Merri Ann’s Real Estate News

Posted on December 6, 2021 at 11:42 am by

Merri Ann Simonson checks in again with this month’s market snapshot. Here she is with more…

This is the December Market Snapshot as presented by the Simonson and Zambrovitz Team. The market is very similar to last year this time as it relates to inventory and pending transactions.

Rate Updates and New Programs from OPALCO Coming in 2022

Posted on December 6, 2021 at 4:23 am by

The November OPALCO Board Meeting included several changes for cooperative members including a 4% rate increase for all members, a change to the way solar producers get paid for the excess power they sell back to the co-op, and exciting additions to the Switch It Up! program including rooftop solar and battery storage systems.

The 2022 OPALCO annual budget was approved and included a 4% rate increase. Due to COVID, OPALCO did not increase rates in 2021 but must resume a normal schedule of rate increases to keep up with inflation, the rising cost of power and labor, and to manage the Co-op’s equity position. The Co-op uses equity to borrow federal funds for major capital projects, like the submarine cable replacements that are scheduled in the next 10-20 years. Starting in 2022, members may also notice a $2 convenience fee for credit card transactions which will help lower operating costs (and keep rates down).

After six months of board discussion and consideration of member feedback on both sides of the issue, OPALCO’s Board of Directors approved a new tariff and policy that will change the structure of how OPALCO buys back excess power from members who generate their own power.  Local solar producers will see a credit in dollars on their bill each month for excess power production and the surplus is banked on their power bill (instead of banking kWh credits). The rate OPALCO pays for their excess production will be $0.0849/kWh (for 2022 the tariffs will include a 4% increase). The new tariff goes into effect on January 1, 2022, and existing solar producers can remain on the legacy rate by letting OPALCO know by June 30, 2022. Read More »

Update from San Juan Island School District Superintendent

Posted on December 5, 2021 at 4:11 am by

Can you believe it? Winter break is almost upon us. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we opened our school doors to full day, in-person instruction? Even though this fall has flown by, last week’s Thanksgiving celebration reminded me we have much to be grateful for in our public schools.

Hopefully you have noticed the rebuilding of the tennis courts. Weather has kept us from final completion, but we are looking forward to using this facility by early spring. In addition to the tennis courts, we have begun work on the following:

  1. Re-roofing Stuart Island School.
  2. Developing plans for the new art room in the STEM building.
  3. Initiating design development for the high school science and culinary rooms.

We want you to know that we are making progress on our Capital Projects list, and we are sincerely thankful for the community support of our Capital levy two years ago. Read More »

Celebrating 20 Years

Posted on December 4, 2021 at 5:33 am by

The San Juan Community Home Trust held its Annual Meeting recently. The theme of the meeting was celebration – of 20 years of operation of the Home Trust, 41 permanently affordable homes developed and occupied, and another 8 units coming online in 2022.

The vision and work of the organization’s founders was recognized in a conversation between Dina Melic, a former board member and current Home Trust homeowner, and our founders, Larry Soll, Jim Lawrence, and Pete Kilpatrick. Their early recognition of the need for affordable housing and effort to make that possibility a reality will benefit island families in perpetuity. In addition, Sandy Bishop, Executive Director of the Lopez Community Land Trust talked about the meaning of community and how that plays out in Community Land Trusts, with the development of permanently affordable housing all over the country and especially in the San Juan Islands.

Also celebrated was the service of present and past board members, as the election took place for new board members joining the team for the 2022/23 term. Nickie Davis, Bob Anderson, Erica Hamlin, Chinmayo Ricketts, and Sarah Benson were elected at the meeting. Their talents, voices and commitment to the mission will add new energy and talent to the Board. Their election offered another reason to celebrate.

The San Juan Community Home Trust, the only developer of permanently affordable housing on San Juan Island.

A Mayor’s Farewell

Posted on December 4, 2021 at 4:21 am by

A letter to the community from Friday Harbor Mayor Farhad Ghatan…

Farhad Ghatan

As I reflect on my past eight years working for this council and the Town I so dearly love, I am filled with gratitude for those who have seen fit to allow me to represent their interests as well as those who have made this journey such a pleasure. My thanks go out to our loyal and devoted employees who see our ideas, plans and policies to fruition.

Our public works department is always willing to make improvements that affect our daily lives. From creating one of the State’s top water systems to award winning improvements to streets, sidewalks and parks, as well as managing a complex sewer, stormwater and refuse system, the crew never gets enough appreciation for their efforts.

Town administration has always been such a pleasure to work with. Our finance department has kept us in compliance with state and federal regulators and more importantly, in the black through downturns and other fiscal challenges. Our community development and planning department has risen to new challenges and are working to bring in an era of modernity to all aspects of their realm. We have been so fortunate to have a systems administrator who continually brings us ideas on improving our data security, electronics and a host of systems upgrades that will keep us ahead in this ever changing world, and then builds, installs and programs them himself.

Special thanks goes to the Town clerk Amy Taylor who makes sure the Mayor is well prepared for meetings but also makes sure the Mayor is doing his job correctly. Her grasp of government function is comprehensive and impressive.

And then there’s the 10 million dollar man, Duncan Wilson… Read More »

Magical Christmas Shopping

Posted on December 4, 2021 at 4:02 am by

* Carefully curated and beautifully presented gift selections for everyone on your list, from grandparents to pets

* Delightfully packaged handmade Christmas cookies

* Unbelievable raffles, including a 1 /2 hour helicopter tour for 4 people

* Exquisite Christmas trees-already decorated just for you

* Merry chats with St. Nick for kids and adults

Saturday, December 11 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Mullis Center, 589 Nash St, Friday Harbor, WA

  • Free admission!
  • Free cider and donuts while they last!

All proceeds will benefit Peace Island Volunteers’ Angel Fund which helps patients pay for medical emergencies and necessities not covered by insurance.
PO Box 3077, Friday Harbor WA 98250

Weekly Covid Case Update

Posted on December 3, 2021 at 12:57 pm by

Since the last update on Friday November 26th, there have been 6 new confirmed or probable cases in San Juan County. Current case count is now 437.

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

  • Lopez Island: There are no new cases on Lopez Island since the last update. There are no positive cases under active monitoring on Lopez Island at this time.
  • Orcas Island: There are two new cases on Orcas Island since the last update. There is one positive case under active monitoring on Orcas Island.
  • San Juan Island: There are four new cases on San Juan Island since the last update. There are three positive cases under active monitoring on San Juan Island at this time.

This week’s report shows a very welcome reduction in cases, and the recent outbreaks appear to have been controlled.

Did you know that there were more COVID cases in San Juan County in November of this year than in the entirety of 2020? The County Public Health Surveillance Team has been working literally non-stop to respond to the recent waves of cases. Tremendous thanks to them, our school staff, local healthcare providers, pharmacies, and others who have been working overtime. And thanks to the impacted islanders who have helped do their part.

IMPORTANT: Get Your Booster!

Registration is now open for Moderna booster shots. Clinics being held the week of December 13th on Orcas, Lopez, and San Juan Islands. This will be your easiest, fastest, simplest remaining opportunity to get your booster. Nearly 5,000 islanders have already signed up for or received their boosters. Please make sure you don’t miss out. Appointments are available now for:

  • Adults 18+ Fully Vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna (second dose more than 6 mos. ago)
  • Adults 18+ Who Received a Johnson & Johnson Dose at least 2 mos. ago
  • Adults 18+ Needing a First or Second Dose (Moderna only)


Position Available on the San Juan Island Library Board of Trustees

Posted on December 3, 2021 at 4:45 am by

Love your library? Join the San Juan Island Library Board of Trustees! The Board is seeking candidates to fill a partial, two-year term vacancy on its five-member library board. This non-paid term of office spans from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023, with eligibility for reappointment to a full five-year term. Recommendation will be submitted by the current Board of Trustees, and the appointment made by the San Juan County Council.

The San Juan Island Library is in a dynamic time of library service. The Library and its staff navigated creative ways to provide evolving library services to patrons during COVID-19, and is successfully transitioning to full operation. Late last year, the Library acquired the old Life Care Center property on Spring Street.  

In 2022, the trustees’ focus will be on passage of a bond issue in the November 2022 general election to help finance a new library building. Over the next several years, trustees’ focus will include a multitude of activities related to the new library project, including: design, construction, fundraising, and engaging the community in every step of the development process. For a full job description, visit:

Official letters of interest and qualifications may be sent to the Board of Trustees via email to or via mail to San Juan Island Library, Board of Trustees, 1010 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. All submissions must be received by Friday, December 17, 2021, in order to be considered for the position.

For more information contact Barbara Sharp, Library Trustee, at (360) 472-0148.

Town and Utility Customers Donate $3,292 to Food Bank

Posted on December 3, 2021 at 4:03 am, by

The Town of Friday Harbor thanks the community for supporting the local food bank with their generous contributions to the Harbor Life Ring program this November. Town utility customer donations of $1,646 were matched with a $1,646 grant from the Town for a total donation of $3,292 to the Friday Harbor Food Bank. This is  Continue Reading

Partial Closure of Licensing and Recording Services on December 15

Posted on December 3, 2021 at 3:15 am, by

The Auditor’s Customer Service division will be closed from noon to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, December 15, for the department’s annual meeting. Customer Service provides recording services, as well as licensing services for vehicles, vessels, marriages, and dogs.  Services will be available on December 15 from 10:00 am through noon, and again from 1:30 to  Continue Reading

San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 to Acquire The Village at the Harbor

Posted on December 2, 2021 at 9:40 am, by

On November 2, 2021, San Juan County residents voted in favor of the District acquiring the Village at the Harbor. Integration of the Village into the Hospital District will begin in early March of 2022. The current administrator at the Village, Evan Perrollaz, has agreed to remain in his position indefinitely following the acquisition.  Part  Continue Reading

Santa’s Mailbox

Posted on December 2, 2021 at 5:50 am, by

Santa is waiting to hear from the children and wants you to know that his mailbox is back and is located at 180 Web St., in Van Go’s driveway. Each letter that is received will get a reply so please make sure there is a return address and name on the letters! The materials were  Continue Reading

Now Open – Killebrew Lake Road

Posted on December 2, 2021 at 12:21 am, by

UPDATE – Killebrew Lake Road on Orcas Island is now open. Public Works completed their assessment Thursday morning and have determined that the road is safe to open. Laporte Road remains closed just past the intersection with John Jones Road.

Holiday Art Show

Posted on December 1, 2021 at 5:50 am, by

11 San Juan Island Artists Offer New Works at the Friday Harbor Atelier’s Holiday Art Show The public is invited to a Holiday Open House on Friday, December 3rd from 4:00 – 7:00 pm “This year more than ever, we want to celebrate local small businesses and encourage islanders to give the gift of handmade  Continue Reading

Island Senior: Healthy Holidays and the COVID-19 Variant Omicron

Posted on December 1, 2021 at 5:50 am, by

“Island Senior” is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae… Celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, all of us double vaxed and boostered, we enjoyed a relaxing evening without wearing masks. In spite of winter spikes in local numbers of COVID cases it was beginning to look like we might be  Continue Reading

“Communities of Hope” Gala a Successful Event

Posted on December 1, 2021 at 5:40 am, by

Compass Health’s 2021 Building Communities of Hope Gala Raises Nearly $110,000 to Benefit Child, Youth and Family Behavioral Health Services EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 30, 2021 – Compass Health’s fifth-annual Building Communities of Hope Gala raised nearly $110,000 in support of the organization’s child, youth and family behavioral health services during a virtual event held on  Continue Reading

Conservation Land Bank Seeks Public Input on Coffelt Farm Study and Proposed Agricultural Policy

Posted on November 30, 2021 at 8:54 am, by

After more than two years of research and community outreach, the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank has entered the final phase in planning future agricultural operations at Coffelt Farm Preserve. The Land Bank invites the public to submit written comments on a new Coffelt Farm study and to attend a Zoom meeting on December  Continue Reading

PIMC Earns National Award

Posted on November 30, 2021 at 8:47 am, by

Peace Health shares this announcement with you… Friday Harbor, Wash. – We are pleased to announce that PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center has been recognized with a 2021 Guardian of Excellence Award® by Press Ganey, the national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement. PeaceHealth Peace Island has earned this distinction five years in a  Continue Reading

2021 Coat Giveaway

Posted on November 30, 2021 at 5:42 am, by

Old Coats, Warm Coats, Short Coats, Long Coats – Kids Coats too! Bring your clean coats with a hanger to Cynthia’s Bistro Thursday to Mondays 8:00 to 3:00! We will be hanging them on the corner of Nichols Street (On the picket fence by Roy’s Drive through), Thursdays to Mondays – 8:00 to 3:00 if  Continue Reading

Laporte Road on Orcas Island Closed

Posted on November 29, 2021 at 3:59 pm, by

A blocked culvert has created a dangerous situation on Laporte Road on Orcas Island. A large amount of water has built up on the uphill side of the road, and the roadway is in danger of failure, in particular with more rain in the forecast. The closure is on Laporte Road, just up from the  Continue Reading

Beeswax Wrap Workshop

Posted on November 29, 2021 at 5:50 am, by

Just in time for Holiday Gift Season, Join Anita Barreca and Tina Fisher in learning how to make Beeswax Wraps.  They’re easy!  Just bring your own 100% cotton fabric cut to the proper sizes and a few bucks to cover the cost of the beeswax.  Space is limited so sign up soon and we will  Continue Reading

Island Lights Festival

Posted on November 29, 2021 at 5:45 am, by

The San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the Island Lights Festival on Friday December 3rd at 6:30pm! This kickoff event for the Friday Harbor Winterfest is partnering with Island Rec and of course Santa Claus. It will be a fun-filled evening when all start gathering at 6:30pm on Spring Street between  Continue Reading