Island Senior: Mindfulness and a Healthy Brain

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 6:24 am by

Blue Buddha – Peggy Sue McRae photo

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

The practice of mindfulness is an important tool to have in your mental toolbox especially when life gets stressful. I’ve learned different mindfulness techniques or meditation practices over the years mostly within the context of a yoga class or Buddhist teaching.

Recently, I began taking a class, Mindfulness For Wellbeing and Peak Performance, a free online course through Future Learn from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. This class approaches mindfulness from a scientific perspective.

Recent studies of mindfulness, described as awareness, paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment, have changed how we see the brain. It used to be thought that your adult brain had reached its apex and would only deteriorate. Neuroscience today tells a more hopeful story. Read More »

Rotary gives $15,000 to local charities and PolioPlus Fund

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 6:22 am by

Left to right:  Jim & Sue Corenman (Sports Car Club), Jennifer Armstrong (Joyce L Sobel FRC), Mariluz Villa (Hospice of San Juan), Brad Whittaker (District Gov), Tom Sibert (Rotary Pres), Theresa Tilton (FUG board), Brian Moore (Family Umbrella Group) – Contributed photo

The following is from Carla Wright, Publicity – Rotary Club of San Juan Islands…

The Rotary Club of San Juan Islands recently presented checks to the recipients of proceeds from the 13th annual Concours d’Elegance held on August 24th at the San Juan Vineyard. This event is co-sponsored by the Sports Car Club of San Juan Islands.

Each organization, (Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center, Family Umbrella Group, and Hospice of San Juan) received $4,450.00 presented by our District Governor, Brad Whittaker. PolioPlus Fund of Rotary International received $1,000.

Please support the recipients as well as our following sponsors: Porsche Bellingham, San Juan Vineyard, Peace Health/Peace Island Medical Center, Heritage Bank, IPS, San Juan Interiors, Browne’s Home Center, Carquest Auto Parts, Dr. Brian Crain, Island Group Sotheby’s, Earthbox, Friday Harbor House, Windermere SJI, Island Home Finishes, Friday Harbor Drug, King’s Market, Roche Harbor Resort, Kenmore Air, M&W Auto, Sandstrom Law, Safe Harbor Insurance, Harbor Rental, Friday Harbor Electric, Aeronautical Services, Printonyx, Inter-Island Propane, Discovery Sea Kayaks, Island Gardens.

Court Decision to Consider Orcas

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 6:15 am by

SJ Update File photo, Whales & Shipping – Shannon Rankin, NOAA/NMFS/SWFSC

WA Superior Court requires state to reconsider impacts to orcas in Skagit County refinery expansion project
Thurston County Superior Court rules on decision from Shoreline Hearings Board related to Marathon Oil’s Anacortes Refinery; environmental groups appealed for failing to consider vessel traffic impacts

THURSTON COUNTY, WA — On Friday, October 11, the Thurston County Superior Court agreed with arguments made by a coalition of environmental organizations and more than 7,500 residents that the Shorelines Hearings Board must consider whether Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a refinery expansion project in Skagit County adequately considers vessel traffic impacts to the Salish Sea and the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas, as well as the significant increases in pollution that cause climate change.

The Superior Court ruling is related to a decision from the Shorelines Hearings Board granting permits for an expansion project at Marathon Oil’s (formerly Andeavor and previously known as Tesoro) Anacortes Refinery to begin manufacturing and exporting xylenes — petrochemicals used in plastics production — which would increase vessel traffic in the Salish Sea.

“This ruling means that environmental groups can now argue their case in front of the Shoreline Hearings Board that Skagit County failed to adequately address impacts to orcas and climate in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Anacortes Refinery expansion project. We look forward to having our day in court to get these issues resolved,” said Oliver Stiefel of Crag Law Center, the lawyer representing the case.

“This is a fantastic victory for all of us who live and recreate in the Salish Sea!” said Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of Friends of the San Juans.

The environmental organizations involved in the appeal in addition to Friends of the San Juans include Evergreen Islands,, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Friends of the Earth, and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. Read More »

Tim Eyman’s I-976 Severely Impacts Ferries

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 5:56 am by

Tim Eyman is back on the ballot with another $30 car-tab initiative, I-976. You may have seen the TV ads or visited on the web. Among a long list of cuts, I-976 would have an immediate effect on funding for ferry operations as well as maintenance and improvements.

The repercussions of Eyman’s I-695 twenty years ago should not be forgotten: Ferry fares nearly doubled over the following few years, and new vessel construction was shut down for the following decade. Ferry construction was funded by the vehicle excise tax, which was never replaced. There is still no capital funding program to replace aging ferries, each one requires an act of legislature and a patchwork of funding including a ticket surcharge. We see the continuing impact of I-695 every time we ride a ferry, and if I-976 passes it will only get worse.

I-976 would limit car tab fees to $30 and eliminate or limit a spectrum of weight and other fees, severely impacting transportation funding. Three-quarters of the hit is on the “Multimodal” Account, which funds a wide variety of alternative transportation systems: buses, light rail, HOV and HOT lanes, and … ferries.

For the current biennium (July 2019 to June 2021) $45 million is appropriated from the multimodal account to ferries operations. This represents about 9% of the total funding for operations and is very much at risk if I-976 passes.

The impact of this initiative statewide would be huge. How much of that would fall on WSF is unknown at this point, WSDOT and the legislature would have to make some very hard choices. But there is no magic, a decrease in ferries operations funding means reduced service or higher fares, or both. And another attack on transportation funding would certainly dampen any enthusiasm that the legislature might have for transportation improvements.

Please join us in voting “No!” on Initiative 976.

San Juan County Ferry Advisory Committee

Jim Corenman, Chair, San Juan Island;
Rick Hughes, County Council;
Larry Vandermay, Orcas;
Ken Burtness, Lopez;
Jennifer Swanson, Shaw;
Deborah Hopkins Buchanan, Visitors;
Pat McKay, Commercial Rep.

More financial info:

Master Gardeners Annual Workshop

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:21 pm by

Debra Prinzing of the “Slow Flowers” Movement Highlights the Master Gardeners Annual Gardening Workshop

“Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, from the Field to your Vase,” is the keynote address by Debra Prinzing, accomplished garden writer and advocate for American-grown flowers.

Debra’s talk addresses the renaissance of domestic flower farming and the emerging eco-floral design movement. As many cut flowers for market are laden with chemicals and imported thousands of miles, Debra will share her ideas about healthier alternatives for you, your home, and the planet. 

During each month of the year, the garden has something wonderful to offer those who want to enjoy cut floral arrangements indoors. Expand the way you view your own backyard, the flowers sold by vendors at your local farmer’s market and even the “weeds” in wild places. Debra’s presentation will feature her beautiful season-by-season bouquets and many useful tips for DIY floral design. Read More »

Third Saturday Contra Dance

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:19 pm by

Coming up on Saturday is this month’s Contra Dance. This month’s caller is Tom Wimmer from Seattle, and the Band is The Beats, from Bellingham, consisting of Steve Blum-Anderson on fiddle and Brigget LeClair on piano. 

This trio of folks are very talented and will be sure to get the crowd up and spinning around!  As the weather turns colder and wetter, a nice evening at the Grange Hall with good music and good friends is just the ticket.  So come join the party!

As always, all dances are taught, no need to bring a partner since with contra dance we change partners with each dance.  And no need to have any contra dance experience.  We have new dancers each time and they pick it right up and have a blast!

  • Grange Hall in Friday Harbor
  • Saturday October 19, 2019, 7 till 9 PM
  • $10 donation at the door, $5 students

The dance is sponsored by San Juan Island Grange #966.  Check our Facebook page at San Juan Islands Contra Dance.

WSF International Sailings to be Cancelled Temporarily

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm by

International ferry M/V Chelan and Mt. Baker – Tim Dustrude photo

Beginning Tuesday, November 12 through Sunday, December 8, international service between Anacortes/Friday Harbor/Sidney B.C. is cancelled due to required maintenance on both vessels in WSF’s fleet certified to run international service to and from Sidney B.C: M/V Elwha and M/V Chelan.

During this period, M/V Kitsap will replace Elwha/Chelan and sail in the #1 vessel position to maintain full 4-vessel service on the domestic San Juan Island routes. 

Reservation holders on the cancelled international sailings will not be charged no-show fees. Customers may also choose to change or cancel their reservations without penalty at  

Alternate routes during this period are between Tsawwassen/Swartz Bay on B.C. Ferries, or between Port Angeles/Victoria on the Black Ball Ferry Line.

Tree Hay – What is it and how to make it

Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm by

Join Grange scholarship recipient Dan Tucker as he describes the process of making ‘tree hay’ for livestock. Cattle, sheep and goats are all foragers, and appreciate variety in their diet.

The ancient process of bundling clippings from certain bush and tree species benefits your livestock and landscape.

October 17th at 6:00 pm for the Potluck; 7:00 pm for the Presentation. At the Grange Hall, 52 First Street North, Friday Harbor.

Rotary News

Posted on October 15, 2019 at 8:16 am, by

The Rotary Club of San Juan Island recently visited the Friday Harbor Elementary School for its annual distribution of dictionaries to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. The kids are excited to receive a dictionary of their own. Rotary have given over 3,000 dictionaries and thesauruses to students countywide for over 11 years under the  Continue Reading

Teen Open Gym with Island Rec

Posted on October 15, 2019 at 8:13 am, by

Teen Open Gym is now running for grades 6-12 on Sunday nights from 7-8:30pm. Grab a friend and come to the Turnbull Gym for some basketball or other indoor games at this free, drop-in program. A parent waiver is required. Check out all of Island Rec’s events at, stop by our office Monday –  Continue Reading

Merri Ann’s Real Estate News

Posted on October 15, 2019 at 8:09 am, by

Here’s a San Juan Island Real Estate Market Summary from Merri Ann Simonson… The third quarter results for San Juan Island and the County were consistent with the first and second quarter results.   Per the NWMLS, the dollar volume year-to-date on San Juan Island was $84,048,800 with a total of 135 transactions. This reflects a  Continue Reading

Alchemy Art Center’s 2019 Fall Fundraiser

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:49 am, by

Join Alchemy Art Center on October 18th at the San Juan Island Grange for a wonderful dinner generously provided by some of San Juan Island’s finest chefs and farms.  The event will include wine and live music, a live auction, and a raffle for the chance to win any one of the fantastic auction items!  Continue Reading

Girls and Boys Basketball Leagues

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:48 am, by

It is time to register for Island Rec Girls and Boys 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. Boys basketball league  Continue Reading

Escape Room Event

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 5:46 am, by

Do you have what it takes to escape? We invite you to join us for a night full of fun and mystery! Come try your luck at our astronomy themed escape room, where you will be tasked with solving puzzles, having fun, and saving the world. Most puzzles are aimed for ages 10+, but all  Continue Reading

Pet of the Week

Posted on October 12, 2019 at 8:40 am, by

Buongiorno, It’s Me, Luigi, Pet of the Week looking for a cozy couch for football Sunday! As you might guess from my salt and pepper sparkle, I’m the life of any party and quite a charmer if I do say so myself. Everyone says I could possibly be the sweetest Chihuahua Mix on Cattle Point.  Continue Reading

EDC Panel Discussion

Posted on October 12, 2019 at 8:36 am, by

Running a freelance or small consulting business Learn to navigate challenges faced by freelancers and similar small businesses at a panel discussion on November 7th at the Orcas Island library from 12:00 to 1:30 PM. This event will be helpful for anyone interested in starting a new freelance or consulting business and those already running  Continue Reading

APS-FH Volunteer of the Month

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 9:12 am, by

The Animal Protection Society of Friday Harbor has announced Allison Larson as the Volunteer of the Month for October, 2019. Allison started volunteering at the animal shelter in 2016 and has been a loyal and regular volunteer. Allison can always be counted on to cuddle cats, wash dishes and fold laundry. The staff and board  Continue Reading

New After-school Program Manager at Island Rec

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 9:08 am, by

Island Rec is proud to announce that Douglas Archuleta is joining the team as the new after-school Program Manager. Doug will be overseeing the Study Time and Afternoon Recreation (STAR) program at Friday Harbor Elementary School. After growing up primarily in King and Kitsap Counties, Doug went to school at Western Washington University where he  Continue Reading


Posted on October 11, 2019 at 9:05 am, by

In the San Juan Update Mailbag this morning, the SJIPC thanks the SJICF… The San Juan Island Prevention Coalition (SJIPC) would like to publicly thank the San Juan Island Community Foundation (SJICF) for their continued support of our island youth. Members of our Rock Solid Youth Prevention Team were able to attend a national leadership  Continue Reading

Ferry Go Round

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 9:03 am, by

The San Juan Island Garden Club will host their “Ferry Go Round” meeting aboard the inter-island ferry on Wednesday, October 23rd. This is a Sharing Time for Gardeners with: News of Upcoming events Remembering Past Events County Fair Flower Barn Ribbon Winners Bring your brown bag lunch including beverage                Anacortes           Friday Harbor    Orcas     Lopez  Continue Reading

Access to Mount Grant Preserve Confirmed

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 12:00 pm, by

A judge has confirmed public access to the 180-acre Mount Grant Preserve. This means that the 180-acre Preserve will remain open to the public from West Valley Road on San Juan Island. Some signage will be necessary to show alternative access to the 70-acre property that adjoins the preserve. The court ruling came in response  Continue Reading

Why do so Many Island Trees Look Unhealthy and Brown?

Posted on October 9, 2019 at 5:48 am, by

Have you noticed more and more trees turning brown or dying on your property or as you drive through the islands? Kevin Zobrist, Washington State University Extension professor, discusses what’s happening to our trees and forests. Learn how trees prioritize their resources under the impacts of stressors like climate change and our common root diseases,  Continue Reading