Town of Friday Harbor expands reduced utility rate program

Posted November 1, 2022 at 12:28 pm by

The Town shares news about a recent change to the eli­gi­bil­i­ty guide­lines for its util­i­ty assis­tance program.

On Oct. 6, the Fri­day Har­bor Town Coun­cil adopt­ed an ordi­nance amend­ing the Low-Income Senior & Dis­abled Reduced Rate Pro­gram, which offers reduced util­i­ty rates for low-income senior and dis­abled cus­tomers. The Town found that some cus­tomers were exclud­ed from the pro­gram because estab­lished income eli­gi­bil­i­ty thresh­olds were not con­sis­tent with this region’s cost of living.

“The Town deter­mined that a pro­gram based on 150 per­cent of the fed­er­al­ly estab­lished pover­ty guide­lines was leav­ing out many deserv­ing cus­tomers,” says Town Admin­is­tra­tor Denice Kulseth. “This amend­ment trends bet­ter with Fri­day Harbor’s cost of living.”

The program’s income eli­gi­bil­i­ty is now based on a per­cent­age of the annu­al medi­an house­hold income for Fri­day Har­bor. That thresh­old is cur­rent­ly 50 per­cent of the aver­age medi­an income of Fri­day Har­bor, or $26,700 for 2022. The pro­gram offers a 50 per­cent reduc­tion for all util­i­ty base rates on par­tic­i­pants’ month­ly util­i­ty bills.

To apply, par­tic­i­pants must com­plete the pro­gram enroll­ment form.

“Run­ning water and access to san­i­tary sew­er is quite pos­si­bly the most cost-effec­tive pub­lic health tool,” says May­or Ray Jack­son. “Yet when peo­ple can’t pay their bills, they lose access to these ser­vices at great cost to them­selves, their fam­i­lies, and their community.”

In addi­tion to this pro­gram or set­ting up pay­ment plans, the Town encour­ages any cus­tomer in need to seek util­i­ty relief through the Fam­i­ly Resource Cen­ter or the Town’s Har­bor Life Ring program.

“The Town of Fri­day Har­bor is com­mit­ted to the finan­cial health and safe­ty of our com­mu­ni­ty,” adds May­or Jack­son. “Our hope is that these pro­grams con­tin­ue to pro­vide some relief for our low-income, elder­ly, and dis­abled res­i­den­tial customers.”

Scarecrow contest winners announced

Posted November 1, 2022 at 10:56 am by

The Cham­ber of Com­merce sends along news about the win­ners of this year’s scare­crow contest.

The San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Friends of the Library are proud to announce the win­ners of the third annu­al Scare­crow Contest:

  • First place: Lady Ama­ranths — Julie’s Nurs­ery (pic­tured above)
  • Sec­ond place: The Sal Man — Port of Fri­day Harbor
  • Third place: Dav­ey Jones — San Juan Phys­i­cal Therapy

The con­test was close and we received so many great com­ments about the cre­ativ­i­ty, orig­i­nal­i­ty and humor of this year’s entries.

Land Bank to host community conversation on Nov. 9

Posted November 1, 2022 at 9:15 am by

The San Juan Coun­ty Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank shares news about their upcom­ing pub­lic meeting.

If you have ques­tions for your Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank, we want to hear from you. We will host a coun­ty-wide pub­lic meet­ing on Wednes­day, Nov. 9 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. over Zoom. Pre-reg­is­tra­tion is open now.

We’ll kick off the meet­ing with a brief acqui­si­tion update from Direc­tor Lin­coln Bor­mann. The remain­der of the meet­ing will be open for ques­tions from the public.

Those unable to attend the meet­ing may send ques­tions or top­ics of inter­est to Tan­ja Williamson, Outreach/Volunteer Coor­di­na­tor, at The meet­ing will be record­ed and will be avail­able online the fol­low­ing Mon­day.

After the morning rain

Posted October 31, 2022 at 9:29 pm by

Slide show: Friday Harbor Elementary Halloween parade

Posted October 31, 2022 at 8:43 pm by

Click or tap the pho­to to view all 14 images.

Con­tin­ue Reading

Peace Island eases visitation restrictions

Posted October 31, 2022 at 3:22 pm by

Peace­Health shares news about changes to their vis­i­ta­tion policies.

Peace­Health Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter has relaxed vis­i­ta­tion poli­cies fur­ther, effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly. Patients can now have two peo­ple vis­it at a time. This is a change from cur­rent pol­i­cy allow­ing only one vis­i­tor at a time.

San Juan Coun­ty has main­tained a mod­er­ate trans­mis­sion risk lev­el for more than sev­en days, which meets the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion guide­lines for the low­er risk lev­el for health­care facil­i­ties. Vis­i­tors are still required to wear a mask in health­care set­tings per state health depart­ment and CDC guide­lines. Vis­i­tors will be asked to self-screen by review­ing the posters dis­played that list COVID-19 symptoms.

Peace­Health remains cau­tious and is pre­pared to tight­en up pro­to­cols should these trends again reverse.

Island Jobs: San Juan Island Library Board seeks a Trustee

Posted October 31, 2022 at 11:34 am by

The San Juan Island Library is look­ing for can­di­dates to fill a vacan­cy on the five-mem­ber Library Board for a non-paid term of office that runs from Jan. 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2027. Learn more in the Island Jobs sec­tion of the San Juan Update.

County Council agenda for Nov. 1

Posted October 31, 2022 at 10:09 am by

The San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil will hold a reg­u­lar meet­ing on Tues­day, Nov. 1 at 9 a.m. Items up for dis­cus­sion or action include:

  • 2022 bud­get — third amendment
  • 2023 bud­get mid-bien­ni­al review
  • Approv­ing the 2023 Cap­i­tal Improve­ment Plan and the 2023–2028 Six-Year Cap­i­tal Improve­ment Plan
  • Can­celling pri­or years unclaimed accounts payable and pay­roll warrants
  • Nox­ious Weed Pro­gram assess­ment increase
  • Set­ting the prop­er­ty tax levy for land con­ser­va­tion futures for 2023
  • Set­ting the prop­er­ty tax levy for coun­ty roads for 2023
  • Set­ting the prop­er­ty tax levy for cur­rent expense for 2023
  • Approve REET 2 Pub­lic Works allocations
  • Sched­ule pub­lic hear­ing for Com­mu­ni­ty Devel­op­ment Block Grant close-out
  • Approve one-year exten­sion of San Juan Islands Vis­i­tors Bureau des­ti­na­tion mar­ket­ing and man­age­ment ser­vices agreement
  • Approve con­tract with the Town of Fri­day Har­bor for law enforce­ment services

You can view the live stream of the meet­ing online or attend in per­son at the Coun­cil Leg­isla­tive Hear­ing Room. To make a pub­lic com­ment, sign up pri­or to 9 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Mount Dallas in the clouds

Posted October 31, 2022 at 8:25 am by

Aries Unpingco ties the game for the Pee Wee Tigers

Posted October 29, 2022 at 8:49 pm by

He would lat­er score the game-win­ning touch­down on a fourth-and-goal play in over­time. All three Tiger foot­ball teams won their games on Sat­ur­day and will con­tin­ue post-sea­son play next weekend.

Letter to the Editor: Why I’m voting yes for the library

Posted October 29, 2022 at 5:55 pm by

Like many islanders — and espe­cial­ly prop­er­ty own­ers — I expe­ri­enced some pret­ty intense stick­er shock at the $20 mil­lion esti­mat­ed cost of the new Library on Spring Street. It was enough to stop me in my tracks, despite being some­one who con­sis­tent­ly votes pro­gres­sive. Does a small rur­al com­mu­ni­ty real­ly need such an expen­sive new facil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly when it will increase our prop­er­ty tax­es dur­ing what is already a harsh eco­nom­ic time?

After some seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion, and with help from the Library’s very infor­ma­tive Build­ing Project page, I have decid­ed to vote yes on the library. Here’s why:

  • $20 mil­lion is a lot of mon­ey — only $12 mil­lion of which would be paid through tax­es — but con­struc­tion costs are super high now in gen­er­al and are unlike­ly to come back down. In fact, they might just con­tin­ue to get more expen­sive as time goes on, so it makes sense to build now.
  • This might not feel like the time to take on a big finan­cial bur­den as tax­pay­ers, but the real­i­ty is that it’s a 20-year plan to pay $12 mil­lion and most prop­er­ty own­ers would only pay $45-$85 per year in addi­tion­al tax­es. That’s not real­ly that much — like 10 fan­cy cof­fee drinks? A few stream­ing ser­vice sub­scrip­tions? Per year?
  • The old build­ing on the site is going to have to be torn down no mat­ter who buys the prop­er­ty, so if the Library doesn’t do it some­one else will. And the Library has a real­ly great plan for reusing and recy­cling as much of the old build­ing mate­r­i­al as pos­si­ble, which prob­a­bly won’t be the case for any­one else buy­ing it.

Why move in the first place? One thing I’ve heard from folks on this issue is that our cur­rent library feels ade­quate to our needs already: “There’s hard­ly ever any­one in there any­way!” But what if the Library were dif­fer­ent? Would you use it more? Think about why you might not use the library very much now, and how an improved library would change your expe­ri­ence. What if there were more rooms to do office work in, where you could talk to a co-work­er with­out dis­turb­ing oth­er peo­ple? What if your small busi­ness or non­prof­it or com­mu­ni­ty group could use a room for meet­ings or activ­i­ties? What if the Library had room for more new books that you could peruse and be inspired by? What if the kids area was sep­a­rat­ed from the main area, so the whole space was qui­eter and more invit­ing, and kids could still have fun in a safe place after school? Besides, what about every­one who sits in their cars in the park­ing lot using the inter­net, whether for lack of work­space inside or for a desire for pri­va­cy? I see lots of peo­ple doing this, so there’s def­i­nite­ly a need.

This is our chance to build what this island has need­ed for a long time, and will con­tin­ue to need into the future: a mul­ti-use com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter for peo­ple of all ages, where islanders can gath­er for free, find inspi­ra­tion, access inspi­ra­tional and edu­ca­tion­al resources, have fun, and get reli­able access to fast inter­net — some­thing a lot of peo­ple still don’t have at home. We don’t have a rec cen­ter, an arcade, or real­ly any­where for kids to go after school except the library. We are los­ing all of our cafes and restau­rants where peo­ple could hang out and use the inter­net. We have few­er com­mon spaces than ever. With so many beloved busi­ness­es clos­ing, peo­ple are wor­ried for the char­ac­ter and integri­ty of our town. I think now is actu­al­ly the per­fect time to invest in this project, because it’s an invest­ment in our future as a community.

We may not be Seat­tle, but we deserve an awe­some library that will sup­port all islanders for many, many years to come.

Glenn Hen­drick
San Juan Island

At the top of Young Hill

Posted October 29, 2022 at 4:39 pm by

Town of Friday Harbor matching Food Bank donations during the month of November

Posted October 29, 2022 at 1:36 pm by

The Town shares news about its year­ly ini­tia­tive to pro­vide some extra sup­port for Fri­day Har­bor Food Bank.

Each Novem­ber, the Town of Fri­day Har­bor asks that you help us sup­port an impor­tant com­mu­ni­ty need — the Fri­day Har­bor Food Bank. The Food Bank spends over $10,000 each month serv­ing near­ly 750 house­holds, and rough­ly 1,475 indi­vid­u­als per month. In the last year, they pro­vid­ed near­ly 500,000 pounds of food to locals. They do this entire­ly through com­mu­ni­ty donations.

Accord­ing to Food Bank man­ag­er Rachelle Radon­s­ki, the need for your gen­er­ous dona­tions is even greater in these eco­nom­ic times. “The needs of the Food Bank patrons are ongo­ing and crit­i­cal,” Rachelle says. “Food costs con­tin­ue to rise, but the Food Bank is com­mit­ted to keep­ing healthy pro­duce and pro­teins avail­able. With the hol­i­days upon us, the num­ber in need will grow even larger.”

To assist with the Food Bank’s need for fund­ing, the Town will direct all of your dona­tions from this month’s Har­bor Life Ring to the Fri­day Har­bor Food Bank. Each year you have answered the Town’s call to con­tribute, and the Town has matched your dona­tions. This year, the Town is increas­ing that match up to a total of $5,000.

Sup­port our local Food Bank by donat­ing to Har­bor Life Ring on your Novem­ber util­i­ty bill. As we cel­e­brate Thanks­giv­ing and all that we have to be thank­ful for, here is a per­fect way to pay it for­ward. Please con­sid­er an extra con­tri­bu­tion at the bot­tom of your util­i­ty billing.

Thank you for your gen­er­ous sup­port, and best wish­es to you and yours this hol­i­day season.

A break in the clouds

Posted October 29, 2022 at 12:33 pm by

Island Jobs: Inter Island Propane is looking for a Customer Service Representative

Posted October 29, 2022 at 9:26 am by

Inter Island Propane is hir­ing a Cus­tomer Ser­vice Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a full-time posi­tion with flex­i­ble hours. Learn more in the Island Jobs sec­tion of the San Juan Update.

Frank and Francesca

Posted October 28, 2022 at 9:20 pm by

“Frank and Francesca are the two res­i­dent bald eagles that use the Cat­tle Point light­house as a fish­ing perch,” Brad says. “At this angle it’s hard to tell the size dif­fer­ence for deter­min­ing male and female, but if you look at the beaks, Francesca has the larg­er beak as females do. Also, the pupil size shows that Francesca is focused on me where­as Frank is check­ing out a her­ring ball in the chan­nel. Unlike humans, eagles can dilate and con­strict their pupils at will.”