Into the sunset

Posted January 7, 2023 at 5:40 pm by

I’m writ­ing to let every­one know that today will be the last day in pub­li­ca­tion for the San Juan Update. I’ve enjoyed run­ning the Update over the last year, but oth­er work and fam­i­ly demands have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly in recent months, and those demands require more of my atten­tion in 2023 and beyond.

Thank you for your long-stand­ing sup­port of the San Juan Update, and for help­ing make the Update one of the great things about liv­ing in this community.

Resident camping reservations open Jan. 25

Posted January 7, 2023 at 4:58 pm by

The Coun­ty shares news about the open­ing of Coun­ty Park camp­ing reser­va­tions for 2023 for full-time San Juan Islands residents.

San Juan Coun­ty’s Parks, Recre­ation, and Fair Depart­ment is offer­ing advanced camp­ing reser­va­tions for San Juan Coun­ty year-round res­i­dents begin­ning Wednes­day, Jan. 25 at 6 a.m. through Wednes­day, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. This two-week win­dow is your chance to reserve pri­vate, indi­vid­ual camp­sites ear­ly. Choose from San Juan, Odlin or Shaw Coun­ty Parks or the San Juan Coun­ty Fairgrounds.

Proof of res­i­den­cy is required pri­or to receiv­ing the res­i­dent reser­va­tion pack­et. Email your name, along with local res­i­dent and mail­ing address­es, to to begin the process. Once you are on our mail­ing list, you will receive the instruc­tions, forms, fee sched­ules, and park maps. There is a lim­it of two sites per house­hold, per camp­ing stay, with a max­i­mum of two dif­fer­ent camp­ing stays.

For the Jan. 25 open­ing day, email requests are accept­ed start­ing no ear­li­er than 6 a.m. via email to only. We receive 95 per­cent of all requests with­in the first hour. Hard copy forms may be placed in a drop box out­side the Parks & Fair Admin­is­tra­tive office at 849A Argyle Ave. After 1 p.m. on open­ing day, reser­va­tions can also be made by phone by call­ing 360–378-8420. Res­i­dent reser­va­tions are not avail­able online, but we request online pay­ment. To secure reser­va­tions, form and pay­ment must be pro­vid­ed before 4 p.m. on the same date.

Indi­vid­ual camp­sites can be reserved for local groups of eight or less. If you have a local group of nine or more peo­ple, we ask that you reserve group camp­sites instead. Call or email the depart­ment today to receive group camp­ing infor­ma­tion and forms. Group camp­ing allows you to gath­er for all activ­i­ties and helps us man­age our parks for the good of all campers.

Rainy Saturday

Posted January 7, 2023 at 2:25 pm by

Friday Harbor High School presents Sense & Sensibility starting Jan. 19

Posted January 7, 2023 at 12:53 pm by

SJCT sends along news about the upcom­ing high school per­for­mance it will be hosting.

San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre wel­comes Fri­day Har­bor High School stu­dents as they present a play­ful new adap­ta­tion of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sen­si­bil­i­ty, under the direc­tion of new Dra­ma Direc­tor Lind­sey Saarie. Kate Hamill’s adap­ta­tion is both clas­sic and mod­ern at the same time, being described as inven­tive, faith­ful, clever, and hilarious.

Sense & Sen­si­bility opens on Thurs­day, Jan. 19 and runs through Sun­day, Jan. 22. Evening per­for­mances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs­day, Fri­day, and Sat­ur­day, with a 2 p.m. mati­nee on Sun­day. Tick­ets are $10 for adults and $5 for stu­dents. Thursday’s per­for­mance will be pay-what-you-can admis­sion at the door.

To pur­chase tick­ets, call the SJCT box office at 360–378-3210 or vis­it the SJCT web­site.

PADs for Parkinson’s moves onto its next chapter

Posted January 7, 2023 at 10:44 am by

Contributed photo

One of San Juan Island’s most pop­u­lar non­prof­its shares news about its future.

PADs for Parkinson’s, the first pro­gram any­where to train dogs for the detec­tion of an odor asso­ci­at­ed with Parkinson’s Dis­ease, is excit­ed to announce that in June 2023, the pro­gram will move to its new home at Nosais, a non­prof­it research depart­ment with­in the Nation­al Vet­eri­nary School of Mai­son-Alfort, France. Estab­lished in 1775, and encom­pass­ing 11 acres, NEVA is the French pub­lic research insti­tute of sci­en­tif­ic research and high­er edu­ca­tion for vet­eri­nary med­i­cine with 1,000 aspir­ing vet­eri­nary stu­dents, a teach­ing staff of 400 vet­eri­nary sci­ence spe­cial­ists, and eight research lab­o­ra­to­ries. Here, PADs will final­ly have the need­ed room to stretch, run and expand to its full potential.

Since 2016, PADs has been raised, fos­tered and groomed on San Juan Island. Dur­ing these past sev­en years, and only with the tremen­dous sup­port­ing efforts of over fifty local vol­un­teers, hun­dreds of sam­ple donors, 35 ded­i­cat­ed and pas­sion­ate canine/handler teams, and a giv­ing, car­ing com­mu­ni­ty, PADs has ful­filled its three-fold mis­sion of train­ing dogs to detect an odor asso­ci­at­ed with Parkinson’s Dis­ease, estab­lish repro­ducible train­ing pro­to­col, and assist research sci­ence in the quest for the cause and cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Now for the ben­e­fit of the mil­lions of peo­ple world­wide fac­ing Parkinson’s Dis­ease, it is time for PADs to pub­lish the find­ing of its many years of care­ful­ly col­lect­ed canine detec­tion research, and then for­mal­ize and encour­age efforts for this research to go for­ward at Alfort. It is planned that begin­ning in June, the PADs pro­gram will be under the direc­tion of long­time NEVA Pro­fes­sor Dominique Grand­jean, DVM. Pro­fes­sor Grand­jean direct­ed the first pro­gram to pub­lish proof of canine detec­tion of Covid-19 and has pub­lished numer­ous sci­en­tif­ic papers in the grow­ing new field of med­ical canine detection.

“The Nosaïs team of the Nation­al Vet­eri­nary School of Alfort is hon­ored and excit­ed to con­tin­ue build­ing upon the ground-break­ing detec­tion research already estab­lished by PADs,” Pro­fes­sor Grand­jean says. “We will con­tin­ue the work and put forth all our efforts into pro­vid­ing the new pos­si­bil­i­ty of ear­ly detec­tion of Parkinson’s Dis­ease through canine olfac­to­ry detec­tion, thanks to the mar­velous pio­neer­ing work done by PADs.”

At this time, we wish to grate­ful­ly acknowl­edge the tremen­dous effort and giv­ing spir­it of the many hands and hearts of the San Juan Island Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion, the numer­ous island vol­un­teers, and the many indi­vid­u­als who have sup­port­ed and helped to raise PADs to a lev­el of inter­na­tion­al inter­est and accep­tance. Addi­tion­al­ly, as we turn the page to the next chap­ter, we extend our very deep grat­i­tude to the PADs sam­ple donors and sup­port­ers who are bat­tling Parkin­son’s Dis­ease. You remain the inspi­ra­tion for the work we do — and the work to come.

On behalf of the entire PADs team, we remain grate­ful and hon­ored to be a thread in the fab­ric of an orga­ni­za­tion that con­tin­ues to work for human health, here and across the Atlantic.

Max is the Animal Protection Society’s pet of the week

Posted January 7, 2023 at 8:51 am by

The Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety of Fri­day Har­bor shares a look at the adopt­able ani­mal of the week — Max, a large tbree-year-old Amer­i­can Bull­dog mix.

Oh hiya guys, my name is Max! As soon as I saw you com­ing, I just knew I had to come and intro­duce myself. As you may be able to tell by my big smile and super wag­gy tail, I am very hap­py that you are here. Although I may take a few sec­onds to warm up to a per­son here and there, I am usu­al­ly quick to show peo­ple my (super) soft side. When it comes right down to it, I’m just a big boy with an even big­ger heart.

Speak­ing of my heart, one of the ways to mine is through one of my love lan­guages, phys­i­cal touch. Who says big pups can’t be lap dogs? Not me. I’m quite the cud­dle bug, and would love noth­ing more than to scooch in close for some grade-A-qual­i­ty close­ness. I’ve heard some mis­guid­ed peo­ple say things about me being a “bul­ly,” or being mean, or being “fero­cious,” but any­one who knows me will tell you that I am just a big love­able goof. Is a love­able goof the next kind of best friend you’re look­ing for? Well then, look no fur­ther! If you want to come see if we’re com­pat­i­ble, fill out the adop­tion appli­ca­tion so that my shel­ter friends can sched­ule a time for us to meet in person.

Con­tact APS to learn more about Max.

Down the path

Posted January 6, 2023 at 9:03 pm by

EDC hosting introductory GIS course in February

Posted January 6, 2023 at 12:14 pm by

The EDC sends along an update about the next install­ment in their tech train­ing initiative.

The Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Coun­cil of San Juan Coun­ty will facil­i­tate a GIS learn­ing cohort this win­ter as part of their Tech Train­ing Accel­er­a­tor Initiative.

This cohort will fol­low the upcom­ing Esri course titled Going Places with Spa­tial Analy­sis. This course will help par­tic­i­pants gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of spa­tial data analy­sis and the impor­tant role loca­tion plays in a vari­ety of busi­ness and pol­i­cy mat­ters. The course will be offered online through Esri, and a cohort of stu­dents will meet each week with an EDC advi­sor to achieve suc­cess­ful bench­marks, work­ing through the course mate­ri­als on their own schedules.

In this course, stu­dents will learn how to iden­ti­fy and describe uses of sev­er­al spa­tial analy­sis tech­niques, while gain­ing hands-on expe­ri­ence with authen­tic spa­tial analy­sis work­flows in a cloud-based map­ping envi­ron­ment. The assign­ments will use ArcGIS Online, which will be pro­vid­ed for the dura­tion of the course. This low-cost course is open to par­tic­i­pants from San Juan Coun­ty, ages 18 and old­er, who are look­ing to enter careers in GIS.

The course will be bro­ken into week­ly sec­tions that can be com­plet­ed on one’s own sched­ule, aver­ag­ing three to four hours per week. The EDC will host week­ly advi­so­ry meet­ings via Zoom, on Tues­day morn­ings at 10 a.m., from Feb. 1 to March 15. These meet­ings will give par­tic­i­pants the oppor­tu­ni­ty to check in with the rest of the group, dis­cuss course mate­r­i­al, and ask ques­tions. Par­tic­i­pants who fin­ish the course with­in the six-week time­frame will earn a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion from Esri.

A $50 reg­is­tra­tion fee is required. Vis­it the EDC web­site for more infor­ma­tion and to reg­is­ter. For ques­tions, con­tact EDC Tech Train­ing Coor­di­na­tor Jil­lian Urbach at 360–378-2906 or

Town’s Christmas tree recycling pick-up set for Jan. 12

Posted January 6, 2023 at 10:00 am by

The Town of Fri­day Har­bor shares details about its annu­al Christ­mas tree recy­cling efforts.

The Town will col­lect Christ­mas trees for res­i­dents inside town lim­its this Thurs­day, Jan. 12. Trees must be placed at the curb no lat­er than 9 a.m. and must be sep­a­rate from oth­er unbun­dled trash and woody waste.

To ensure the suc­cess of the tree recy­cling pro­gram, please remove the tree stand and all tin­sel, lights, and orna­ments, as these items will con­t­a­m­i­nate mulch and com­post. Trees more than eight feet in height must be cut in half. Trees should not be in plas­tic tree bags. Arti­fi­cial or flocked trees will not be accepted.

If you have any ques­tions, call the Town of Fri­day Har­bor at 360–378-2810.

A splash of color in the midst of winter

Posted January 5, 2023 at 9:36 pm by

Freezer Burned: Tales of Interior Alaska

Posted January 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm by

Freez­er Burned is an ongo­ing series for the San Juan Update, writ­ten by Steve Ulvi. Read the pre­vi­ous sto­ry in this series.

A Mys­tery Unfolds

At Ala­pah Creek the first days of 1984 began with the entire region locked down in extreme cold. The kind of harsh cold you can taste in the air and eas­i­ly hear with each exha­la­tion. The incom­pre­hen­si­ble black expanse above — stud­ded with stars and the smear of the Milky Way, long mete­or streaks and slow pass­ing satel­lites — is undi­min­ished by arti­fi­cial light. The auro­ral spec­ta­cle was live­ly and tinged with an uncom­mon crim­son blur.

As a result of ground water seeps, shrink­ing stretch­es of open water purled along an over­hang­ing bank on Ala­pah Creek a few hun­dred yards upstream from the cab­in. Drab Amer­i­can Dip­pers bobbed and wad­ed into the shal­low rif­fles beneath hoar-frost­ed wil­lows while a ground fog crept down drainage. At the cab­in, chick­adees, red­polls and grey jays swooped in to peck busi­ly at leg bones hung for them. At night these small birds perched with fluffed feath­ers among the pro­tec­tive limbs of spruce trees, sav­ing pre­cious ener­gy by slow­ing their tiny heart beats. Sure­ly a few would not make it to the sun­less dawn.

Nate remind­ed Son­ny about the old prac­tice of bank­ing snow high along the out­er walls of the cab­in and then splash­ing water against the exposed upper logs to encase them in ice. They nailed a large blan­ket to the head­er of the door frame to hang as a cur­tain and a small one com­plete­ly over the sin­gle frost­ed win­dow. Nate cut up an old shirt to plug obvi­ous air leaks, now well-frost­ed and vis­i­ble, as 65F cab­in air met minus 50F out­side air. Steel nail and spike heads in the wall logs con­duct­ed the intense cold and built out in frost but­tons along the log walls. Son­ny enter­tained Nate with vil­lage tales of a few poor­ly pre­pared peo­ple, some­times hand­i­capped by addic­tions, who had resort­ed to burn­ing out­door fish racks and even fur­ni­ture as fuel oil ran out or stopped flowing.

They employed all the tricks they knew to sus­tain warmth and slow the burn­ing of their dimin­ish­ing pile of dry wood. The door was opened as lit­tle as pos­si­ble and closed quick­ly with a low wave of fog spilling along the cab­in floor. The strips of coarse black bear hide tacked at the edges of the thick door helped. The men wore felt boot lin­ers or down booties as every­thing on the floor lev­el was freez­ing hard. They made time to fell dead stand­ing spruce from the edge of the burn across the Kuuk to man-haul short lengths back to the cab­in with a small wood sledge. Dur­ing the long win­ter bush dwellers could nev­er have too much fire­wood. Con­tin­ue Reading

Island high schooler selected for international art exhibition

Posted January 5, 2023 at 2:18 pm by

Rootbound, by Islay Ross

San Juan Island School Dis­trict shares news about the achieve­ments of Fri­day Har­bor High School stu­dent Islay Ross.

Fri­day Har­bor High School is excit­ed to announce that the 2022 AP Art and Design Dig­i­tal Exhib­it is now avail­able online and that one of our stu­dents, Islay Ross, has been fea­tured.

The exhib­it fea­tures 50 high school artists from six coun­tries select­ed from more than 62,000 port­fo­lios who sub­mit­ted work to the 2022 AP Art and Design Exam. The fea­tured stu­dents rep­re­sent out­stand­ing exam­ples from the Sus­tained Inves­ti­ga­tion and Select­ed Works port­fo­lio com­po­nents. The exhib­it is designed not only to show­case the rig­or and excel­lence of the AP Art and Design port­fo­lio but also as a teach­ing tool shared with AP Art and Design stu­dents world­wide. In this capac­i­ty, high-achiev­ing stu­dents’ art­work and state­ments, teacher state­ments, and school leader state­ments help teach best prac­tices and sup­port arts advocacy.

Stu­dent par­tic­i­pa­tion in AP Art and Design requires that each stu­den­t’s work is informed and guid­ed by obser­va­tion, research, exper­i­men­ta­tion, dis­cus­sion, crit­i­cal analy­sis, and reflec­tion, relat­ing indi­vid­ual prac­tices to the art world. Stu­dents doc­u­ment their artis­tic ideas and prac­tices to demon­strate con­cep­tu­al and tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment to cre­ate a port­fo­lio of work. Port­fo­lios include works of art and design, process doc­u­men­ta­tion, and writ­ten infor­ma­tion about the work pre­sent­ed. In May, stu­dents sub­mit port­fo­lios for eval­u­a­tion based on spe­cif­ic cri­te­ria, which include skill­ful syn­the­sis of mate­ri­als, process­es, and ideas and sus­tained inves­ti­ga­tion through prac­tice, exper­i­men­ta­tion, and revi­sion, guid­ed by ques­tions. Stu­dents become inven­tive artis­tic schol­ars who con­tribute to visu­al cul­ture through art making.

“I am so proud of Islay’s amaz­ing achieve­ments,” says Andrew Ander­son, Fri­day Har­bor High School art teacher. “Islay’s hard work has been rec­og­nized and cel­e­brat­ed earn­ing mul­ti­ple awards and hon­ors. She received top scores on both of her AP Stu­dio Art Draw­ing and 2D port­fo­lios. The Col­lege Board sent her let­ters con­grat­u­lat­ing her on earn­ing the high­est pos­si­ble score in every rubric cat­e­go­ry on both port­fo­lios, plac­ing her in the top 1.2% of all port­fo­lios submitted.”

“Wash­ing­ton State select­ed her work to be dis­played in the State Cap­i­tal Build­ing as part of its per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. She was also award­ed sev­er­al Gold Key awards from Scholas­tics Arts and Writ­ing Com­pe­ti­tion. Ulti­mate­ly, the qual­i­ty of Islay’s port­fo­lio sub­mis­sion clear­ly illus­trates her excep­tion­al tech­ni­cal skills and cre­ative thought process. She is the third stu­dent in the past 10 years from Fri­day Har­bor High School whose port­fo­lio has been select­ed by the Col­lege Board.”

“Build­ing this port­fo­lio has been an incred­i­bly per­son­al jour­ney,” Islay says. “I’ve loved hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore my artis­tic voice through this class, and I am beyond excit­ed and proud to share my work with all of you. I hope it’s inspir­ing to see the end result of so many hours of hard work — con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing, cre­at­ing, writ­ing. It’s a mul­ti­fac­eted process.”

Volunteers needed for annual swan count

Posted January 5, 2023 at 8:46 am by

The San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust is look­ing for vol­un­teers for its annu­al Swan Count project, which takes place through­out San Juan Coun­ty two weeks from tomorrow.

“All morn­ing on Fri­day, Jan. 20, we will be coor­di­nat­ing a coun­ty-wide effort to record as many obser­va­tions of trum­peter and tun­dra swans as we can,” the Preser­va­tion Trust says. “The more eyes out look­ing, the bet­ter results we can hope to find!”

If you have a pref­er­ence for the loca­tion where you’d like to search for swans, SJPT asks that you send an email to their Vol­un­teer and Out­reach Coor­di­na­tor at by Sun­day, Jan. 8.

Fox in a tree

Posted January 4, 2023 at 11:12 pm by

 A rare sight, but this fox played in the same tree as a kit eight months ago.

COASST to hold beached bird and marine debris training

Posted January 4, 2023 at 3:42 pm by

The Coastal Obser­va­tion and Seabird Sur­vey Team shares news about their upcom­ing train­ing ses­sion on San Juan Island.

On Feb. 5, the Coastal Obser­va­tion and Seabird Sur­vey Team will deliv­er a free train­ing ses­sion for mem­bers of the San Juan Island com­mu­ni­ty. COASST is focused on the inter­sec­tion of sci­ence, con­ser­va­tion, and com­mu­ni­ties. COASST par­tic­i­pants help make a dif­fer­ence for the envi­ron­ment by col­lect­ing data on beach-cast car­cass­es of marine birds and marine debris on a month­ly basis to estab­lish the base­line pat­tern of beached bird mor­tal­i­ty and debris depo­si­tion on North Pacif­ic beaches.

Through an inter­ac­tive, hands-on work­shop, trainees will become acquaint­ed with COASST sur­vey pro­to­cols, have a chance to learn more about the seabirds that live in their area, and learn about the effects of marine debris on seal­ife. The COASST train­ing pro­vides par­tic­i­pants with the tools to mon­i­tor for poten­tial changes in the marine envi­ron­ment and pro­mote stew­ard­ship of local marine resources.

COASST is a cit­i­zen sci­ence project of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in part­ner­ship with state, trib­al, and fed­er­al agen­cies, envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions, and com­mu­ni­ty groups. COASST believes res­i­dents of coastal com­mu­ni­ties are essen­tial sci­en­tif­ic part­ners in mon­i­tor­ing marine ecosys­tem health. By col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, nat­ur­al resource man­age­ment agen­cies and envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions, COASST works to trans­late long-term mon­i­tor­ing into effec­tive marine con­ser­va­tion solu­tions. Cur­rent­ly, near­ly 1,000 par­tic­i­pants sur­vey beach­es in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, Cal­i­for­nia, and Alaska.

The train­ing ses­sion will be held on Sun­day, Feb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fri­day Har­bor Lab Com­mons — 620 Uni­ver­si­ty Rd. There will be a short break in the mid­dle of each ses­sion for lunch, so please bring your own sack lunch, or mon­ey to pur­chase food in the area. Par­tic­i­pants need no pri­or expe­ri­ence with sci­en­tif­ic data col­lec­tion, just a com­mit­ment to sur­vey a spe­cif­ic beach at least once a month.

Masks are rec­om­mend­ed, but not manda­to­ry. Stay­ing safe is our top pri­or­i­ty and we will have dis­in­fec­tant wipes and san­i­tiz­er on hand.

For more infor­ma­tion and to reserve your train­ing spot, call COASST at 206–221-6893 or email More infor­ma­tion about the COASST pro­gram can be found on our web­site.

Elected officials to be sworn in tomorrow

Posted January 4, 2023 at 8:55 am by

The Coun­ty shares news about the swear­ing-in of eight elect­ed officials.

San Juan Coun­ty is pleased to announce the swear­ing-in of eight elect­ed offi­cials on Thurs­day, Jan. 5. The cer­e­mo­ny will take place at 9 a.m. in the Supe­ri­or Court Court­room with Supe­ri­or Court Judge Kathryn Lor­ing presiding.

Four new­ly elect­ed offi­cials will be sworn into office for the first time. The Coun­ty is pleased to wel­come them and their expertise.

Jane Fuller is the new Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber rep­re­sent­ing dis­trict three — Lopez, Shaw, and Decatur islands. She has a back­ground in inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment as a fed­er­al civ­il ser­vant, diplo­mat and Unit­ed Nations rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and is active in local orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing the Friends of Lopez Island Pool, the Lopez Island Par­ent Teacher Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Char­ter Review Commission.

“I will be ready to pro­vide thought­ful and cre­ative lead­er­ship to address the chal­lenges coun­ty res­i­dents are fac­ing in their dai­ly lives,” said Fuller.

Natasha War­men­hoven is San Juan County’s new Audi­tor. After serv­ing as the Chief Deputy Audi­tor for the last three years, she has super­vised the Account­ing, Licens­ing, and Record­ing divi­sions, and served as the Cap­i­tal Com­mit­tee chair.

“Dur­ing my time as Chief Deputy Audi­tor, I’ve served on the Can­vass­ing Board and con­tin­ue to learn more about the Elec­tions process. I look for­ward to serv­ing the cit­i­zens of San Juan Coun­ty as your next Coun­ty Auditor.”

Amy Vira is San Juan County’s new Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney. She has served as a Deputy Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney since 2011. In addi­tion to expe­ri­ence pros­e­cut­ing both felony and mis­de­meanor crimes, Vira has broad civ­il expe­ri­ence in a vari­ety of areas includ­ing land use law, pub­lic records com­pli­ance, con­tracts, and gen­er­al lia­bil­i­ty. She will also serve as the Coun­ty Coroner.

“I look for­ward to serv­ing the cit­i­zens of San Juan Coun­ty by pro­vid­ing accu­rate and unbi­ased legal ser­vices and uphold­ing the law in a fair and just man­ner that treats vic­tims with respect and hon­ors the rights of all par­ties,” said Vira.

Eric Peter is San Juan County’s new Sher­iff. He retired as a Sergeant with the Hous­ton Police Depart­ment, has worked with the San Juan Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office on Orcas and San Juan Island since March of 2017, and brings a back­ground in pro­gres­sive polic­ing, focus­ing on de-esca­la­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

“I look for­ward to this oppor­tu­ni­ty in grow­ing a deep­er rela­tion­ship with our extra­or­di­nary com­mu­ni­ty,” said Peter. “I appre­ci­ate and am hum­bled by your support.”

The Coun­ty is pleased to wel­come back four return­ing elect­ed offi­cials. Their exper­tise ben­e­fits res­i­dents and the orga­ni­za­tion alike.

Rhon­da Ped­er­son has been serv­ing as San Juan County’s Trea­sur­er since 2015. Dur­ing her tenure, she has imple­ment­ed sys­tems to improve effi­cien­cy, com­pli­ance with new leg­is­la­tion and man­dates, stream­line ser­vices to the pub­lic, and work close­ly with tax­pay­ers fac­ing foreclosure.

“I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to serve as Trea­sur­er and remain com­mit­ted to meet­ing the needs of our cit­i­zens and the chal­lenges of the future with com­pe­tence, effi­cien­cy and ongo­ing growth and devel­op­ment,” said Pederson.

John Kulseth has been serv­ing as San Juan County’s Asses­sor since 2015. He has spent the last eigh­teen years of his career work­ing to under­stand and suc­cess­ful­ly respond to the chal­lenges of the Assessor’s Office, includ­ing mov­ing from a three-year cycli­cal re-val­u­a­tion process to an annu­al re-val­u­a­tion process, and adapt­ing to the increas­ing pub­lic desire for online information.

“I will con­tin­ue to ded­i­cate my time and effort to pro­vid­ing the ser­vice tax­pay­ers expect and pro­mot­ing an assess­ment process that is pro­fes­sion­al, fair, and clear­ly under­stood,” said Kulseth.

Lisa Hen­der­son was hired as Chief Deputy Clerk in 2014 for the Clerk’s Office and was appoint­ed by the Coun­ty Coun­cil to com­plete the unex­pired term of her pre­de­ces­sor. She was elect­ed to a full term begin­ning Jan­u­ary 2019. Dur­ing her first term, she helped nav­i­gate the unique chal­lenges brought on by the pan­dem­ic and plans to build upon her experience.

“I am com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing the work we have start­ed and to lever­age tech­nol­o­gy in a bal­anced way to best serve our com­mu­ni­ty effi­cient­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly,” said Henderson.

Car­olyn Jew­ett has been serv­ing as San Juan County’s Dis­trict Court Judge since Jan­u­ary  2019. Dur­ing her first term, Jew­ett worked along­side judges across the state at all court lev­els to ensure San Juan Coun­ty had mean­ing­ful access to the courts despite emer­gency conditions.

“It is crit­i­cal that we keep work­ing togeth­er to pro­vide fair, impar­tial admin­is­tra­tion of the law,” said Jew­ett. “I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing this work as your Dis­trict Court Judge.”