Town discusses next steps for Spring St. fire cleanup and traffic reconfiguration

Posted May 11, 2022 at 8:06 pm by

The Town of Fri­day Har­bor shares an update about the sta­tus of the fire cleanup and road clo­sures on Spring St.

The Town has been rework­ing the traf­fic con­fig­u­ra­tion neces­si­tat­ed by the down­town fire.

Our ini­tial traf­fic con­fig­u­ra­tion was meant to last only a short while, nev­er antic­i­pat­ing that the ATF would be called in and a lengthy inves­ti­ga­tion would be need­ed. Post-inves­ti­ga­tion, the con­trac­tor hired by the prop­er­ty insur­ers request­ed that we keep low­er Spring St. closed to facil­i­tate speedy debris removal. That speedy cleanup didn’t hap­pen because test­ing of the debris revealed the pres­ence of asbestos and lead. This means the debris can­not be tak­en to a near­by land­fill but instead must be deliv­ered to a per­mit­ted facil­i­ty in Seat­tle. The con­trac­tor will be bring­ing in scales to weigh their trucks and there are oth­er logis­tics involved, but we are mak­ing progress. Yes­ter­day the Town issued a demo­li­tion per­mit to the con­trac­tor and we are told the cleanup will begin soon.

We under­stand the streets have been closed much longer than any­one antic­i­pat­ed, and we are mov­ing ahead with plans to recon­fig­ure the traf­fic flow to make it safer for the trav­el­ing pub­lic. This requires us to con­sid­er not only how vehi­cles move, but also pedes­tri­an safe­ty, the park­ing needs for down­town busi­ness­es, fer­ry offloads includ­ing large trucks need­ing to nav­i­gate tight cor­ners, and the need to have access to busses and taxis. There are a lot of mov­ing parts.

Thank you for under­stand­ing that because the fire was on pri­vate prop­er­ty, the Town is not respon­si­ble for — nor do we have con­trol over — the cleanup. Even so, we are help­ing to facil­i­tate the effort by issu­ing per­mits as soon as request­ed. We believe every­one is doing their best with a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, and we appre­ci­ate the efforts of the con­trac­tor to move this along as quick­ly as possible.

San Juan Island Trails Committee holding family picnic walk and film party on May 29

Posted May 11, 2022 at 5:50 pm by

The San Juan Island Trails Com­mit­tee has orga­nized a fam­i­ly pic­nic walk to Brig­gs Lake on Sun­day, May 29. Leav­ing at 11 a.m. from the tri­an­gle park­ing area at the junc­tion of Roche Har­bor and West Val­ley Roads, local stu­dents will lead a walk on a stroller-friend­ly path to the lake, where San Juan Islands Nation­al His­tor­i­cal Park Super­in­ten­dent Lexi Fredy will give a talk about the nature of her work on the island, fol­lowed by a ques­tion-and-answer session.

At 4 p.m. that after­noon there will be a show­ing of three short doc­u­men­tary films at the Grange — When Goats Fly, Griz­zlies of the Sea, and Cas­cades Cross­roads — thanks to a dona­tion from the Fri­day Har­bor Film Festival.

All islanders are wel­come to take part in both events.

Library to hold farewell reception for Beth Helstein

Posted May 11, 2022 at 8:47 am by

The library sends along news about a cel­e­bra­tion tak­ing place on Thursday.

The San Juan Island Library is grate­ful to cel­e­brate Beth Helstien’s 20 years of ded­i­cat­ed, inno­v­a­tive, and com­mu­ni­ty-enrich­ing ser­vice. Join us for a farewell recep­tion on Thurs­day, May 12 from 2–4 p.m. in the Library’s Main Salon to wish Beth well in her future endeav­ors, and share your mem­o­ries of Beth in a spe­cial book.

Beth began at the San Juan Island Library back in 2001 and has held a range of posi­tions over the years, includ­ing Book­keep­er and Out­reach & Vol­un­teer coor­di­na­tor. A true bedrock of our com­mu­ni­ty, Beth has pro­vid­ed a vast array of ser­vices that have made our Library and com­mu­ni­ty stronger. Beth is cur­rent­ly our longest stand­ing library employ­ee. Some of the high­lights of Beth’s career include pro­vid­ing reg­u­lar vis­its to the Life Care Cen­ter, Mullis Senior Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter, and the Vil­lage at the Har­bor, and ini­ti­at­ing the Tech Tues­day, Aging Mas­tery, and Mem­o­ry Cafe pro­grams among many oth­ers. Con­tin­ue Reading

Notes from the Island — May 11

Posted May 11, 2022 at 6:00 am by

  • Fri­day Har­bor High School base­ball takes on Coupeville High School in a play­off tiebreak­er tomor­row at 3 p.m. in LaConner.
  • A Bear Called Fri­day — a project that aims to raise funds to adopt and pro­vide sanc­tu­ary for a res­cued moon bear on behalf of the town of Fri­day Har­bor — is hold­ing a fundrais­er garage sale this Sat­ur­day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 518 Vine St. There will be a wide range of items for sale, includ­ing dish­es, bed­ding, fur­ni­ture, house­hold items, art, and women’s clothing.
  • The San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art will be dis­cussing its accom­plish­ments, activ­i­ties, and com­mu­ni­ty con­tri­bu­tions at a pub­lic event next Thurs­day, May 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the muse­um. The event is free, open to the pub­lic, and does­n’t require advance registration.
  • The Ket­tle­bell Cafe, locat­ed at San Juan Island Fit­ness & Aquat­ics, is offer­ing two-for-one break­fast sand­wich­es today with the pur­chase of a cof­fee drink between 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • The San Juan Island Half Marathon needs a few more vol­un­teers for the event, which takes place this Saturday.
  • The San Juan Lions Club is spon­sor­ing free health checks through the Lions Health Screen­ing Unit on Thurs­day and Fri­day at the Mullis Cen­ter. They’ll be offer­ing con­fi­den­tial screen­ings for issues with vision and hear­ing, blood pres­sure, blood sug­ar, and glau­co­ma. The clin­ic runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thurs­day and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fri­day. Free trans­porta­tion is avail­able if you call 206–251-4972.

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

Spring in the cemetery

Posted May 10, 2022 at 9:35 pm by

Senior community lunches to resume starting tomorrow

Posted May 10, 2022 at 7:27 pm by

Although COVID cas­es are once again on the rise, senior com­mu­ni­ty lunch­es are set to return to the Mullis Cen­ter start­ing tomor­row after a two-year hiatus.

Orga­nized by Meals on Wheels and More, along with San Juan Coun­ty Health and Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices, the lunch pro­gram is sched­uled to take place on Wednes­days from noon to 1 p.m. through the month of May. Start­ing in June the orga­ni­za­tions hope to expand lunch to ser­vice to Mon­days, Wednes­days, and Fridays.

The meals are avail­able on a dona­tion-only basis to peo­ple age 60 and old­er. Oth­ers eli­gi­ble for a dona­tion-based meal include the spouse/domestic part­ner of an eli­gi­ble senior, the unpaid care­giv­er of an eli­gi­ble senior, the dis­abled depen­dent of an eli­gi­ble senior, and vol­un­teers of any age who sup­port the meal pro­gram. The sug­gest­ed dona­tion is $5 per meal, or what­ev­er is afford­able. No eli­gi­ble per­son will be turned away due to the inabil­i­ty to donate, accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers. Any­one under age 60 who wants to take part in the meal pro­gram will be charged $8.50.

Senior cen­ter mem­ber­ship is not required to par­tic­i­pate in the com­mu­ni­ty meals. Masks are not required inside the senior cen­ters, except when eat­ing, but they are encouraged.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Deb­bie Haa­gensen at 360–370-7526 or

Alchemy Art Center’s Artist Talk series coming to the SJIMA

Posted May 10, 2022 at 10:55 am by

Visual artist Sam Ford — Contributed photo

Here’s an update from Alche­my Art Cen­ter about their upcom­ing artists series, host­ed by the San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art.

Alche­my Art Cen­ter, in part­ner­ship with the San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art, is host­ing an artist talk series fea­tur­ing vis­it­ing and local artists. Talks will take place in the upstairs work­shop area of the SJIMA at 540 Spring St. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on select Sun­days between May and September.

The first talk in the series is Sun­day, May 22, and fea­tures vis­it­ing artist Sarah Aineb and local artist Sam Ford. Sarah Aineb is a visu­al artist, most­ly work­ing in print­mak­ing, comics and film, based in San Fran­cis­co. With most of their work being auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal or semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal, their work explores the invis­i­ble con­nec­tions between feel­ing and space and time. Whether it’s a sin­gu­lar draw­ing or a series of prints or a nar­ra­tive com­ic, Aineb’s works illus­trate the emo­tion­al imprint of per­son­al his­to­ries on phys­i­cal land­scapes, alter­ing how we see space and feel­ings. Sarah is liv­ing and work­ing at Alche­my Art Cen­ter April and May as part of our Artists in Com­mu­ni­ty Program.

Sam Ford is an artist from Fri­day Har­bor, spe­cial­iz­ing in pen and ink illus­tra­tion. His work has been fea­tured on album cov­ers, posters, and oth­er music-relat­ed art, as well as busi­ness logos and his first pub­lished graph­ic nov­el, a retelling of the hor­ror clas­sic The Wil­lows, adapt­ed by Nathan Car­son. Both artists work in the realm of draw­ing, illus­tra­tions, graph­ic design, and print­mak­ing. They will show their work, dis­cuss their process, and answer ques­tions from the audience.

The next talk in the series will take place on Sun­day, June 26. Vis­it the Alche­my Art Cen­ter web­site for more information.

Notes from the Island — May 10

Posted May 10, 2022 at 6:00 am by

  • The Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Coun­cil has raised near­ly $46,000 in sup­port of busi­ness­es affect­ed by the April 7 fire in Fri­day Har­bor. Select­ed mem­bers of the EDC board recent­ly fin­ished review­ing the grant appli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted by the affect­ed busi­ness­es, and grant checks will start mak­ing their way to busi­ness own­ers lat­er this week.
  • The Fam­i­ly Resource Cen­ter’s kinder­garten kick­off takes place on Thurs­day from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the ele­men­tary school. It’s a chance for incom­ing kinder­gart­ners and their fam­i­lies to meet with school staff and learn more about what to expect dur­ing the 2022–2023 school year.
  • The sec­ond Sus­tain­able Tourism Man­age­ment Plan com­mu­ni­ty meet­ing takes place tonight over Zoom from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The con­tent of this meet­ing is specif­i­cal­ly focused on San Juan Island — here’s the agen­da.
  • The San Juan Islands Con­ser­va­tion Dis­tric­t’s Youth Con­ser­va­tion Corps is still accept­ing appli­ca­tions for its out­door stew­ard­ship pro­gram for stu­dents age 12–18, but the dead­line to apply is this Thurs­day.
  • There’s a moth­er-son glow dance tak­ing place on Fri­day at 6:30 p.m. at the Fair­grounds. Tick­ets are $10 per family.

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

Low tide at the ferry landing

Posted May 9, 2022 at 7:38 pm by

County Council discusses ballot measure that would permanently increase road levy

Posted May 9, 2022 at 12:14 pm by

Faced with the task of over­see­ing aging road and marine infra­struc­ture in an era of increas­ing costs, lim­it­ed rev­enue, and more extreme weath­er, the Coun­ty Coun­cil last week dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of intro­duc­ing a mea­sure on the Novem­ber 2022 bal­lot that would per­ma­nent­ly increase the County’s road levy.

The addi­tion­al fund­ing would be allo­cat­ed to three key areas – sta­bi­liz­ing the County’s road fund, repair­ing the County’s pub­lic marine facil­i­ties, and pro­vid­ing ini­tial fund­ing for a lim­it­ed num­ber of non-motor­ized trans­porta­tion projects.

The cur­rent road levy sits at $0.56 per $1,000 of assessed val­ue for prop­er­ties locat­ed out­side of the incor­po­rat­ed areas of Fri­day Har­bor – rough­ly $280 per year for a home with an assessed val­ue of $500,000 – and is expect­ed to gen­er­ate $5.03 mil­lion in fund­ing for 2022. One pro­pos­al out­lined by the County’s Pub­lic Works depart­ment sug­gest­ed increas­ing the levy amount to $0.76, which would gen­er­ate $1.8 mil­lion in addi­tion­al rev­enue in the first year.

The Coun­ty is just com­ing out of an excep­tion­al­ly wet win­ter sea­son that required its Pub­lic Works crews to mit­i­gate dozens of road washouts, cul­vert col­laps­es, and mud­slides – like­ly a pre­view of the broad impact that chang­ing weath­er pat­terns will have on its infra­struc­ture in the decades to come. Con­tin­ue Reading

Fire relief fund auction open until May 15

Posted May 9, 2022 at 11:08 am by

The San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce and San Juan Can­vas Co. have part­nered to orga­nize a silent auc­tion in sup­port of the Cham­ber’s Fire Relief Fund. Bid­ding is open now and runs through Sun­day, May 15 at 10 a.m.

The auc­tion was moved online to accom­mo­date the unex­pect­ed­ly large num­ber of items donat­ed by the com­mu­ni­ty, but all of the items up for bid can be viewed in per­son at the Cham­ber office at 165 First St. S.

Win­ners will be announced and noti­fied on May 16.

County Council approves additional behavioral health funding for San Juan Island School District

Posted May 9, 2022 at 7:15 am by

Fol­low­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion from the Human Ser­vices Advi­so­ry Board, the San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil unan­i­mous­ly approved a con­tract amend­ment with the San Juan Island School Dis­trict last week, agree­ing to increase behav­ioral health fund­ing for the dis­trict by rough­ly $168,000 for the 2021–2022 school year.

“What we’re see­ing is that the San Juan [Island] School Dis­trict has had a sig­nif­i­cant increase in behav­ioral health issues among stu­dents due to the COVID pan­dem­ic,” Coun­ty Human Ser­vices Man­ag­er Bar­bara LaBrash told the Coun­cil. “They are report­ing that the oth­er sources of fund­ing are not suf­fi­cient to pro­vide the lev­el of ser­vice nec­es­sary to address the unmet behav­ioral health needs of stu­dents and fam­i­lies as a result of the pandemic.”

“We believe the fund­ing request is a pos­i­tive invest­ment in the future of stu­dents, with the aim of reduc­ing the need for more inten­sive ser­vices,” LaBrash explained.

Rough­ly 20 per­cent of the request­ed funds will be applied to the district’s Fam­i­ly & Com­mu­ni­ty School Liai­son posi­tion, which Coun­ty Behav­ioral Health Spe­cial­ist Richard Uri described as ful­fill­ing a unique and crit­i­cal role with­in the community.

“He works with all fam­i­lies, which was espe­cial­ly help­ful dur­ing remote school­ing when they could­n’t have con­tact [with in-per­son resources],” Uri explained. “And as a bilin­gual work­er he has made con­nec­tions with the Span­ish-speak­ing fam­i­lies much bet­ter for the schools, and helps to bring them into more services.”

The mon­ey for the one-time fund­ing increase will come out of the County’s Men­tal Health Tax Fund. Rev­enues from that fund are gen­er­at­ed by a 0.1 per­cent sales tax adopt­ed by the Coun­cil in March 2009.

Right this way

Posted May 7, 2022 at 9:08 pm by

First Street paving takes place May 9, weather permitting

Posted May 7, 2022 at 7:53 pm by

With util­i­ty upgrades most­ly com­plete, Kon­nerup Con­struc­tion has sched­uled the paving com­po­nent of the First Street over­lay project to begin on Mon­day, May 9. Both Tues­day and Wednes­day have been set aside as alter­nate paving days in the event of poor weather.

Crews expect to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in an attempt to com­plete paving in one day. Both lanes of traf­fic will be closed, but flag­gers will allow local access to off-street park­ing as need­ed. No park­ing will be allowed on First Street and the Town may tow vehi­cles left in the con­struc­tion zone dur­ing work hours. Side­walks will remain open.

First Street will be reopened as soon as the asphalt is cool enough for vehi­cle traffic.

Alchemy Art Center hosting youth Art+Environment exhibition on May 13

Posted May 7, 2022 at 7:27 pm by

Alche­my Art Cen­ter shares news about their upcom­ing pub­lic exhibition.

This spring, Alche­my Art Cen­ter part­nered with the San Juan Island Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict and the Madrona Insti­tute on the first ever Art+Environment pro­gram, a 10-week arts and envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship pro­gram host­ed at Alche­my and geared toward mid­dle school-age kids.

Each week, stu­dents were instruct­ed by dif­fer­ent guest pro­fes­sion­als in arts and envi­ron­men­tal fields, cov­er­ing top­ics like sense of place, reuse and upcy­cling, and design/messaging. Guest instruc­tors includ­ed fine arts pro­fes­sor Danielle Dean, biol­o­gist and for­ager Kari Kos­ki, founder and direc­tor of Back­bone Cam­paign Bill Moy­er, botan­i­cal dyer and print­mak­er Katey Ris­si, and founder of the Lopez ReMak­ery Niky­ta Palmisani.

On Fri­day, May 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. the pub­lic is invit­ed to an exhi­bi­tion dis­play­ing the incred­i­ble body of work this group of young peo­ple has cre­at­ed over the last 10 weeks, includ­ing pho­tog­ra­phy, upcy­cled fash­ion, recy­cled clay sculp­ture, found object assem­blage, cyan­otype, print­mak­ing, and more. The exhi­bi­tion and recep­tion will be held in the dome space at Alche­my. Light refresh­ments will be served.

Alche­my is locat­ed at 1255 Wold Rd. Vis­it our con­tact page for direc­tions and acces­si­bil­i­ty infor­ma­tion.