Friday Harbor Film Festival Presents Adventure Films Starting March 1

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

From Friday Harbor Film Festival

Friday Harbor Film Festival’s Director Series presents “Unbranded” and “The River and the Wall,” offering viewers adventure and discovery online from March 1-15 at

Screen each film for only $2.95. Since December this series has attracted film lovers from 16 countries including Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US.

“Unbranded,” directed by Phil Baribeau, is an in-between-college-and-real-life adventure, a message, and a wakeup call for better land and wild horse management. After adopting a group of wild mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management and then training them, four recent college grads travel 3,000 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border up the spine of former ‘wild west’ to the Canadian border.

Traveling through almost exclusively public lands they live out their dream of being 19th century frontiersmen while using a 21st century camera to document their rite of passage through the deepest backcountry of five states in the American West. Woven into this adventure is the ongoing debate about how to manage wild horses on public lands, where the BLM clashes with activists and ranchers when they capture wild horses and recruit people to adopt them. The filmmakers have created a powerful film following the journey of 4 men, 16 mustangs, and a changing American West. Read More »

Building Custom Construction on San Juan Island

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

Contributed Photo. Merri Ann Simonson.

By Merri Ann Simonson, Managing Broker, Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc

As inventory is very low for existing single-family homes, more and more buyers are considering custom construction.

Building custom allows you to design and build the exact floor plan and exterior elevation that suits your needs, your budget and is well cited to the land.

Step One:

Determine your budget for the project. If you are not using cash on hand and plan to involve a lender, then you need to determine your maximum loan qualification. You need to be pre-qualified by a lender for your permanent take-out loan as that is the loan that pays off your construction costs or construction/land loan.

Funding Arrangements

Prior to finding the perfect parcel It is imperative that you plan your purchasing method. Cash always works but . . . . . .

Seller financing is a good option, they basically act as the bank and take a secured position on the property with a note and deed of trust. Seller financing is typically short-term in nature such as 1-3 years, the interest rate is at least 1-2% above a convention residential loan.

The down payment is around 20-30%, but typically, no appraisal, or junk, or loan fees. The seller will want to review your credit report and 2- year tax returns. Arrangements for seller financing is quicker than institutional loans and can be processed within 20 days or less from mutual acceptance of the contract.

Read More »

San Juan Island Prevention Coalition Continues Peer Training

Posted on February 28, 2021 at 4:30 am by

Contributed Image

From San Juan Island Prevention Coalition

We have some good news to share from the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition.

In these times of being “Zoomed Out” and still physically distancing, we have some local teens staying engaged in helping promote a healthier community! We thought we’d share a little backstory on our Peer 2 Peer progress.

Our San Juan Island Prevention Coalition’s youth team, Rock Solid, has been invited to help teach some of the wellness workshop material for this year’s Peer 2 Peer training.

Feb. 26, 2020, was the pilot for the Peer 2 Peer program, a regional youth leadership training created by Danika Troupe and Hailey Wright in Sedro Woolley with United General.

The state provided grants to cover the program. Rock Solid went last February for an all-day in-person training on the mainland; this was just before the fallout of COVID -19 hitting our communities hard. Our team included Luke Fincher, Ramona Flierl, and Clarence Harold. They were able to pivot and provide an interactive and engaging series of wellness workshops via Zoom for our 7th and 8th grade health and career classes last April and May!

The critical topics of media literacy, social norms, coping skills, and the science of marijuana and the developing brain, carry more weight when delivered by their peers.

Luke Fincher decided to make his “Community Project Class” project out of this model this school year, as he’s a junior. Luke continued to mentor two 8th grade students involved in the H.O.T.S. Jr. (Helping Out Teens Society) prevention club. Interestingly, years ago, the HOTS Jr. club was created by a Community Project’s Class member with a mentor, our executive coordinator Cynthia Stark-Wickman.

Read More »

Public Hospital District Settles Records Lawsuit

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

From San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1

On Jan. 5, the San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1 received a request from Eric Hood stating that “I learned that your organization was recently audited by the state auditor,” and “May I have all records it got from the auditor and all records of any response to the audit or to the audit report, including any changes or planned changes to policies or practices?”

This request did not identify a specific record and could have been denied.

Instead, the district released its three most recent audit reports, which include the district’s response to the audit, and asked the requestor to provide clarification on what was specifically desired.

The requestor responded it was audit 1023513, which we had provided. The District took this as confirmation that he had received the requested report. He did not ask for a more detailed response, set of records, or indicate dissatisfaction in any way.

During the last week before the statute of limitations on public records lawsuits ran out, the requestor filed a lawsuit against the district alleging that we did not comply with his request. The district has opted to settle this lawsuit for $15,000. Read More »

County Food System Team Researches Islands Food Production, Purchasing

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

Contributed Photo/Megan Thomas

By Caitlin Leck, Food System Team Coordinator

For the last 10 months, the San Juan County Food System Team, comprised of representatives from WSU San Juan County Extension, San Juan County Health and Community Services, San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild, San Juan County Agricultural Resource Committee and Orcas Food Co-op, has been assessing how food is produced, processed, distributed, consumed, and disposed of in San Juan County.

Our mission is to create a food system plan that provides a shared framework for collaborative decision-making in our county and region.

By fostering an equitable, localized food system, our vision is to create the conditions for social justice, environmental stewardship and a thriving economy.

Thanks to a private donation, the team hired Caitlin Leck as coordinator and took a deep dive into secondary data research, using the USDA’s AMS Economics of Local Food Systems Toolkit and the Whatcom Community Food Assessment as guides.

We pulled data from well over 100 sources and conducted interviews with key stakeholders from eight sectors: Land, Water, Farming, Fishing & Aquaculture, Economy & Labor, Processing & Distribution, Consumption and Waste.

Concurrently, many data collection efforts were coming into focus in the county: the Voluntary Stewardship Program’s Ag Viability survey, San Juan County Local Food survey, Lopez Food Center feasibility study, and San Juan Makers Guild assets and needs survey. Through financial support and engagement, the Food System Team made it possible for these efforts to ramp up in scale and implementation. 

Leveraging this cooperation and collaboration allowed us to gather the data we needed while sharing costs, eliminating redundant work and multiplying benefits across many organizations.

Collectively the data will give us a much clearer picture of the economic opportunities and challenges of agriculture, what drives food purchasing choices in the county, how important local production is to consumers and the desire for infrastructure investment. Read More »

Take Basic Boater Education Course Online

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

From U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Course

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Bellingham and San Juan Islands Flotilla is offering three opportunities for boaters to take an online Washington State Basic Boater Education Course.

The course is for anyone wishing to learn safe boating skills and qualify for a Boater Education Card, issued by the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission.

All Washington state residents must carry a Boater Education Card while on the water operating a power-boat greater than 15 horsepower. This includes people over 12 years of age and applies to anyone who was born after Jan. 1, 1955.

The eight-hour course is provided over Zoom. The course fee is $20 and the online course handbook costs $5 to download. Upon successful completion of the eight-hour course, attendees may submit a copy of their individual “Certificate of Accomplishment” with a $10 fee to be issued a Washington State Boater Education Card.

There are three opportunities available for you to take this online class: Read More »

No New COVID-19 Cases This Week In San Juans

Posted on February 26, 2021 at 8:17 pm by

Contributed Image/CDC

From San Juan County

Since the last update on Friday, Feb. 19, total cases in San Juan County have remained steady at 129. There is one close contact of a positive case currently in active quarantine.

Orcas Island

There are no new cases on Orcas Island since the last update.
There are no positive cases under active monitoring on Orcas Island at this time.

Lopez Island

There are no new cases on Lopez Island. There are no positive cases on Lopez Island at this time.

San Juan Island

There are no new cases on San Juan Island. There are no positive cases under active monitoring on San Juan Island at this time.


First off, let’s take a moment to savor the fact that this is our first week with no new cases since early October, back when our case count was at a modest 32. Read More »

Friday Harbor High School Starts Hybrid Learning March 8

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

Sports Kicks Off February 22


Contributed photo/ SJISD. Superintendent Fred Woods.

By Fred Woods, San Juan Island School District Superintendent

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a year since schools were closed across Washington due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been difficult for all of us, but at this point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Now that we are in “phase two,” I feel very optimistic that we are heading in the right direction.

I am proud of the work this school district did last March to quickly create a remote learning program to serve the public school students of our island. Since last year, vast improvements have been made to our teleschooling program, Griffin Bay School was reimagined to provide flexibility to families, and the Food for Thought food service program created healthy meals-to-go and found ways to get breakfasts and lunches to our community’s children, ages 0-18.

An argument could be made that this remote educational model is not as strong as a traditional one. However, our students have shown great fortitude in finding success under circumstances that none of us expected.

In late fall, the elementary school opened the doors to our youngest learners, kindergarten through 2nd grade in a hybrid form of in-person learning. In February, the rest of the elementary students joined them. On Thursday, Feb. 25, the middle school brought students back to campus.

It is now our pleasure to announce that on Monday, March 8, Friday Harbor High School will also begin in-person learning using the same hybrid format implemented in all the other schools. Specific information for families will be sent to them concerning this reopening by the end of this week. Read More »

Animal Protection Society Creates Spay/Neuter Clinic for Low Income

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

By the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor On Feb. 23, coinciding with World Spay Day, The Animal Protection Society Friday Harbor announced the launch of the APS-FH Spay/Neuter Clinic. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “cost is the reason most often cited by owners for not having their  Continue Reading

San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Warns Of Scams

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

From San Juan County Sheriff’s Office We are currently experiencing a large number of scam phone calls where the caller is stating he is Sgt. Peter of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. After stating the victim has an arrest warrant, they are demanding money be transferred to their account to prevent an arrest. If  Continue Reading

Kids Can Learn Hands-On Trades Skills Online

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

From San Juan County Economic Development Council The San Juan County Economic Development Council, in partnership with WSU Extension’s San Juan County 4-H program, is creating activities for children to introduce them to different trades in a fun and hands-on program that is offered remotely. The first installment on fire preplanning will launch on March  Continue Reading

San Juan County COVID-19 Second Dose Q&A

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

From San Juan County As the vaccine continues to roll out, an increasing number of islanders are receiving their second doses. Below is some key information to keep in mind.  1. When it is time to schedule your second dose, you’ll get an email from a email address with the link to register. 2.  Continue Reading

Animal Protection Society Presents Pet Of The Week

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

From the Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor Age: Approximately 6 years Sex: Male Breed: Domestic Longhair Application: Shadow is an awesome cat that is full of personality and has a real zest for life! He had a difficult start living on the streets of Yakima, but has made his way over to San  Continue Reading

Town To Begin Two-Month Utility Work On Spring Street

Posted on February 24, 2021 at 5:30 am, by

From the Town of Friday Harbor The Town of Friday Harbor has finalized engineering plans for the replacement of sewer and stormwater lines located in Spring Street between First and Second Streets in the downtown core. The work is planned to begin mid-March with completion in late May. The high volume of traffic and number  Continue Reading

Spring Street International School Presents Forager Discussion Online

Posted on February 24, 2021 at 5:00 am, by

From Spring Street International School Join Joshua Hoyt for a discussion on foraging, a word emphasizing the act of searching for wild edibles, at 6 p.m., March 16. While modern foraging is often about the search, indigenous people thought very differently about what it meant to get food from their environment. Far from a passive,  Continue Reading

Leadership San Juan Islands Presents Governance Seminar

Posted on February 24, 2021 at 4:30 am, by

From Leadership San Juan Islands Join the Leadership San Juan Islands Board and staff as we host a conversation with local and county leaders on the current topic of leadership and governance at noon, Friday, Feb. 26. Register here. Featured speakers include San Juan County Court judges, the sheriff’s department, public defender, town, county and  Continue Reading

Register for Virtual San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit

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

From event organizers The 2021 San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit will be held virtually from March 20-April 16. Registration closes March 14.  Designed as a space for inspiration, education, and community building, the 2021 Summit is bringing together farmers, producers, and food system advocates to learn and discuss ways to build an equitable future for  Continue Reading

Online San Juan School Board Meeting Wednesday

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

By Hayley Day, San Juan Update At 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, the San Juan Island School District Board of Directors will hold a meeting on Zoom. The board will vote on whether to approve the start dates for athletic seasons.  View the entire agenda here. To access the meeting, visit Or call to  Continue Reading

New ‘Friday Harbor Happenings’ Episode Premieres This Week

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

From San Juan Community Theatre Set to premiere this week, it’s the latest episode of your favorite local web series, “Friday Harbor Happenings.” To watch the next episode and catch up on our past episodes, click here. This new, digital work is a satirical sketch comedy show with an ensemble cast, created by San Juan  Continue Reading

Hospitality Jobs Down In San Juans, But Trade, Construction Jobs Available

Posted on February 22, 2021 at 5:30 am, by

By Minnie Knych, Northwest Workforce Council Career Center Despite the increase in unemployment in San Juan County, there is some good news. There are jobs available in several sectors of the economy.  As we all know, many San Juan County businesses are seasonal and thrive during the summer but start to lay off employees in  Continue Reading

Council To Hold Vacation Rental Moratorium Public Hearing Tuesday

Posted on February 22, 2021 at 5:00 am, by

By Hayley Day, San Juan Update At 9:15 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23, the San Juan County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on its vacation rental permit application moratorium. The council approved a six-month moratorium on vacation rental permit applications from Jan. 13 through July 13. The resolution states that “while this moratorium  Continue Reading

Buy A Bait Shop Meal, Support Friday Harbor Seniors

Posted on February 22, 2021 at 4:30 am, by

By Travis Ayers, Friday Harbor High School Grad Night Volunteers are raising funds for Friday Harbor High School Grad Night by selling four delicious meals at Haley’s Bait Shop. Order the meals online by Wednesday, Feb. 24, and pick up the meals from 4-7 p.m., Wednesday, March 3. Enter Sunshine Alley off First Street with  Continue Reading