San Juan Island Update - serving San Juan Island, Friday Harbor, and Roche Harbor

What's happening on the island!
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December 19, 2008

Late Start, fifth day in a row....
The schools are on late start schedule for Friday...then, Winter Break till the fifth of January.

Susan IS happening tonight!
Janet Wright tells me that the Susan Osborn concert at St David's tonight at 7:30 is still on! Here's more.

New EMTs on the block....
Alan from the San Juan Islalnd EMS sent in a report that we can welcome five new EMTs aas they complete their training:

Five San Juan Island residents have completed their training and certification as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-B) and are serving with San Juan Island EMS.  

The new EMTs at San Juan Island EMS are David Howitt, Humberto Orozco, Rebecca Phillips, Jeremy Talbott and Noah Waldron. They, along with one new EMT from Orcas, have completed the four month course in patient assessment, medical emergencies, CPR, trauma, infant and geriatric care, and EMS operations.

“We are very excited to have these new EMTs serving with San Juan Island EMS,” said SJIEMS Training Officer Weyshawn Koons. “They all worked diligently to develop their new EMT skills and will also bring a variety of personal capabilities and experiences to the team.”

Ted McKey of the Orcas Island Fire Department commuted to Friday Harbor more than twice a week to attend training and for practice sessions. He too has completed his training and certification and is serving as an EMT on Orcas Island.

San Juan Island EMS is the tax supported, county EMS agency serving the residents and visitors of San Juan Island, Town of Friday Harbor, Brown Island, Stuart Island, Johns Island, Speiden Island, Pearl Island and Henry Island in San Juan County, Washington. It provides emergency medical services, critical care transport, and injury and accident prevention. The staff of career paramedics and volunteer EMTs is available twenty-four hour a day.

Making your plans for Christmas Eve?
Cathy Cole from CTK Church checks in:

Hello Friends and Neighbors,
I would like to invite you to the Community Christmas Eve Service held at 6pm at the Mullis Center and hosted by Christ the King Church. We are very excited about the program and would like to share it with you. The theme is “Follow the Star to a Place Unexpected.” We will have music, reading and a time of treats and refreshments as we gather afterward and a special gift for all who attend.
Please consider coming and bringing your family and friends.
Merry Christmas!
Cathy Cole

Did you order your Calendar for 2009 yet?
Here's it is - I made it just for you, baby.

Comparing Saudi Arabia to us.....
Interesting bit in Susie's blog, comparing the islands to where she is in Saudi Arabia, with pictures. I like the part where she says it's beautiful here....

December 18, 2009

Plan now....
The folks at the school district say that school will be on late start schedule again today (Thursday), with the high school kids telling me they'll stay a little longer for their exams.

December 17, 2008

The airport, with snow. Photo by Chris Teren. (Click for a larger photo.)

Late again.....
School starts on the late start schedule again today, after it snowed & rained in the early morning this morning.

At last week's Magical Strings concert, the group had folks dress up for the second half of the show - that's the Lohrey family showing you how good they looked as they dressed for the parade!

It's about the plastic....
You know, there's a lot of plastic in the ocean & it's getting worse. Charles Moore came to speak about this last month at the Marine Labs, and to keep the focus on this problem, here are remarks from our friends at the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, accompanied by a photo by Jim Maya:

Plastic debris has invaded the planet - both land and sea. In even the most remote spots, you can find plastic water bottles, disposable diapers, and 6-pack holders. Plastics get into our waters through storm drain systems, by being dumped directly into the ocean by recreational and commercial boaters, or by being left on the beach by beach-goers. Although some of this “marine debris” eventually washes ashore, much of it stays in the open ocean where it can pose severe hazards to all types of marine life. According to the California Coastal Commission, almost 90% of floating marine debris is plastic, which has impacted almost 300 species worldwide, including sea turtles, sea birds , and marine mammals.

Last week an observant local whale watch operator photographed a Steller sea lion on Whale Rocks with some type of plastic embedded in its neck. (In the picture at right; click for a larger version.)

He reported the finding to Amy Traxler of The Whale Museum, who coordinates the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network (Network). Amy says she receives an average of 3-4 calls a year about entangled wildlife, mostly seals that have become entrapped in some type of fishing gear. Traxler states, “We have had reports of plastic entanglement on free-swimming animals, but have never been able to accurately document these cases because the animals never came ashore.”

Nobody knows what will happen to the entrapped sea lion sighted on Whale Rocks. “It is not unheard of for plastic straps to fray and eventually break, but often these can eventually restrict the throat area enough to debilitate or even kill the animal,” says Joe Gaydos, Network Veterinarian and Regional Director of the SeaDoc Society.

Fortunately at this time the sea lion appears to be in relatively good condition but the Network is working on contingency plans in case the animal's condition worsens and it comes ashore in a place where it can be restrained.

“We'd certainly like to help this little guy out if we can,” says Traxler. If you happen to see this entangled sea lion or any other marine mammal that is stranded (dead or alive), please report it using the Stranding Hotline (800-562-8832) or call Traxler directly at 360-472-1852.

Wrapping up things for Christmas....
Darren from San Juans TV has a new video for you:

Lisa and I just wanted to let you and everyone know about Post San Juan’s holiday hours. Not only are they open earlier and closing later, they’re open this Saturday again, too. And they’re offering private appointments before and after hours to package and ship those precious holiday packages – at no extra charge! If you’ve ever seen Hamid expertly and carefully wrap a fragile item for shipping, you know how good he is! We made a special holiday video for them, too.

We’re doing all our shopping locally, so it’s great to see our businesses go the extra mile this time of year. And thanks for mentioning Peggy Long’s extra 10% off at the Garuda when you bring in a can of food for the Food Bank. I hope other businesses pick up on that one.
Happy Holidays! Darren

The San Juan Singers are happening this weekend!
Marty Robinson sent over this invitation to you & me:

The San Juan Singers' Christmas concert, Joy to the World!, promises to be the most innovative and interesting ever. This weekend, Saturday evening at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2, you'll enjoy festive, moving choral singing at its best. Members of San Juan Singers will join the Cantata Brass Choir and Stone Soup Marimba Band to perform inventive and original pieces as well as stirring classics. You'll be entertained from start to finish.

Please join us at this traditional island holiday event. We look forward to seeing you!

Happy holidays,

Winter Storms and Your Water System - protect your pipes!
Here are some thoughts from our friends at the Eastsound water system regarding efforts people should be taking to minimize the consequences of this extended period of winter cold weather.

·     Keep a supply of water set aside in pitchers, coolers, milk jugs and such.    There have been multiple reports of freezing water lines, and you want a back up supply of water prepared should your lines freeze.

·     If your home has a history of freezing water lines, it might be wise to keep the faucet furthest from your incoming water line dripping to keep the water moving in the pipes.   This reduces the risk of freeze up.   A drip is all that is needed, just a drip.   One faucet dripping hot water, another dripping cold water is best.   Perhaps you only need to have the water dripping at night when it is coldest.   

·     If you have a history of freezing pipes in an old, or poorly insulated structure, it is also wise to keep the heat up in the house at night.  Often times our “programmable thermostats” are set to turn the heat down after we go to bed.    The cooler house means that the outside cold migrates further into your walls and crawl spaces, increasing the risk of freezing pipes.   

·     The biggest winter storm strain on the water system is actually when the thaw comes.   This is when the ruptured pipes begin to leak.   These leaks greatly increase the load on the water sources, often bringing demand back to peak summer levels. Members can help reduce the water lost to leaks by watching out for unoccupied neighboring homes.  These empty homes, often have the heat turned way down and are some of the most susceptible to ruptured pipes. In the case of any empty home the rupture pipe continues to leak water without anyone noticing.

·     If you have an empty home it would be wise to contact your water system and have them turn your service off at the meter before the thaw comes. This reduces the impact on the overall water system, but also protects your property by eliminating the potential for a continuously running leak inside your home.  

·     Keep an eye out for unusual puddles of water, or build-up of ice that might be coming from unoccupied properties. If you spot a concern, please contact your water system to have it checked out.

·     Garden hoses still connected to exterior hose bibs are also a common cause of freezing pipes.   You hoses should be disconnected. “Frost Proof” hose bibs are not effective if the water in them can’t drain because the hose is attached.  

First Annual Family Ski (Nordic and Alpine) Swap Meet!
Patrick & Andra at the Sail Loft file this report:

Hey, Ian! This Sunday the 21st, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm we're swapping skis, boots, poles, and gear down at the sail loft. We'll have a Warren Miller flick on as well. Any families looking to outfit for the season are encouraged to come on down and swap some stuff, stories and plans for this ski season! We're located at 271 Front St., below the yacht club. For more info, call 378-4119.
Thank you, Patrick & Andra

Computer freakin'? Call Molly!
My friend Molly O'Neil (her company is called the Computer Teacher) does a good job teaching people how to use their machines & she's good at fixing them too - and she's available remotely, now:

Computer Teacher offers a NEW SERVICE, “Go To Assist Express Expert” for online computer assistance. If you can get online, you can receive help from the Computer Teacher through the internet. Snow storms, ice and cold will not stop the Computer Teacher from reaching you and your computer when your computer doesn’t feel well.

Call 378-9671 for this excellent service, information and scheduling an appointment. Or please e-mail: for help.

Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing... you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn't affect two-thirds of the people of the world.
Jimmy Carter

December 16, 2008

Late again....
The school district says we'll go with the usual late start schedule on Tuesday again - the roads still are pretty funky out there.

December 15, 2008

That's Ada (right) and Mari at Mi Piace Coffeehouse in yesterday's snow - they were open & warming up folks who dared into Friday Harbor all day long. And, yes, you're seeing it right - Mari just got her braces off!

School is gonna start late today....
The school district announced late Sunday that Monday morning we'll be on a regular late start schedule, just like late start on Wednesdays, with the buses on snow routes. So the kids get to sleep in....

Under a coat of snow....
That's the Marine Labs under a coat of snow in the masthead above, in a photo shot from Warbass Street.

The snow started Saturday night on the island, and the left with a powdering that was just enough to make the roads in town slick and slippery. There was enough ice & snow on the roads at sunset Sunday night to promise that Monday morning's roads will provide some sense of adventure.

Besides all that, it's gonna be cold, with the weather report indicating it's going to be in the teens in the evenings and below freezing in the daytime.

Stay warm.

Always prepared....
Part of the reason our fire department is one of the best is because they practice all the time - yesterday in the ice & cold they were helping hang the Town's Christmas lights. That's Vern Long & the crew at work...thanks, you guys!

The Garuda gives back....
It's cool Peggy is still thinking about others:

As you know, the Garuda and I is closing at the end of the month. Everything in the store is 50% off (excluding consignment) As an added incentive to shop local, we will be giving an additional 10% off to anyone who brings in a non-perishable food item for the food bank. Just a little idea to give back to the community in this time of need. We would like to see other businesses do the same. Can you please let the community know what we are doing? Thanks!
Peggy Long

Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

That's Santa with a couple of friends - he has a cool Christmas deal happening next week on the 20th - click here for more.

The holes in the street....
After I told you they were shutting down the operation for the next couple of weeks (mostly to make shopping easier), it looks like the sewer project continues without a break - here's more from Debbie Pigman:

Sewer Project Update: Unfortunately, the State Auditor determined that the Town cannot use funds to let Strider Construction go on furlough next week. Basically, public dollars cannot be given to someone not to work...there must be evidence of getting something in return. We do want to thank the Town Council for working for and with the business community in this endeavor!

Choo choo at Islanders....
Brenna from Islanders just dropped me a note - good info if you're out & about with your kid:

Hi Ian! Happy Holidays! Islanders Bank is happy to share our lighted wonderland branch with everyone and also has the inside decorated with a fun holiday train and winter wonderland critters; Santa and Frosty are also having fun swaying in the wind. Come on in and check out the train. Thanks! Brenna Woods

The gift store is open!
During the Roche Harbor Block Part Saturday, the shop is open! Here's more from Darlene:

During the Roche Harbor Block Party on Dec 13 the gift shop will be offering a 20% discount on all regular priced merchandise from 4 to 6pm. Please let your readers know about this Christmas special.

Darlene TroBaugh
Roche Harbor Gifts

Running as meditation....
I like Jason's remarks in his blog about running as a type of meditation, a spiritual way to get closer to nature. See for yourself.

Student presentations rock!
The student presentations are Monday evening - get ready! Here's more from Larry Wight:



One of the ways our high school has changed and improved is by requiring every student to complete a community service-learning project before graduating. With a goal of increasing educational relevance and graduating good citizens, this program has evolved from modest beginnings to an impressive display of student initiative, passion, and knowledge. Here's what one reviewer recently said: "Our students are truly inspiring in their ideals and in the thoughtfulness that goes into the design of their respective projects."

You will see students presenting to a 'high stakes' audience and reviewers assessing the quality of the project and the presentation. More than anything else, however, you will see students' passion and commitment to our future.

Besides these student presentations, we will have the Jazz Band playing, we will l have current art projects on display through an art walk-a-bout and we will exhibit some of the students' woodworking and auto shop projects.

Incidentally, we will also have light refreshments available from the Experience Food Project, which is also being supported by student projects.

It is our hope that you can join us in this celebration on Monday, December 15th

December 12, 2008

That's Mary-Brooke Barger at Mira Bella Skin Care - she has an Open House at her place upstairs at the fitness club on Argyle Street from 11am to 4pm. I dropped by last week & she has a nice layout for her studio and a warm & welcoming setup - you'll like it!

Drop by & see for yourself! Here's more.

Weather or not....
Shoot, I don't know what the weather's gonna do this weekend, but here's what Brendan from the Department of Emergency Management said in his e-mail Thursday afternoon:

The National Weather Service is predicting that some of the coldest weather the Northwest has seen in nearly 20 years is on the way. Temperatures are expected to drop into the twenties by Saturday, and possibly into the low teens by Sunday and into Monday. Temperatures aren’t predicted to warm much until the middle of next week. While there’s a chance of snow and some wind in the current forecast, hopefully it won’t be enough of either to cause a loss of power (and heat!) during the cold snap.

Islanders are reminded to keep an eye on pets and livestock, and most of all, each other. Don’t be shy about checking in with neighbors and anyone else you know who might be in need of a hand.

Latest forecast is available HERE, and some winter weather tips from the County Department of Emergency Management can be found HERE.

Ted's dad retires.....
Here's a story about Ted Strutz's dad, who just closed his jewelry shop at the age of 92.

Islanders - part of the solution....
When I drove to listen to Chaplain Yee on Wednesday night, I couldn't help but notice that FHHS had more cars around it than for a football game (a mob went to the school board meeting, which was reviewing the budget shortfall for next year), and that the Community Theatre was close to full for the FHHS Band Concert.

Chaplain Yee's talk (here's more) was standing room only as well...let me tell you, it's great to see that islanders care and are involved.

Besides playing wonderful music built around harp & hammered dulcimer, the Magical Strings family show included a chance for audience members to dress up (they're the islanders all sitting upstage) and a juggler - great show last night! (Here are samples from their albums.)

Ice age cometh....
That's the top of my car (right) last night in front of the Community Theatre...looks like the ice elves got there before I did.

What happens when the tourism dollar is spent somewhere else, or not at all?
The P-I's Bill Virgin offers a thoughtful piece about the importance to our state to have visitors - it's in the news if Boeing relocates or the Sonics move or if jobs are lost, but what happens if the tourism industry falls?

That's a big deal, as we know, better than anyone - here's more.

From Debbi Fincher: Just a quick note about some holiday cheer being shared from the 3rd grade classes from the elementary school with the residents at the Islands Convalescent Center. The kids shared bulbs they grew into flowers, handmade holiday cards and some songs of the season. Ms. deGavre, Ms. Harley and Mrs. Clark's classes were introduced to the residents and learned that some of them were oceanographers, librarians, and music composers in their careers. It was a magical time for all involved! Happy Holidays!

No one can dub you with dignity. That's yours to claim.
Odetta (who passed away after a long & beautiful life of love and song a couple of weeks ago.

Click here for last week's (and yesterday's) news...

Ian Byington sings

The information here is simply stuff we here at By Design think is important around Friday Harbor or on San Juan Island.

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.

There will be more next week, if anything happens.

Ian Byington

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