Ken Balcomb passes away at the age of 82

Posted December 16, 2022 at 8:44 pm by

Contributed photo

The Cen­ter for Whale Research shares unfor­tu­nate news about the pass­ing of its founder.

With pro­found sad­ness, the Cen­ter for Whale Research announces the pass­ing of our beloved founder and long­time leader Ken­neth C. Balcomb.

Ken’s fam­i­ly and loved ones sur­round­ed him in his final hours on Dec. 15. He was 82 years old.

Ken was a pio­neer and leg­end in the whale world. But more impor­tant­ly, he was the North Star, a guid­ing light. Over half a cen­tu­ry of whale research and advo­ca­cy, he lit a path for tens of thou­sands to fol­low. He was a sci­en­tist with a deep-root­ed love and con­nec­tion to the whales and their ocean habi­tat. He inspired oth­ers to appre­ci­ate both as much as he did.

Ken spent much of his career detail­ing and doc­u­ment­ing the lives of the South­ern Res­i­dent orca pop­u­la­tion in the Pacif­ic Northwest’s Sal­ish Sea. His ground­break­ing Orca Sur­vey study deter­mined that the Res­i­dent orcas need­ed more food abun­dance in a healthy habi­tat to sur­vive. He con­tin­u­al­ly her­ald­ed his mes­sage to the world — “No fish, No Black­fish” — no Chi­nook salmon, no South­ern Res­i­dent orcas.

The Cen­ter for Whale Research’s South­ern Res­i­dents orca research began in 1976 — it is the longest study of this pop­u­la­tion. Ken’s goal was always for CWR’s research to con­tin­ue for 150 years, pro­vid­ed there were whales to study. All of us at CWR share Ken’s vision and mis­sion to pre­serve and pro­tect the mag­nif­i­cent South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales. He often said about the crit­i­cal­ly endan­gered South­ern Res­i­dents, “I’m not going to count them to zero, at least not quietly.”

The CWR board of direc­tors and staff are ded­i­cat­ed to con­tin­u­ing Ken Balcomb’s life’s work.

Thank you, Ken. We will car­ry you in our hearts forever.

A mem­o­ry board has been cre­at­ed on our web­site. We respect­ful­ly wel­come you to share your mes­sages and mem­o­ries of Ken.

Jon and Kris Zerby are the Animal Protection Society’s volunteers of the year

Posted December 16, 2022 at 6:54 pm by

APS-FH shares some kind words about their vol­un­teers of the year for 2022.

The Ani­mal Pro­tec­tion Society—Friday Har­bor is pleased to announce Jon and Kris Zer­by as its vol­un­teers of the year for 2022.

Jon served as an APS board mem­ber from 2016 to 2022, but this hus­band-wife duo have been vol­un­teer­ing for APS-FH for many years — before Jon served on the board, even before APS-FH had a for­mal vol­un­teer pro­gram. Jon and Kris have vol­un­teered at com­mu­ni­ty gath­er­ings and fundrais­ing events, walked dogs, vis­it­ed with cats, helped with repairs, run odd errands, and gen­er­al­ly have jumped in to do what­ev­er was need­ed over the years.

Their lat­est vol­un­teer adven­ture is run­ning our Pet Food Pantry with their APS alum­ni dog, June. The Pet Food Pantry pro­vides free pet food and sup­plies to pet fam­i­lies in need. Pro­gram patrons must be low-income, and their pets spayed or neutered. The Zer­bys uphold these pro­gram require­ments with kind­ness and diplomacy.

Jon and Kris pick up pantry food and sup­ply dona­tions from the shel­ter and take them to Trea­sure Hounds. Here they bag the cat and dog kib­ble, orga­nize and stock the pantry shelves, work at the pantry hand­ing out food and sup­plies, and pro­vide exten­sive sta­tis­tics to help us fundraise for the pro­gram. While doing this work, they are con­stant­ly seek­ing avenues and resources to bet­ter meet the needs of the peo­ple and pets they serve.

In 2020, the Zer­bys advo­cat­ed for the PFP’s hours of oper­a­tion to be lined up with those of the Fri­day Har­bor Food Bank, mak­ing it more acces­si­ble for patrons of both ser­vices. In 2021, they ini­ti­at­ed a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Meals on Wheels to send Pet Food Pantry food and sup­plies home to Meals on Wheels patrons with pets. Recent­ly, the avail­abil­i­ty of pet food has been incon­sis­tent, and the prices have increased dra­mat­i­cal­ly. Jon and Kris reg­u­lar­ly go off island on a near­ly all-day hunt to numer­ous stores for pet food for the program.

“It is the best job I nev­er had,” says Kris about the PFP. “Every relat­ed hour is a pleasure.”

Thank you Jon, Kris, and June for being the friend­ly faces and the wag­ging tail behind the Pet Food Pantry and for all of your ser­vice over the years!

APS-FH has numer­ous vol­un­teer­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. If you are inter­est­ed in help­ing, vis­it our web­site to learn more about our vol­un­teer pro­gram.

Our 20 favorite photos from 2022 — #14

Posted December 16, 2022 at 12:25 pm by

From May 12 — Pad­dlers from the San Juan Canoe & Kayak Club return to shore at Ship­yard Cove.

Island Stage Left presents Christmas Memories

Posted December 16, 2022 at 10:40 am by

Hol­i­day-themed per­for­mances on the island con­tin­ue this week with the open­ing of a pro­duc­tion from Island Stage Left, which sends along details about its lat­est show — and a look at what’s up next.

Island Stage Left the­atre com­pa­ny presents two hol­i­day shows this year, each fea­tur­ing a sin­gle actor. Daniel Mayes per­forms his ever-pop­u­lar Christ­mas Mem­o­ries, based on the Welsh child­hood of Dylan Thomas, on Dec. 17, 19, 20 and 21. Then Broad­way actor Allen Fitz­patrick will bring to life Charles Dick­ens’ A Christ­mas Car­ol on Dec. 23 and 24.

“In these one-man shows, Dan and Allen have to cre­ate many dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters,” says ISL artis­tic direc­tor Helen Machin-Smith. “They have to make scenes appear in the audience’s imag­i­na­tion, they have to sing, to tell the sto­ry, to evoke fear and laugh­ter and nos­tal­gia.” Helen is the stage direc­tor for Christ­mas Mem­o­ries.

“It’s the essence of the­atre,” she adds, “which is that actors are their own instru­ments, in the way that a harp or a piano is a musician’s instrument.”

Christ­mas Mem­o­ries opens this Sat­ur­day. In it, Daniel Mayes takes the audi­ence to a small town in Wales, a hun­dred years ago — the child­hood home of the poet Dylan Thomas.

“Come clos­er,” he says. “You can hear the snow falling, and the hushed town breath­ing. And you alone can hear the invis­i­ble star­fall.” The sto­ries are lush with Thomas’s near-mag­i­cal images, which, as often as not, swerve unex­pect­ed­ly into a joke. Mayes con­jures up the whole town, from young boys snow­balling the neigh­bor­hood cats, to an old ghost of a man with “a small, dry, eggshell voice” who fright­ens the boys out of their wits.

Mayes weaves an enchant­i­ng sto­ry, by turns fun­ny and roman­tic. This year, Lau­ra Con­cord, who per­formed in the show when it first pre­miered, returns to sing the tunes of the town’s women — from the lone­ly wife long­ing for her hus­band, far away in the World War I trench­es, to the tip­sy aunt ser­e­nad­ing the stars in the dark yard.

Admis­sion to Christ­mas Mem­o­ries is free, but dona­tions are grate­ful­ly accept­ed. Masks are strong­ly encour­aged. The shows take place in the Marie Boe Build­ing at the San Juan Coun­ty Fair­grounds — 849 Argyle Ave. — and start at 7 p.m. Seat­ing is lim­it­ed and reser­va­tions are not avail­able, so arriv­ing ear­ly is recommended.

For wheel­chair access or oth­er arrange­ments, or to reserve seats for A Christ­mas Car­ol, email Island Stage Left.

Sasha Von Dassow performing at the Library

Posted December 15, 2022 at 10:43 pm by

Island Senior: Year-end wrap-up for 2022

Posted December 15, 2022 at 2:52 pm by

Yes­ter­day I went to the Mullis Cen­ter for my reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled foot care appoint­ment. It’s a plea­sure if not a gen­uine neces­si­ty to have my feet well cared for. It was a Tues­day and the cen­ter was fair­ly qui­et. Still, it was good to see the Christ­mas trees and lights cre­at­ing a fes­tive atmosphere.

The Mullis Center’s reg­u­lar hours are Mon­day, Wednes­day, and Fri­day from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appoint­ment — call 360–370-7520 — on Tues­day and Thursday.

Like the center’s nutri­tion pro­gram — con­sist­ing of both Meals on Wheels and com­mu­ni­ty lunch­es — the center’s foot care pro­gram has qui­et­ly grown this year, near­ly dou­bling pre-pan­dem­ic numbers.

Com­mu­ni­ty lunch­es are being served Mon­day and Wednes­day between noon and 1 p.m. Sal­ads and deserts are pre-plat­ed and folks are encour­aged to spread out arrival times and lim­it tables to five or six peo­ple so as to main­tain social dis­tanc­ing. Masks at com­mu­ni­ty lunch are option­al and COVID-19 vac­ci­na­tions and boost­ers are rec­om­mend­ed. Menus are post­ed on the Mullis Cen­ter web­site.

Anoth­er one of the Mullis Center’s pro­grams that has qui­et­ly become a val­ued part of my life is Chair Yoga with Kate­ri­na Wen. Both Chair Yoga and Bal­ance and Stretch class­es con­tin­ue to be offered via Zoom. Chair Yoga Zoom is at 9:30 a.m. on Tues­days. Bal­ance and Stretch Zoom is at 9:30 a.m. on Thurs­days. If you are like me and may not be ready for exer­cise at 9:30 in the morn­ing, you can get a link to use the class as many times as you would like to through­out the week. For more infor­ma­tion about these class­es, call 360–370-7520.

A host of oth­er activ­i­ties bring folks into the cen­ter, includ­ing after­noon socials on Mon­days and Wednes­days from 1–3 p.m. All are wel­come to join the games, puz­zles, vis­it­ing and laugh­ter. There is a paint­ing group from 9:30–11:30 a.m. on Wednes­days, a quilt­ing group on Wednes­days from 3–4:30 p.m., and a knit­ters group on Thurs­days from 7–9 p.m.

A new project in the works is the cre­ation of a care­giv­ing direc­to­ry and resource web­site called Care­giv­ing Con­nec­tions San Juan. Any fam­i­ly who has expe­ri­enced the sud­den need of care for a loved one can under­stand how help­ful this will be.

Mean­while, Senior Ser­vices Coun­cil has been busy work­ing to change the three senior cen­ters on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan into three dis­tinct non-prof­its. These changes will allow each cen­ter to oper­ate more effi­cient­ly serv­ing seniors in each community.

The Mullis Com­mu­ni­ty Senior Cen­ter mis­sion state­ment says, “The mis­sion of the Mullis Com­mu­ni­ty Senior Cen­ter is to meet the recre­ation­al, intel­lec­tu­al, social, phys­i­cal, and men­tal needs of seniors and dis­abled adults through advo­ca­cy, pro­grams, and ser­vices so that peo­ple can live and age well on San Juan Island.” The Mullis Cen­ter Team is work­ing hard to ful­fill this mis­sion. Please con­sid­er the Mullis Cen­ter when plan­ning your year’s end char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions. Help us con­tin­ue work­ing to ful­fill this wor­thy mission.

Dona­tions can be made online or by a check made payable to the Mullis Cen­ter — PO Box 684, or hand-deliv­ered to the Center.

Mullis Cen­ter will be closed Dec. 24–26 and Jan. 2.

Our 20 favorite photos from 2022 — #15

Posted December 15, 2022 at 12:55 pm by

From March 3 — Sun­set reflect­ed in a flood­ed field along Dou­glas Road.

Friends of the Library offering gift wrapping service

Posted December 15, 2022 at 11:06 am by

The elves at the Friends of the Library are offer­ing up their hol­i­day gift wrap­ping exper­tise to the com­mu­ni­ty over the next two weeks.

If you’re look­ing for cor­ners fold­ed just right, a glis­ten of bow, and a jan­gle of delight, head to the Library from noon to 5 p.m. today and tomor­row, or this Sat­ur­day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They’ll also be around next Tues­day through Fri­day from noon to 5 p.m.

All pro­ceeds from the gift wrap­ping ser­vice ben­e­fit pro­grams and ser­vices at the San Juan Island Library.

On the interisland

Posted December 14, 2022 at 11:44 pm by

St. David’s hosts An English Village Christmas

Posted December 14, 2022 at 8:44 pm by

The Epis­co­pal Church shares news about this Sat­ur­day’s hol­i­day performance.

An Eng­lish Vil­lage Christ­mas — a con­cert of choral and instru­men­tal car­ols, hymns, and anthems from Eng­land — will take place at St. David’s Epis­co­pal Church on Sat­ur­day, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m.

The con­cert will fea­ture an unac­com­pa­nied choir direct­ed by Richard Lind. Instru­men­tal per­for­mances by Sue Col­la­do (clar­inet), Han­neke Klein-Robben­haar (vio­lin and vio­la), and Richard Lind (piano) will round out the program.

There is no charge for admis­sion, but dona­tions to the Joyce L. Sobel Fam­i­ly Resource Cen­ter and the Fri­day Har­bor Food Bank will be grate­ful­ly accepted.

Soroptimists seek applications for two awards

Posted December 14, 2022 at 7:07 pm by

Sorop­ti­mist Inter­na­tion­al of Fri­day Har­bor is accept­ing appli­ca­tions for two edu­ca­tion­al and train­ing awards avail­able to women liv­ing in San Juan County.

The $2,000 Edu­ca­tion­al Oppor­tu­ni­ty Award was estab­lished for women enrolled in, or accept­ed into, an under­grad­u­ate degree or career train­ing pro­gram. Its pur­pose is to help women over­come per­son­al dif­fi­cul­ties and improve their lives through edu­ca­tion and train­ing. The recip­i­ent may use the cash award to off­set edu­ca­tion or train­ing costs, such as tuition, books, child­care, or trans­porta­tion. Appli­cants must be able to show their finan­cial need.

The $3,000 Fel­low­ship Award is award­ed to a woman return­ing to school for post­grad­u­ate study at an accred­it­ed col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty lead­ing to an advanced degree.

Appli­ca­tions for either award must be post­marked by Fri­day, Jan. 27.

Sorop­ti­mist mem­bers, their imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­bers, and past Sorop­ti­mist award win­ners are not eligible.

Appli­ca­tion and ref­er­ence forms are avail­able on the Sorop­ti­mist Inter­na­tion­al of Fri­day Har­bor web­site.

Our 20 favorite photos from 2022 — #16

Posted December 14, 2022 at 12:05 pm by

From March 6 — Reflec­tions in the water of Quar­ry No. 9 at Roche Harbor.

13 Ravens Coffee opened yesterday

Posted December 14, 2022 at 10:16 am by

Liberty Miller and Tony Thompson

Fri­day Har­bor’s newest cof­fee shop, 13 Ravens Cof­fee, opened yes­ter­day morn­ing in the space for­mer­ly occu­pied by The Bean. 13 Ravens is owned by Lib­er­ty Miller, who worked at The Bean in years past, and who for the last sev­er­al years has oper­at­ed a cof­fee house locat­ed inside a retired Alas­ka train car in Seward, Alaska.

Lib­er­ty says that 13 Ravens will be open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. six days per week, although the day of the week that the shop will be closed is still to be deter­mined. For now she’s run­ning the busi­ness with Tony Thomp­son, who also just moved to the island from Seward.

“After the first of the year we have more staff com­ing on and will then have a food menu and extend­ed hours,” she says.

13 Ravens Cof­fee is locat­ed at 150 First St. N., next to Gold­en Tri­an­gle and Pelind­a­ba Lavender.


Posted December 13, 2022 at 10:08 pm by

Floating Ukulele Holiday Jam happens on Thursday

Posted December 13, 2022 at 5:56 pm by

The orga­niz­ers of the Float­ing Ukulele Jam share news about their hol­i­day musi­cal event, which takes place this week.

The Float­ing Ukulele Jam Hol­i­day Jam­mie Jam is on. Grab your uke, your paja­mas, your voice, a song to share — hol­i­day or oth­er­wise — and bring your friends and rela­tions and join us on the inter­is­land fer­ry on Thurs­day, Dec. 15. The boat departs Fri­day Har­bor at 5:45 p.m., Orcas at 6:45 p.m., and Shaw at 7 p.m.

No uke? Just come and sing, or lis­ten in. No songs to share? Just come and play and sing — we’ll teach you some. No friends and rela­tions? Come and make some. No paja­mas? Find some!

Masks wel­come. For ques­tions, more info, and fash­ion advice, email

Our 20 favorite photos from 2022 — #17

Posted December 13, 2022 at 10:49 am by

From July 4 — Fire engines pass by dur­ing the Fourth of July parade.