Words of thanks for the Aleutian Isle response team

Posted September 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm by

Photo credit: Global Diving & Salvage

Bren­dan Cow­an from the San Juan Coun­ty Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment shares his appre­ci­a­tion for all of the peo­ple involved in the Aleut­ian Isle recov­ery efforts.

After 40 days of chal­leng­ing and com­plex work, the Aleut­ian Isle has been lift­ed ful­ly out of the water and onto a barge for trans­port to mainland.

The islands are so appre­cia­tive of the large team of peo­ple that made this hap­pen and are grate­ful the oper­a­tion hap­pened with­out seri­ous injury to any responder.

Despite this effort per­haps appear­ing sim­ple at first glance, it is dif­fi­cult to con­vey the scale and com­plex­i­ty of what occurred and the chal­lenges faced along the way.

First, thanks to Glob­al Div­ing & Sal­vage, Inc. The inge­nu­ity, courage, and per­se­ver­ance of their team, along with the Man­son Marine Con­struc­tion crew, was remark­able to wit­ness. US Ecol­o­gy capa­bly han­dled much of the on-water pol­lu­tion con­trol, with the help of Mar­ty Cheva­lier and his crew, the Islands’ Oil Spill Asso­ci­a­tion, Deb Fritz and Tow­Boa­tUS out of Fri­day Har­bor, and Pin­tail Marine.

Focus Wildlife’s team spent days and days on the water help­ing to min­i­mize wildlife impacts, and a whole team of local marine mam­mal experts from the Whale Muse­um, SeaD­oc, and oth­ers were on the water or on call through­out to help with orca mon­i­tor­ing and deterrence.

The local com­mu­ni­ty real­ly stepped up, hous­ing and feed­ing respon­ders and show­ing island hos­pi­tal­i­ty to respon­ders who spent more than a month away from their homes and fam­i­lies to sup­port the response. In par­tic­u­lar, Can­dace Rags­dale and the rest of the team at Roche Har­bor were remark­able with their sup­port amidst their busiest time of year. San Juan Island Fire & Res­cue shared bunk space with respon­ders and Fri­day Har­bor Labs went above and beyond with find­ing sleep­ing space. Many oth­er local hotels and rental oper­a­tors worked extra hard to accom­mo­date the team.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to our agency part­ners who lit­er­al­ly embed­ded them­selves in our com­mu­ni­ty over this response. The U.S. Coast Guard Pacif­ic North­west has had staff on-island from day one, and they’ve tru­ly been a plea­sure to work with. Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy’s team has been a calm and steady pres­ence and their field staff have dropped every­thing in their lives to mobi­lize to the island. The Wash­ing­ton Depart­ment of Fish & Wildlife team were com­mit­ted and high­ly com­pe­tent. Swinomish Tribe has strong­ly sup­port­ed this effort from the begin­ning and their patrol boats have been a steady pres­ence on the water. Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion sci­en­tists have sup­port­ed with weath­er and tidal mod­el­ing, and Cana­di­an respon­ders from the Coast Guard and Fish­eries and Oceans have pro­vid­ed expert sup­port as well.

And final­ly, I want to men­tion that the own­ers of the ves­sel have been vest­ed and com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing this response from the very begin­ning. A com­mon and under­stand­able reac­tion fol­low­ing a cri­sis of any kind is to find some­one to blame or vil­i­fy, and while an inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing, rest assured that the local Wash­ing­ton fam­i­ly that owns this boat has been dev­as­tat­ed by the reper­cus­sions but 100 per­cent devot­ed to the response.

There is always a dan­ger when com­pil­ing lists of leav­ing some­one vital off — and to those I have, just know that the work that went into this was a true tes­ta­ment to the amaz­ing things that hap­pen when good peo­ple put their minds and hearts to some­thing and work smooth­ly togeth­er to achieve it. Thank you one and all!

College Board awards academic honors to three Friday Harbor High School students

Posted September 22, 2022 at 12:33 pm by

San Juan Island School Dis­trict sends along news about awards grant­ed to three local high schoolers.

Three Fri­day Har­bor High School stu­dents have earned aca­d­e­m­ic hon­ors from the Col­lege Board Nation­al Recog­ni­tion Pro­gram: junior Ava Mar­tin, junior Siena Traynor, and senior Islay Ross. These Nation­al Recog­ni­tion Pro­grams grant under­rep­re­sent­ed stu­dents with aca­d­e­m­ic hon­ors that help them mean­ing­ful­ly con­nect to nation­wide col­leges and stand out dur­ing the admis­sions process. Col­leges and schol­ar­ship pro­grams iden­ti­fy stu­dents award­ed nation­al African Amer­i­can, His­pan­ic, Indige­nous or rural/small town recog­ni­tion through Col­lege Board’s Stu­dent Search Service.

“I am extreme­ly grate­ful to attend Fri­day Har­bor High School and my expe­ri­ences in [Advanced Place­ment] have been over­whelm­ing­ly pos­i­tive,” Ava says. “All of the teach­ers have done a fan­tas­tic job help­ing me learn and they have pro­vid­ed a tremen­dous amount of sup­port. My AP U.S. His­to­ry teacher, Ms. Cald­well, went above and beyond when help­ing me pre­pare for the exam. I am very grate­ful that Fri­day Har­bor High is able to pro­vide me with so many AP course options.”

“Even though the size of Fri­day Har­bor High School can make it dif­fi­cult for class­es to be the most com­pet­i­tive, I appre­ci­at­ed the sup­port from my teach­ers last year,” Siena explains. “Per­haps most impor­tant­ly, I love the way it feels when you open a text­book and the rest of the world dis­ap­pears even though it also con­nects to every­thing you’re read­ing. While you’re sit­ting there, only the text, then the lit­tle high­light­ed por­tions remain. That is the kind of oppor­tu­ni­ty and expe­ri­ence that an AP class allows you to have.”

“It’s easy to feel lim­it­ed when you come from such a tiny island, but the arts com­mu­ni­ty is so spe­cial here,” Islay says. “I’m lucky to have grown up sur­round­ed by unique and sup­port­ive people:

the sculp­tor who showed me how to see shapes in wood;
the painter who taught me the planes of the face;
the artist who walked me through my first life-size sculpture;
the locals who come togeth­er for draw­ing group on Tues­day nights;
the restau­rant own­ers who offered to hang my art on their walls;
my art teacher who would talk through a piece with me for hours;
my mom who lets me use her art studio;
my dad who car­ries my six-foot can­vas­es around;
and any­one who’s ever told me to keep mak­ing art.” Con­tin­ue Reading

Phillips 66 cancels plan to build new storage tanks following Friends of the San Juans lawsuit

Posted September 22, 2022 at 8:08 am by

Friends of the San Juans share news about their lat­est legal vic­to­ry in sup­port of South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales.

Fos­sil-fuel giant Phillips 66 sub­mit­ted a request to rescind their per­mit appli­ca­tion to con­struct two new stor­age tanks in Fer­n­dale, WA, fol­low­ing a mul­ti-year lit­i­ga­tion process ini­ti­at­ed by Friends of the San Juans. If the stor­age tanks had been built, they would have increased the Phillips 66 Fer­n­dale Refinery’s oper­a­tional stor­age capac­i­ty by almost ten percent.

In 2019, Phillips 66 applied for a per­mit to expand its fos­sil-fuel stor­age facil­i­ties in Fer­n­dale. But in its per­mit appli­ca­tion, Phillips 66 neglect­ed to include pre­dic­tions of how many addi­tion­al ves­sels would vis­it the refin­ery. Since sci­en­tif­ic data clear­ly shows that increas­es in ves­sel traf­fic result in greater impacts and risks to the crit­i­cal­ly endan­gered South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales, such pre­dic­tions are required in facil­i­ty expan­sion per­mits. On that basis, Friends, along with mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, object­ed to the per­mit. Sub­se­quent­ly, Friends of the San Juans pur­sued legal actions to ensure that pro­tec­tions for the South­ern Res­i­dents were upheld by What­com County.

In an email rescind­ing the per­mit appli­ca­tion, Phillips 66 stat­ed, “the com­pa­ny has decid­ed to can­cel the IMO Tank Project. This deci­sion was large­ly based on the pro­tract­ed per­mit­ting process and result­ing restric­tions imposed on the project.”

Phillips 66’s deci­sion is the direct result of its unsuc­cess­ful appeal of the Hear­ing Examiner’s deci­sion in Supe­ri­or Court and to the Court of Appeals. The restric­tions imposed on the project includ­ed an ongo­ing ves­sel traf­fic mon­i­tor­ing con­di­tion that would ensure that the new stor­age tanks would not increase ves­sel traf­fic, as Phillips 66 stat­ed in its per­mit appli­ca­tion. This con­test­ed per­mit con­di­tion was includ­ed to ensure that the project would not increase adverse ves­sel traf­fic impacts on the South­ern Res­i­dent killer whales and the Sal­ish Sea ecosys­tem. Phillips 66’s with­draw­al of the per­mit rais­es the ques­tion of whether Phillips 66 was being com­plete­ly hon­est in stat­ing — in the per­mit appli­ca­tion and through­out the lit­i­ga­tion process — that the two new stor­age tanks would not increase ves­sel traffic.

“The ongo­ing mon­i­tor­ing of ves­sel traf­fic should be a per­mit con­di­tion for all projects that could increase ves­sel traf­fic,” said Lov­el Pratt, Friends of the San Juans Marine Pro­tec­tion and Pol­i­cy Direc­tor. “This will ensure that the impacts relat­ed to increased ves­sel traf­fic are addressed.”

Friends of the San Juans con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor appli­ca­tions for projects that could increase ves­sel traf­fic in the Sal­ish Sea, and engages in per­mit review process­es to ensure that increased ves­sel traf­fic and asso­ci­at­ed impacts and risks are addressed.

Summer’s end

Posted September 21, 2022 at 9:45 pm by

Letter to the Editor: Retain commercial zoning at Malcom and Argyle

Posted September 21, 2022 at 7:34 pm by

I recent­ly read in the news of a pro­posed zon­ing change for the cur­rent com­mer­cial lots on the cor­ner of Mal­com and Argyle in Fri­day Har­bor. As an adjoin­ing prop­er­ty own­er, I strong­ly oppose this zon­ing change for mul­ti­ple reasons.

The cur­rent com­mer­cial zon­ing allows far more flex­i­bil­i­ty; a mixed-use devel­op­ment of both res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial would be a bet­ter use of this devel­op­ment near town. Plus, mixed use allows for much need­ed work­force hous­ing to be built, which is not allowed for mul­ti-fam­i­ly zones but is allowed in com­mer­cial use.

Com­mer­cial zon­ing should be main­tained on the Argyle and Mal­com lot, or at the very least give the devel­op­er the option based on sound eco­nom­ic prin­ci­ples. It should also be main­tained because com­mer­cial zon­ing allows for 51% improve­ments in the form of ground floor com­mer­cial suites and 49% sec­ond floor or off-street live work/space, even with a 50% reduc­tion in allow­able lot cov­er­age to main­tain the his­tor­i­cal integri­ty that includes a 30-foot green­belt set­back from Argyle.

Reduc­ing the project from 60% lot cov­er­age allowed to 30%, there is still more than 21,000 square feet of lot cov­er­age allowed for mixed use development.

Any plan should hold a por­tion in reserve for open space, park­ing or future devel­op­ment; all paving sur­faces should be per­me­able; and all plants should be either food pro­duc­ing or endemic.

Lynn Dana­her
Argyle Suites
Fri­day Harbor

Library thanks Fair donors and SJICF

Posted September 21, 2022 at 1:05 pm by

The Library shares their appre­ci­a­tion for com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who sup­port­ed the orga­ni­za­tion’s inclu­siv­i­ty ini­tia­tive dur­ing last mon­th’s Coun­ty Fair Giv­ing Campaign.

The San Juan Island Library is burst­ing with grat­i­tude for the donors who gave to our Inclu­siv­i­ty Ini­tia­tive grant fea­tured at this year’s San Juan Island Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion Coun­ty Fair Giv­ing Campaign.

More than 50 peo­ple con­tributed dur­ing the four days of the Fair and helped the Library earn a $1,000 match from SJICF. The $6,200 raised will be put to use imme­di­ate­ly by pur­chas­ing a ser­vice to trans­late the online library cat­a­log for Span­ish-speak­ing patrons. Over the next year, remain­ing funds will help host a vari­ety of speak­ers to cel­e­brate the voic­es of BIPOC and LGBTQNIA2S+ writ­ers, his­to­ri­ans, and artists as part of the adult pro­grams offered at the Library.

Spe­cial thanks to SJICF for con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide this won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty for local non­prof­its at the Fair.

Notes from the Island — Sept. 21

Posted September 21, 2022 at 9:30 am by

  • Both of Fri­day Har­bor High School’s soc­cer teams won yes­ter­day. The boys beat Orcas Island 1–0 on the road, while the girls knocked off Gran­ite Falls 3–2 at home.
  • A fundrais­er was held at the ten­nis courts at the high school on Sat­ur­day to raise mon­ey for a bench in mem­o­ry of Ellyn Goodrich, a beloved local play­er who passed away Aug. 31. The event raised $650.
  • The espres­so machine is back in ser­vice at Bak­ery San Juan. The espres­so bar is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Pri­or-year free and reduced lunch appli­ca­tions with the San Juan Island School Dis­trict expire in three weeks. Appli­ca­tions for the 2022–23 school year are due on Wednes­day, Oct. 12.
  • The Library’s free Messy Me event, which pro­vides sen­so­ry bins filled with inter­est­ing mate­ri­als and tex­tures for kids ages 2–5 to play with, takes place in the Fri­day Har­bor Ele­men­tary School gym from 2:30–4 p.m. today.
  • Here are the week’s spe­cials at Mar­ket Place and Kings.
  • Thanks to our adver­tis­ers for their con­tin­ued sup­port of the San Juan Update — includ­ing Vote Yes For Our SJ Library.

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

Peace, love and dirty windows

Posted September 20, 2022 at 11:50 pm by