the Town

Posted on December 28, 2021 at 11:44 am, by

To Town Water Customers: The recent cold snap has caused pipes to freeze in houses and buildings that have never had that issue before.  Due to increased water usage, we know there are more leaks in the system.  We ask everyone to check their houses, inside and out, to make sure they don’t have burst  Continue Reading

Help Dena Royal

Posted on December 28, 2021 at 5:10 am, by

Dena Royal lost her boat home with all her belongings when it sank during Sunday’s storm. You can help her by donating to this emergency fund set up for her by her daughter at GoFundMe.