Posted December 24, 2022 at 8:15 pm by San Juan Update
Freezer Burned is an ongoing series for the San Juan Update, written by Steve Ulvi. Read the previous story in this series.
Kuuk River Holidays
The celebrations during the shortest days of the year are cherished by most high latitude residents. Proud rural northerners tend to embrace frosty challenges. Well ahead of the calendar day that signifies the first official day of winter, on December 21, they live surrounded by thousands of miles of snow and ice. The special days cluster together in the darkest, but not yet the most bone-chilling weeks of the continental winter in northern Alaska. The two months of “booming ice and cracking trees” are yet to come to this vast upper Yukon River basin, far from oceanic influences.
The notation of the Winter Solstice on calendars is a small font in our time; the exact moment of the annual solar transition, the maximum tilt that shrugs off the sun’s warmth, is now understood via precise computations and can be predicted to the second far into the future. For most of the era of modern humankind, recognition of the day depended upon the careful alignment of stone structures by high priests in long-gone, advanced societies. It was recognized as a predictable cyclic pattern in the heavens while the immediate natural world was fraught with danger and flux.
This annual demarcation is especially important at higher latitudes, where the sun burns as brightly as anywhere on earth, but without a scintilla of warmth while barely skimming the southern horizon or disappearing altogether. We can only imagine that the return of the mysterious, life-giving orb was anything but certain; especially so for our skin-clad ancestors enduring the brutal millennia of glaciation. Even moderns embrace pagan roots; lighting large burn piles to watch sparks join the dome of stars, to invite the return of the sun.
A few days later, the 1983 Christmas on the Kuuk River, just south of the foreboding arc of the Brooks Range, would pass as so many have in the Alaska bush and remote outposts; in small gatherings of goodwill and sharing home-made goods and saved treats. But bush life requires labors and flexibility in a winter-dominant climate with only a temporary break for celebrations. Sonny jumped at the chance to help with every Hendersen family chore; washing dishes, carrying firewood and even tending to the least pleasant dog yard duties. Nate helped Lars make some repairs to the old tracked snow plow. Continue Reading
Posted December 24, 2022 at 3:57 pm by Jeff Arnim
Despite the power outage earlier in the day, Island Stage Left’s final performance of A Christmas Carol will still take place tonight at the San Juan County Fairgrounds at 6:30 p.m. If the power goes out again, the organizers say that they’ll use a generator instead. And if the generator quits, they have lanterns at the ready.
Posted December 24, 2022 at 9:42 am by Jeff Arnim
Around 8:30 a.m., San Juan County experienced its second major power outage in less than 48 hours. According to OPALCO, the co-op’s mainland feeder has been affected, which means that all co-op customers in the islands are currently without power.
“With mainland events, response time is slower than if it was a local event,” OPALCO said in a statement published on their website at 9:30 a.m. “We don’t have a restoration time but it will be longer than four hours.”
Posted December 23, 2022 at 12:47 pm by San Juan Update
The San Juan Island School District shares good news about the Eco-Club at Friday Harbor High School.
Friday Harbor High School has been named one of 300 finalists in the 13th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.
Solve for Tomorrow is a national competition that challenges U.S. public school students in grades 6–12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math can play in solving some of the biggest issues in their local communities.
The high school’s Eco-Club students put together a pitch to build a more robust emergency information and resource app for our community to help prepare for earthquakes, stronger storms, and potential wildfire events. They have won $2,500 to help start implementing their idea, and if selected as the state winner will get a $20,000 prize and a potential $50,000 bonus for the highest-impact-idea award. The national award winner receives a $125,000 prize.
The competition engages students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems, making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.
Other schools participating in this year’s competition have proposed ideas to tackle geopolitical matters, climate change, school safety, personal safety, mental health, school bus commuting, and more.
Posted December 23, 2022 at 8:51 am by San Juan Update
The organizers of the County Fair send along a request for help for the 2023 edition of the Fair.
San Juan County Parks and Fair staff are already planning for the 2023 Fair. It is with great excitement that San Juan County announces the theme — Dancing with the Steers, a play on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. With this in mind, the Fair invites all interested artists to submit art for the 2023 poster. Show us your creative ideas of what Dancing with the Steers looks like!
The 2023 Fair runs from Aug. 16–19.
The San Juan County Fair Board enjoys working with the local artists who donate their talents to make each year’s Fair poster special. Please review the poster guidelines on the Fair website and email submissions to email@example.com by Monday, Jan. 30. The County Fair Board will review submissions and make a choice during their February meeting.
Posted December 22, 2022 at 6:09 pm by Jeff Arnim
Update, 7:25 p.m. — Puget Sound Energy has identified the source of the outage. Power restoration is not expected to start for at least three hours, but possibly longer.
According to OPALCO, Bonneville Power Administration and Puget Sound Energy crews on the mainland are investigating the source of the power outage affecting all of San Juan County. They aren’t able to offer an estimate of when power will be restored.
OPALCO asks co-op members to turn off heat and most of lights so that the power system can more easily return to full capacity once the outage has been resolved.
Posted December 22, 2022 at 9:57 am by San Juan Update
Island Stage Left shares news about the second production in their holiday series.
The most delightfully cold-hearted, cynical, greedy, mean old man in English literature gets his comeuppance in Friday Harbor on Dec. 23 and 24, when Island Stage Left presents Broadway actor Allen Fitzpatrick’s one-man version of A Christmas Carol at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day, weather permitting.
Fitzpatrick plays Ebenezer Scrooge — “hard and sharp as flint, secret and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster” — plus 25 other characters in this virtuoso adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. Fitzpatrick modeled his show on the dramatic readings Dickens himself performed. The intimacy of a one-man show gives a special personal flair to the story of a wicked man brought to his knees by a series of painfully honest ghosts, one of them in the form of a door-knocker.
Fitzpatrick is a seasoned Broadway actor who has worked with stars of the profession ranging from Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber to Vanessa Redgrave and Patti Lupone. He maintains a close connection to the Pacific Northwest, having appeared many times at the 5th Avenue Theatre, ACT, Seattle Rep, the Intiman Theatre and at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony.
Seating for A Christmas Carol is limited, and though a few no-shows may mean seats will be available at the door, Island Stage Left can’t guarantee a place to those who come without reservations.
The first three shows are fully booked, but a few seats remain for the 6:30 p.m. show on Dec. 24. To make a reservation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Masks are strongly encouraged. Performances take place in the Marie Boe Building, at the San Juan County Fairgrounds — 849 Argyle Ave.
Posted December 21, 2022 at 5:20 pm by Jeff Arnim
Island Rec’s seventh annual Resolution Run 5k run/walk kicks off another new year in 2023, starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1 at Jackson Beach. The route starts and ends at Jackson’s so that participants can take an optional polar dip in the Salish Sea at the end of their run.
Snacks will be provided and Island Rec will have a fire going during the event. If you’re taking the plunge into the sea, remember to bring a change of clothes.
Registration for the Resolution Run is open now. It’s $10 for ages 16-plus and free for everyone 15 and under.