Letter to the Editor: Slow down for speeders!

Posted April 8, 2022 at 8:54 pm by

A con­tra­dic­tion? Not at all!

This is a pro­pos­al to remind vis­i­tors and those of us who per­sist in main­land ways that they are now in San Juan Coun­ty, where things are dif­fer­ent. This is why we’re here, and why oth­ers come. But the main­land pace of life is hard to shake, and shake it we must — or we’re sim­ply an illu­so­ry exten­sion of the mainland.

To be spe­cif­ic: the speed lim­it may be 35 or 45 miles an hour. That is a per­mis­sion, not an order! We may be famil­iar with the scenery; we see it once or twice a day. But if you’ve tired of the scenery that among oth­er things draws near­ly a mil­lion vis­i­tors a year, many bring­ing their vehi­cles, and many oth­ers who, being part-timers (irre­spec­tive of how they see them­selves), arrive imbued with the main­land pace of liv­ing, hav­ing used the 60 and 70 mile per hour speed lim­its to get to the Mount Ver­non turnoff, it’s under­stand­able. It’s hard to slow down.

They, and some of us, need help. Accord­ing­ly, my pro­pos­al is sim­ply to slow down and enjoy what we came for. Is that barn in good shape or is it col­laps­ing? What view does that house on the hill have (which at the moment, includes us)? Did the recent cold spell hurt that corn? Is that a fox among the new­born sheep? Keep your eyes on the road, dri­ver! Is that a … yes, it’s a fawn, frozen in its tracks, too young to rec­og­nize the threat we present. Give it a brake. Lit­er­al­ly. What’s the hur­ry? You’re here, where you belong at this moment. So be here. With us, who live here and trea­sure it all.

Bill Appel
Fri­day Harbor

Large-scale fire investigation will keep First and Spring Street closures in place

Posted April 8, 2022 at 7:38 pm by

The Town of Fri­day Har­bor shares an update about the upcom­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of yes­ter­day’s fire and its impact on traf­fic and park­ing in town.

Thir­ty agents of the Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives are arriv­ing in Fri­day Har­bor today to inves­ti­gate the fire that destroyed a quar­ter block of busi­ness­es in the down­town core. The block of First Street and Spring Street adja­cent to the site will remain closed to vehi­cles dur­ing their inves­ti­ga­tion, which is expect­ed to take three to five days. Front Street will be opened tem­porar­i­ly to two-way traffic.

The ATF arson response team is here at the Coun­ty Fire Marshal’s request to pro­vide resources and assis­tance. Their arrival is not a response to exist­ing evi­dence of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty. Addi­tion­al agents from ATF’s Nation­al Response Team were called in due to the island’s lim­it­ed num­ber of first respon­ders and the neces­si­ty to free them up to con­tin­ue respond­ing to 911 emergencies.

The com­mu­ni­ty is asked to coop­er­ate ful­ly with ATF inves­ti­ga­tors and to respect the work being done at the site by avoid­ing the area. Any­one with pho­tos or videos tak­en in the ear­ly morn­ing hours of April 7 or with infor­ma­tion that could affect the inves­ti­ga­tion should con­tact the Sheriff’s Office at 360–378-4151.

“The pub­lic may rest assured the Town, Coun­ty, and emer­gency respon­ders are exe­cut­ing a plan to expe­dite the inves­ti­ga­tion and reopen­ing of streets and neigh­bor­ing busi­ness­es,” said Town Admin­is­tra­tor Denice Kulseth. “For your safe­ty and that of the those pro­tect­ing and inspect­ing the site, please do not enter adja­cent build­ings and rooftops as the integri­ty of those build­ings has like­ly been affect­ed by the intense heat.”

County Climate and Sustainability Advisory Committee to launch on the eve of Earth Day

Posted April 8, 2022 at 12:42 pm by

San Juan Coun­ty’s Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Stew­ard­ship pro­vides an update about the sta­tus of the new­ly formed Cli­mate and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Advi­so­ry Committee.

On Fri­day, April 22, an expect­ed 1 bil­lion peo­ple around the world will take action to pro­tect our plan­et in obser­vance of Earth Day. On the eve of Earth Day, April 21, a group of cit­i­zens in San Juan Coun­ty will come togeth­er to launch the work of the new­ly formed Cli­mate and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee. Here in the islands and around the world, we’ll be unit­ed under a com­mon goal — the theme of this year’s Earth Day event — to Invest In Our Planet.

While San Juan Coun­ty has invest­ed in the envi­ron­ment for more than a decade, last year the Coun­ty Coun­cil ele­vat­ed the envi­ron­men­tal resources team to the Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Stew­ard­ship and added the Cli­mate and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty pro­gram to acknowl­edge the impor­tance of this work. The Cli­mate and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee will advise on pol­i­cy, help set pri­or­i­ties, and har­ness the momen­tum of exist­ing work to help steer the County’s cli­mate action plan.

We are pleased to intro­duce the new com­mit­tee mem­bers, appoint­ed by the Coun­ty Coun­cil on April 5, who will bring their exper­tise and expe­ri­ence to help launch this work. Con­tin­ue Reading

Friday Harbor Family Clinic opens on Monday

Posted April 8, 2022 at 7:54 am by

Heather Chris­tensen shares the good news about the open­ing of the new clin­ic on Blair.

Fri­day Har­bor Fam­i­ly Clin­ic is excit­ed to open our doors this com­ing Mon­day, April 11 at 8:30 a.m. We will be giv­ing out new patient paper­work and get­ting peo­ple reg­is­tered the first week we are open. Please come in any­time between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. We will start sched­ul­ing appoint­ments for the week start­ing April 18, but will need the paper­work filled out before sched­ul­ing an appoint­ment for you. If you have not done so, please fill out a records release form with your cur­rent provider’s office.

Our address is 235 Blair Avenue, our mail­ing address is P.O. Box 796, our phone num­ber is 360–370-5971, and our fax num­ber is 360–370-5940. Both Dr. Fishaut and Heather Chris­tensen PA‑C, along with our office staff includ­ing Gina Sand­with and Jes­si­ca Mose­ley, look for­ward to serv­ing our com­mu­ni­ty by pro­vid­ing the same excel­lent med­ical care you have come to expect. We are grate­ful for the con­tin­ued sup­port from the community.

Notes from the Island — April 8

Posted April 8, 2022 at 6:00 am by

  • The Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Coun­cil has already raised $3,000 to sup­port the busi­ness­es affect­ed by yes­ter­day’s fire, and the Town of Fri­day Har­bor has com­mit­ted an addi­tion­al $10,000 in relief fund­ing. You can donate here. The EDC is also work­ing on recov­ery options with the Coun­ty, the Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Com­merce, and the office of Con­gress­man Rick Larsen.
  • San Juan Island Grange is offer­ing free rental of its assem­bly hall and com­mer­cial kitchen to any­one dis­placed by the fire. Call 360–378-6632 to learn more.
  • High school base­ball and fast­pitch both have road games against LaCon­ner today.
  • San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust reminds us to keep a watch­ful eye out for blue­birds and report any sight­ings to their Con­ser­va­tion Projects Man­ag­er, Kath­leen Foley Lewis.
  • Pou­tine Your Mouth returns to Everelse today and Sat­ur­day from 2 to 8 p.m. to serve up pou­tine and arti­san sand­wich­es. Riv­er Rye per­forms at Everelse tonight from 5 to 8 p.m.
  • San Juan Com­mu­ni­ty The­atre’s first Act­ing for the Cam­era class for kids ages six to 12 sold out, so they’ve added anoth­er. This one takes place on Fri­days between May 20 and June 10 from 3 to 4 p.m. Tuition is $50 and you can reg­is­ter your kids now.

Have some­thing to share with the Island? Whether the news is big or small, let us know!

A peaceful day outside of town

Posted April 7, 2022 at 10:15 pm by

More details about today’s fire in Friday Harbor

Posted April 7, 2022 at 9:10 pm by

Fire & Res­cue sends along a detailed update about the cat­a­stroph­ic fire that occurred ear­li­er today in Fri­day Harbor.

The fire was report­ed near the inter­sec­tion of First Street and Spring Street at 3:43 a.m. by a local tow truck dri­ver. Crews arrived on scene and imple­ment­ed an offen­sive inte­ri­or attack pri­or to with­draw­ing and engag­ing in a full defen­sive attack as the fire spread to sur­round­ing struc­tures. Crews worked tire­less­ly pro­tect­ing expo­sures includ­ing sev­er­al oth­er build­ings in close proximity.

A total of six struc­tures sus­tained fire dam­age, three of which were a total loss, and mul­ti­ple sur­round­ing busi­ness­es remain closed due to the heavy smoke that filled the air and sur­round­ing HVAC sys­tems. It is unclear how many busi­ness­es are impact­ed by the fire at this time, though we have con­firmed there were at least six busi­ness­es locat­ed with­in those totaled struc­tures includ­ing a tav­ern, a cof­fee shop, real estate offices, a wine bar, a kayak tour busi­ness, and pri­vate offices.

This fire has come as a dev­as­tat­ing blow to the com­mu­ni­ty of Fri­day Har­bor, lev­el­ing busi­ness­es and destroy­ing his­tor­i­cal land­marks – some dat­ing back as ear­ly as late 1800’s.

Fire offi­cials have cal­cu­lat­ed an ear­ly esti­mate of $10 mil­lion in loss­es and will know more as they con­tin­ue to assess the full extent of the dam­age. Con­tin­ue Reading

From onlooking to action

Posted April 7, 2022 at 11:49 am by

Except for the hard-work­ing first respon­ders, this morn­ing we’re all onlook­ers, watch­ing pow­er­less as the face of Fri­day Har­bor and the lives of dozens of our fel­low Islanders change for­ev­er with the pro­gres­sion of the major fire that start­ed in town ear­ly this morning.

To help change that in some small way, please con­sid­er donat­ing to the San Juan Coun­ty Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Coun­cil, who will set up a grant appli­ca­tion process once they know where the great­est need is, and will pro­vide fund­ing to those most affect­ed by fire losses.