Santa’s Mailbox

Posted December 2, 2021 at 5:50 am by

Contributed Photo. Drop off a letter to be sent to the North Pole.

San­ta is wait­ing to hear from the chil­dren and wants you to know that his mail­box is back and is locat­ed at 180 Web St., in Van Go’s dri­ve­way. Each let­ter that is received will get a reply so please make sure there is a return address and name on the letters!

The mate­ri­als were donat­ed by the San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce and Browne’s Home Cen­ter, built by Daniel and Bowen Van Hamersfeld.

Deb­bi Staehlin, Fri­day Har­bor Trad­ing Post, is con­tin­u­ing her year­ly duty of help­ing get the let­ters to San­ta. So, par­ents please make sure the return address and name are on the letters!

Now Open — Killebrew Lake Road

Posted December 2, 2021 at 12:21 am by


Kille­brew Lake Road on Orcas Island is now open. Pub­lic Works com­plet­ed their assess­ment Thurs­day morn­ing and have deter­mined that the road is safe to open.

Laporte Road remains closed just past the inter­sec­tion with John Jones Road.

Holiday Art Show

Posted December 1, 2021 at 5:50 am by

11 San Juan Island Artists Offer New Works at the Fri­day Har­bor Atelier’s Hol­i­day Art Show

The pub­lic is invit­ed to a Hol­i­day Open House on Fri­day, Decem­ber 3rd from 4:00 — 7:00 pm

“This year more than ever, we want to cel­e­brate local small busi­ness­es and encour­age islanders to give the gift of hand­made art for the hol­i­days,” says artist Deb­bie Daniels.

The artists of the Fri­day Har­bor Ate­lier (313 Spring St., Fri­day Har­bor), invite the pub­lic to a (social­ly dis­tanced and masked) Hol­i­day Open House and Art Show on Fri­day, Decem­ber 3rd, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The show will be on dis­play through Jan­u­ary 1st, 2022.

The 11 artists involved will be on hand to open their stu­dios — “where the mag­ic hap­pens” — and each will have a wall of recent works to offer for sale.

Some of the artists have tak­en on a “25 Days of Smalls” chal­lenge in Novem­ber and Decem­ber, paint­ing small pieces in order to count down to the hol­i­days like an artis­tic advent cal­en­dar. The paint­ings that weren’t sold dur­ing the online chal­lenge will be fea­tured at the Hol­i­day Art Show.

Mem­ber artists of the Ate­lier (ah-tell-yay’, French for “stu­dio”) include: Jen­ny Banks, Shan­non Borg, Mary Bruce, Kim Brud­er, Win­nie Brum­sick­le, Deb­bie Daniels, Ali­son Engle, David Harsh, Pam Hoke, Lisa Lam­ore­aux, Jan Mur­phy, Tere­sa Smith and Dol­ly Sund­strom. Con­tin­ue Reading

Island Senior: Healthy Holidays and the COVID-19 Variant Omicron

Posted December 1, 2021 at 5:50 am by

“Island Senior” is a reg­u­lar col­umn on the San Juan Update writ­ten by Peg­gy Sue McRae…

Click to enlarge

Cel­e­brat­ing Thanks­giv­ing with friends, all of us dou­ble vaxed and boost­ered, we enjoyed a relax­ing evening with­out wear­ing masks. In spite of win­ter spikes in local num­bers of COVID cas­es it was begin­ning to look like we might be approach­ing the end of this oh so weari­some pan­dem­ic. Then BOOM along comes omi­cron, a new COVID variant.

Sud­den­ly in air­ports around the world flights were can­celled and some bor­ders were closed.  By the time you read this we will know more about this new twist in the pan­dem­ic fore­cast. Briefly, accord­ing to Dr. Fau­ci, Chief Med­ical Advi­sor to the Pres­i­dent, the new omi­cron vari­ant first appeared in Botswana and South Africa in mid-November.

What raised con­cern about the omi­cron vari­ant was its rapid spread in South Africa. And the list of coun­tries where the vari­ant has been detect­ed is steadi­ly increas­ing. While as of Tues­day this list does not include the Unit­ed States, it has been found in Cana­da and is very like­ly already in the Unit­ed States.

Even if this new vari­ant com­pro­mis­es the effec­tive­ness of our vac­cines, the vac­cines remain our great­est pro­tec­tion and strength­en our immu­ni­ty so that even if we do get COVID it will be less severe and less like­ly to kill us. Dr. Fauci’s advice for con­fronting omi­cron will sound famil­iar: Con­tin­ue Reading

“Communities of Hope” Gala a Successful Event

Posted December 1, 2021 at 5:40 am by

Com­pass Health’s 2021 Build­ing Com­mu­ni­ties of Hope Gala Rais­es Near­ly $110,000 to Ben­e­fit Child, Youth and Fam­i­ly Behav­ioral Health Services

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 30, 2021 – Com­pass Health’s fifth-annu­al Build­ing Com­mu­ni­ties of Hope Gala raised near­ly $110,000 in sup­port of the organization’s child, youth and fam­i­ly behav­ioral health ser­vices dur­ing a vir­tu­al event held on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 16, 2021.

The event was streamed live on YouTube and Face­book where more than 300 com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers gath­ered vir­tu­al­ly to watch Delaney Rus­ton, MD, deliv­er the keynote address about the impor­tance of fam­i­lies find­ing their voic­es in shar­ing chal­lenges and expe­ri­ences with men­tal health needs.

“We are grate­ful for every­one who made our Gala a suc­cess and for the incred­i­ble com­mu­ni­ty sup­port from all who attend­ed. We also owe Dr. Rus­ton a big thank you for giv­ing a dynam­ic keynote address,” said Tom Sebas­t­ian, pres­i­dent and CEO of Com­pass Health. Con­tin­ue Reading

Conservation Land Bank Seeks Public Input on Coffelt Farm Study and Proposed Agricultural Policy

Posted November 30, 2021 at 8:54 am by

After more than two years of research and com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, the San Juan Coun­ty Con­ser­va­tion Land Bank has entered the final phase in plan­ning future agri­cul­tur­al oper­a­tions at Cof­felt Farm Pre­serve. The Land Bank invites the pub­lic to sub­mit writ­ten com­ments on a new Cof­felt Farm study and to attend a Zoom meet­ing on Decem­ber 17, 2021.

The enor­mous task before the Land Bank Com­mis­sion­ers is how best to not only keep the 185-acre Orcas Island prop­er­ty in active agri­cul­ture, but to also pro­vide edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for farm­ers and oth­er com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, and to devise a man­age­ment mod­el that’s sus­tain­able, equi­table and fis­cal­ly respon­si­ble. In addi­tion, they must heed the con­straints of the San Juan Preser­va­tion Trust’s Con­ser­va­tion Ease­ment as well as pro­tect the eco­log­i­cal val­ues out­lined in the Land Bank’s Cof­felt Farm Pre­serve Stew­ard­ship and Man­age­ment Plan.

Key to the Decem­ber dis­cus­sion will be the new Cof­felt Farm Lease Rate and Reserve Study. Rec­om­mend­ed by the Land Bank’s Con­ser­va­tion Agri­cul­tur­al Resource Team (CART), the study was pre­pared by a con­sul­tant with decades of expe­ri­ence in the field. It draws on exten­sive research, inter­views with local farm own­ers and lessees, and care­ful eval­u­a­tion of the prop­er­ty and its infra­struc­ture. In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing guid­ance for a lease rate informed by com­pa­ra­ble local and region­al rates, the study includes a pro­posed 10-year main­te­nance sched­ule and asso­ci­at­ed costs. This infor­ma­tion will be cru­cial in devel­op­ing a long-term sound finan­cial plan for the Pre­serve. Con­tin­ue Reading

PIMC Earns National Award

Posted November 30, 2021 at 8:47 am by

Peace Health shares this announce­ment with you…

Fri­day Har­bor, Wash. – We are pleased to announce that Peace­Health Peace Island Med­ical Cen­ter has been rec­og­nized with a 2021 Guardian of Excel­lence Award® by Press Ganey, the nation­al leader in health­care con­sumer and work­force engagement.

Peace­Health Peace Island has earned this dis­tinc­tion five years in a row, specif­i­cal­ly for Patient Expe­ri­ence in the Emer­gency Depart­ment (ED). Patient feed­back sur­veys con­sis­tent­ly placed the ED in the top 95th per­centile or above for each report­ing peri­od dur­ing the award year. The sur­vey cap­tures patient respons­es relat­ed to com­mu­ni­ca­tion, wait times, respect and cour­tesy, patient pri­va­cy and pain control.

The award is a pre­em­i­nent com­pet­i­tive achieve­ment for lead­ing health­care orga­ni­za­tions. Pre­sent­ed annu­al­ly, the award applauds hos­pi­tals and health sys­tems that con­sis­tent­ly sus­tained per­for­mance in the top five per­cent of all Press Ganey clients. Con­tin­ue Reading

2021 Coat Giveaway

Posted November 30, 2021 at 5:42 am by

Old Coats, Warm Coats, Short Coats, Long Coats — Kids Coats too!

Bring your clean coats with a hang­er to Cyn­thi­a’s Bistro Thurs­day to Mon­days 8:00 to 3:00! We will be hang­ing them on the cor­ner of Nichols Street (On the pick­et fence by Roy’s Dri­ve through), Thurs­days to Mon­days — 8:00 to 3:00 if the weath­er allows for any­one who needs them. If it rains we will have them on the FRONT PORCH of Cyn­thi­a’s Bistro.

If you are feel­ing a bit play­ful, add a treat in one of the pock­ets. Let’s keep our com­mu­ni­ty warm and loved this season.
This start­ed from a post that Bev Carl­ton put forth regard­ing a sim­i­lar action in a Euro­pean Town.

For more info — call Cyn­thia at 360–298-8130 or email at

Laporte Road on Orcas Island Closed

Posted November 29, 2021 at 3:59 pm by

A blocked cul­vert has cre­at­ed a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion on Laporte Road on Orcas Island. A large amount of water has built up on the uphill side of the road, and the road­way is in dan­ger of fail­ure, in par­tic­u­lar with more rain in the forecast.

The clo­sure is on Laporte Road, just up from the junc­tion with John Jones Road. There are approx­i­mate­ly 19 res­i­dences above the closure.

San Juan Coun­ty Pub­lic Works Direc­tor Col­in Hunte­mer wants to high­light the seri­ous­ness of this sit­u­a­tion, “While it is impos­si­ble to know exact­ly what might hap­pen, I am very con­cerned about the poten­tial of a cat­a­stroph­ic fail­ure of the road­way. Peo­ple should not be tra­vers­ing the closed area. We will be fur­ther inves­ti­gat­ing the sit­u­a­tion and explor­ing avenues for reduc­ing water lev­els, but for now the road is not safe to cross.”

San Juan Coun­ty Emer­gency Man­age­ment is work­ing to alert res­i­dents who are liv­ing down­stream in the drainage and will be work­ing with emer­gency respon­ders to ensure access to impact­ed res­i­dences in the event of a 911 call from the area. More infor­ma­tion will be shared with the com­mu­ni­ty as it becomes available. 

Beeswax Wrap Workshop

Posted November 29, 2021 at 5:50 am by

Just in time for Hol­i­day Gift Sea­son, Join Ani­ta Bar­reca and Tina Fish­er in learn­ing how to make Beeswax Wraps.  They’re easy!  Just bring your own 100% cot­ton fab­ric cut to the prop­er sizes and a few bucks to cov­er the cost of the beeswax.  Space is lim­it­ed so sign up soon and we will send you fur­ther instructions.

Beeswax wraps take the place of plas­tic wrap for stor­ing your food, are reuse­able, and pret­ty.  They are not hard to make and old ones can be reju­ve­nat­ed!  Be part of the solu­tion!  Learn to make beeswax wraps at our two hour work­shop and then go out and teach others.

Sat­ur­day, Decem­ber 4
2 PM to 4 PM
Grange Kitchen

Pre­sent­ed by Pro­gram Direc­tor Jes­sa Madosky
San Juan Island Grange #966

Con­tact Ani­ta Bar­reca at or text her at 360–622-9797 to sign up or for more information.

Island Lights Festival

Posted November 29, 2021 at 5:45 am by

The San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce is proud to announce the Island Lights Fes­ti­val on Fri­day Decem­ber 3rd at 6:30pm! This kick­off event for the Fri­day Har­bor Win­ter­fest is part­ner­ing with Island Rec and of course San­ta Claus.

It will be a fun-filled evening when all start gath­er­ing at 6:30pm on Spring Street between 1st and Front Street to await the arrival of San­ta. We will have car­ol­ing while sip­ping some hot choco­late and cof­fee while wait­ing for San­ta to arrive to light the tree.

Once the tree is lit we will have some more car­ol­ing before head­ing up to Brick­works for more fun. Upon arriv­ing at Brick­works one will find pic­tures with San­ta, crafts with Island Rec and local har­vest soups and spiced local apple cider for sale.

For more details please con­tact the Cham­ber of Com­merce 360–378-5240,

Jensen’s Boatyard to Re-Open in January

Posted November 29, 2021 at 5:40 am by

The Port of Fri­day Har­bor will be reopen­ing Jensen’s Boat­yard on Jan­u­ary 3, 2022.

The new oper­a­tions mod­el will see Port staff sched­ul­ing and oper­at­ing the boat lift and boat yard. Port crews will per­form all boat lift­ing and launch­ing, pres­sure wash­ing, and block­ing of vessels.

Bot­tom paint­ing, and ves­sel main­te­nance or repairs, may be con­duct­ed by the own­er or a qual­i­fied con­trac­tor. Any enti­ty desir­ing to rent busi­ness space at the boat­yard, pro­vide con­trac­tor ser­vices, or oper­ate the chan­dlery should con­tact the Har­bor­mas­ter at

Kitchen Sink Dinners — Feed the Island

Posted November 28, 2021 at 8:51 pm by

Cyn­thi­a’s Bistro will be offer­ing free take-away meals to any­one who needs a meal or wish­es to have a home cooked meal, Thurs­day Decem­ber 2nd from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. No ques­tions asked, just free food. Stop by Cyn­thi­a’s this Thurs­day to pick up your meal.

You may pick up a meal for your­self or for those who need one and are unable to come. When we run out of food, we will close the doors until next time. We will be sta­tioned on the front porch and hand­ing out the meals at Cyn­thi­a’s Bistro — 65 Nichols Street in Fri­day Harbor.

Basic Home Cook­ing made with every­thing but the Kitchen Sink. Come by and say hel­lo. If you care to join us and donate time or mon­ey to the cause, feel free to con­tact Cyn­thia at the restau­rant or by email  at

Thanks to all who make this pos­si­ble! It takes a village!

Old-Fashioned Christmas Market 

Posted November 27, 2021 at 8:10 pm by

Decem­ber 10th 10am-7pm | Decem­ber 11th 10am-7pm, Brick­works, Fri­day Harbor

The Old-Fash­ioned Christ­mas Mar­ket will light up his­toric Brick­works with a vibrant return!  The pop­u­lar event fea­tures an indoor-out­door hol­i­day crafts mar­ket, island food ven­dors, local farm prod­ucts, live music, local liba­tions, and activ­i­ties for kids and grownups alike.

Fes­tiv­i­ties have been extend­ed to two days; Fri­day Decem­ber 10th from 10am-7pm, and Sat­ur­day Decem­ber 11th from 10am-3pm. Free activ­i­ties for kids both days! Local food ven­dors will ply vis­i­tors with tasty treats made with island grown ingre­di­ents, delec­table baked goods and hot drinks.  Arti­sans will offer their hand­made gifts and art includ­ing jew­el­ry, linens, pot­tery, Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and more. Fri­day after­noon from 3–6pm will fea­ture fire-side marsh­mal­low roast­ing and San­ta tak­ing the stage. Sat­ur­day will include kids arts and crafts, bal­loon ani­mals, music, and a vis­it from Vic­to­ri­an Santa.

We are com­mit­ted to a safer and fun com­mu­ni­ty hol­i­day gath­er­ing for vis­i­tors and islanders alike, with a more spa­cious lay­out and extend­ed mar­ket hours. All ven­dors and vis­i­tors will be asked to fol­low best prac­tices as guid­ed by the San Juan Coun­ty health department. 

The Old-Fash­ioned Christ­mas Mar­ket is spon­sored by LTAC Fri­day Har­bor and the San Juan Islands Agri­cul­tur­al Guild. Watch for details.  The San Juan Islands Agri­cul­tur­al Guild is a com­mu­ni­ty-based 501(c)(3) non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to fos­ter­ing a vibrant, resilient and sus­tain­able local food sys­tem in San Juan Coun­ty, Washington.

Weekly Covid Case Update

Posted November 27, 2021 at 8:45 am by

Since the last update on Fri­day Novem­ber 18th, there have been 27 new con­firmed or prob­a­ble cas­es in San Juan Coun­ty. Cur­rent case count is now 431.

There are approx­i­mate­ly eight unvac­ci­nat­ed close con­tacts of pos­i­tive cas­es cur­rent­ly in quar­an­tine in the islands.

  • Lopez Island: There are four­teen new cas­es on Lopez Island since the last update. There are fif­teen pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on Lopez Island, near­ly all of the new cas­es are relat­ed to the ongo­ing outbreak. 
  • Orcas Island: There are nine new cas­es on Orcas Island since the last update. There are eight pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on Orcas Island.
  • San Juan Island: There are four new cas­es on San Juan Island since the last update. There are six pos­i­tive cas­es under active mon­i­tor­ing on San Juan Island at this time, includ­ing two res­i­dents who have been hos­pi­tal­ized for some time.

Over­all Situation:

Case counts con­tin­ue to be con­cern­ing. Islanders should be thought­ful about their deci­sion mak­ing, rec­og­nize that expo­sure to the ill­ness is com­mon, and uti­lize over the counter rapid anti­gen tests (avail­able at many phar­ma­cies) to help reduce risk when gath­er­ing with groups.

San Juan EMS to Remain Under the Jurisdiction of San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1

Posted November 26, 2021 at 5:45 am by

On Novem­ber 2, 2021, res­i­dents vot­ed for San Juan Island EMS to remain under the juris­dic­tion of San Juan Coun­ty Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict No. 1.

The Dis­trict will seek to renew its San Juan Island EMS levy in the upcom­ing Feb­ru­ary 8, 2022, elec­tion. Cur­rent­ly, San Juan Island EMS is at the end of a six-year Levy, which will end Decem­ber 31, 2022. Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict Super­in­ten­dent Nathan But­ler stat­ed that “renew­ing the EMS Levy will be essen­tial in ensur­ing that the Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict can con­tin­ue to pro­vide qual­i­ty care and emer­gency response to San Juan Coun­ty through­out the next six years.”

One of the most impor­tant ben­e­fits of the Levy renew­al will include the con­tin­u­a­tion of its zero co-pay or co-insur­ance pol­i­cy for ambu­lance ser­vices to San Juan Island res­i­dents. Chair Anna Lisa Lind­strum said, “Renew­ing the EMS levy will ensure that emer­gency med­ical ser­vices main­tain its no out-of-pock­et cost pol­i­cy for all San Juan Island res­i­dents. Call­ing for help should nev­er be hin­dered by the cost of ser­vice.” Con­tin­ue Reading