Steve Wehrly

Steve posted 123 stories to The Journal of the San Juan Islands.
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San Juan County Parks wins lion’s share of lodging fund

A total of 16 groups will share $409K in county lodging tax dollars in 2015. The LTAC facilities grants are about half of the lodging tax funds available for distribution by the county.

  • May 22nd, 2014 3:00pm

Sheriff race tops 2014 election field

Contested races coming up for San Juan County treasurer, sheriff, court clerk. Even though most candidates are unopposed and the county council has decided not to put any charter amendments on the ballot.

  • May 21st, 2014 8:34pm

Change in open-space farmland program would extend tax-break benefit from 10 to 20 years

Under current county law, land in the open-space farmland program must be returned to active farming within 10 years or the owner must enter into a conservation easement permanently prohibiting development in order for a reduction in the land's property tax assessment to continue.

  • May 15th, 2014 4:47pm

Boat won’t float? State offers no-cost remedy

DNR launches new program to assist vessel owners without means to dispose of a bad boat. Many of the more than 60 boats on his program’s watchlist could be candidates for free disposal.

  • May 15th, 2014 5:00pm

Learn to lessen watts at Energy Fair

The new Community Solar Program will be kicked off on San Juan Island at the Island Energy Fair on Saturday, May 17. Also on the schedule are a Home Energy Conservation Workshop, a solar home tour, and demonstrations of energy-related technologies.

  • May 14th, 2014 4:41pm

Back to business for Spring Street Landing tenants

Before the fire, the building housed Downriggers Restaurant, Friday Harbor Marine, San Juan Excursions and San Juan Safaris. The fire devastated the operations of all four businesses.

  • May 14th, 2014 4:04pm

Pedal power: Washington named nation’s ‘Most Bicycle-Friendly State,’ for seventh consecutive year

After another successful island ride introduced Washington Bike Month so appropriately, the Lopez Chamber's Lia Noreen said, "We think Lopez and the San Juan Islands are a big reason the state's been honored seven years in a row, and we're happy it came just a few days after our successful event."

  • May 13th, 2014 2:32am

Pot shop lottery winner? San Juan’s Lawrence Enterprises

Those on Lopez will have to travel off-island to score legal weed, at least until the state Liquor Control Board reopens the window to apply for a marijuana retailer license later this summer. But Lopezians won't have to travel far. Potential retailers were approved for Orcas and San Juan Island, one for each.

  • May 9th, 2014 5:21pm

Jet noise to climb during scheduled runway maintenance

The Navy says the June 7 to June 13 closure may affect Lopez Island and the San Juans more than the earlier closure, but that the level of jet noise will depend on wind direction and takeoff and landing patterns on particular days.

  • May 6th, 2014 6:14pm

Incumbents sweep power co-op election; voter turnout tops 23 percent

Results of the board election, in which outsider Steve Hudson fell just 50 votes shy of unseating incumbent Glenna Hall, wasn't the only "news" announced at the 78th OPALCO annual meeting, Saturday, May 3, on the inter-island ferry. So was the pending retirement of co-op's general manager and name of his heir apparent.

  • May 6th, 2014 2:51am

Town to approve changes to ‘ball fields’ plan, but sidewalk stays

The three proposed amendments include relocation of a required sidewalk on Carter Avenue, from Guard Street to the ball fields, construction of a 1,440 square-foot pump-house and maintenance building, and relocation of the family playground area to an area nearer the restrooms and parking lot.

  • May 1st, 2014 10:00pm

Lawsuit claiming county violated state ‘opening meetings act’ rejected by appellate court

"I'm disappointed in the decision and in the fact that the very brief opinion was unpublished, which is an impediment to obtaining Supreme Court review," CAPR attorney Dennis Reynolds said of the appellate court decision.

  • May 1st, 2014 6:15pm

Of electricity, internet and elections: islanders sound-off on eve of the OPALCO annual meeting

Five islanders talk about their interest in OPALCO's upcoming annual meeting and board of directors election. Six candidates are seeking election to the board, and two member-initiated bylaws amendments are also on the ballot.

  • Apr 29th, 2014 6:11pm

Local pollution prevention program makes statewide splash

In safeguarding marine waters from potential pollution of derelict boats, prevention is proving to be the key. Nearly a half-dozen counties have jump onboard to learn how the prevention program in San Juan County can help reduce hazards posed by abandoned and dilapidated boats.

  • Apr 27th, 2014 11:12pm

Town and county strike deal at Sutton Road

Negotiations among the town, the county and Lautenbach Recyling have been ongoing for nearly two years after a town-county selection committee used a “proposal approach” under state law.

  • Apr 23rd, 2014 10:55pm

Inside the issues: Of fiber, broadband and OPALCO board election

OPALCO is moving ahead with expanding its Island Network services from its base of fiber optic cable servicing its electric grid. It is already an internet service provider and a network provider, mostly in populated areas like Friday Harbor and Eastsound, and it resells "backhaul" fiber connections to ISPs such as Rock Island, The Computer Place, CenturyLink, NoaNet and Zito Media.

  • Apr 17th, 2014 6:26pm

Tug-of-war over Navy jet noise aired in D.C.

‘It was a better reception than we expected,’ — Mike Monson, Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve

  • Apr 16th, 2014 4:34pm

District dinged by state audit… again

The latest state audit of the San Juan hospital district’s books noted that financial controls “are inadequate to ensure accurate reporting,” but found no wrongdoing, misappropriation of funds or noncompliance which would require reporting to other government agencies or the legislature. District commission Chairman Dr. Michael Edwards said, “The auditors accepted our commitment to address the issues identified and said they will follow up during..."

  • Apr 15th, 2014 6:41pm

Seventeen vie for single FH pot retail license; lottery pick in store

Although marijuana stores in Washington will not open until July or later, marijuana sales to individuals started in Colorado last year at medical marijuana dispensaries. Reports from from the Weed Blog indicate that January sales in Colorado were $14.02 million, which raised about $2 million in tax revenue for the state. (This article has been updated since its initial post to clarify applicants listing 775 Mullis Street as a potential retail location).

  • Apr 11th, 2014 12:18am

New look in store on Friday Harbor waterfront

A freshly revised design for the Spring Street Landing Building is just the start of the Port of Friday Harbor's proposed 10-year, $10-plus million dollar revamp of the waterfront.

  • Apr 10th, 2014 11:45pm

Update: Co-op board of directors election draws seven candidates

The upcoming election promises to highlight contrasting views on what direction Orcas Power & Light Cooperative should take.

  • Apr 3rd, 2014 10:52pm

Twenty-five years later; in the wake of Exxon Valdez

Although the Prince William Sound fishery, as it was, is a distant memory, David Nash believes that there are lessons from the Exxon Valdez oil spill that still apply today. “They said it wouldn’t happen there and I believed them," he said. "I don’t believe them anymore.”

  • Mar 25th, 2014 6:35pm

Drop in property values subsides—for some

Revaluations are now made annually to all county properties, although only one-sixth of the county is physically inspected every year. Other valuations are made on the basis of local property sales in the areas not physically inspected.

  • Mar 21st, 2014 6:01pm

Dissent climbs over jet noise

The noise from thousands of engine tests and training runs by new EA 18G “Growlers” has generated two recent community meetings on Lopez and San Juan islands.

  • Mar 18th, 2014 5:12pm

Silverman calls it a career

In addition to a dogged tenacity and unwavering work ethic, former sheriff Bill Cumming said that Silverman will long be remembered for the compassion that he brought to the job, a quality that endeared him to his many colleagues and to the community as well. Silverman was involved in every “big case” in San Juan County over the last 20 years.

  • Mar 12th, 2014 1:10am

Tangled up over tax breaks: Part II

Tax shift cited as cause for concern, scrutiny over compliance with guidelines for current-use programs

  • Mar 11th, 2014 6:33pm

County Council stamp of approval expected on revision of hotly contested CAO

The most far-reaching amendment abandons the complex, site-specific 13-category wetland and water quality rating system devised by the county in 2012 and substitutes a four-category rating system developed by the Washington state Department of Ecology.

  • Mar 4th, 2014 2:37am

Friday Harbor artist leads battle against clunky curbs, and wins, with ease

Aaron D'Errico says town Administrator Duncan Wilson and Mayor Carrie Lacher needed little convincing to help make town streets safer and navigating across the street easier for those with mobility challenges. "it took somebody like Aaron to make us aware of the situation," Wilson said. "He's been gracious thanking us, but we should thank him."

  • Mar 3rd, 2014 2:29am

Change of plan unfolds at Jeri’s Mall

Plans for a restaurant on a newly constructed second story of Jeri's Mall have been shelved, as the prospective new owners of the building reportedly intend to turn the top floor into living space.

  • Feb 26th, 2014 12:16am

Port seeks input on rebuild of Spring Street Landing, waterfront redevelopment

At the Feb. 6 public meeting to review new preliminary designs for the SSL building, architect Peter Brachvogel of BC&J Architects unveiled a two-building package having roughly 1,000 square feet more than the previous structure. The main building would have an upper level restaurant of about 4,000 square feet, plus a considerably larger deck to offer customers more outdoor dining space.

  • Feb 24th, 2014 1:03am

Steamed over stormwater? Here’s who to call

Do you have a stormwater problem? If so, Public Works would like to know.

  • Feb 20th, 2014 12:00pm

Henley announces re-election bid | Election

Two-term incumbent seeks a third as chief of county finances, elections

  • Feb 18th, 2014 6:18pm

Juniors, seniors reclaim K-Bowl crown

Suleiman the Magnificent, Atticus Finch, Gene Gould and Sacagawea were the answers. Do you know the questions? Except for Gene Gould, whom no one could identify as Friday Harbor’s first mayor, the juniors and seniors came forth with those names without difficulty on their way to winning yet another coveted Knowledge Bowl championship, sponsored for the 20th consecutive year by San Juan Public Schools Foundation.

  • Feb 18th, 2014 2:21am

Waterfront clearcut at former Mar Vista Resort draws $3K fine

The Honeywells, who won a nine-figure Powerball prize in early 2013, purchased the property in mid-2013 for $6 million. According to an eight-page statement signed by Honeywell and prepared in response to the county investigation, the Honeywells intend to use the property as their retirement home and family retreat.

  • Feb 18th, 2014 2:12am

Sales tax hike for roads?

Bump in sales tax would net $220K a year for road projects

  • Feb 12th, 2014 11:45pm

Knock down, drag out… now what?

Update: click on the article to watch video footage of the demolition of the Spring Street Land Building, former home of Downriggers Restaurant.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 8:08pm

Do over: Council to push back CAO startup date to March 31

If the CAO takes effect March 31, permit applications filed before March 31 will be considered under the laws and regulations in effect before CAO updates were passed in 2012. After March 31, plans and applications will be considered under the new law, including amendments presently being considered and which are expected to be approved March 5.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 8:06pm

SJC Public Works ‘lock-and-loaded’, ready for snow

In the wake of the massive snow problems in the Atlanta area, San Juan County Public Works Director Frank Mulcahy wants you to know he's got you covered—even if Friday's flurries don't amount to much more than a minor inconvenience.

  • Feb 7th, 2014 7:11pm

Renewal? SJ EMS seeks 42 percent hike in property tax levy

The current levy, at a rate of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, does not expire until the end of 2016. The proposed levy, at 50 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed valuation, would replace the current six-year levy with a permanent levy at the maximum allowed by state law for EMS levies.

  • Feb 5th, 2014 7:47pm

Tesoro to pay $39M for fatal Anacortes refinery blast

On Jan. 29, the federal Chemical Safety Board issued a draft report detailing extensive lapses in safety by Tesoro, by industry support groups such as the American Petroleum Institute and by state and federal regulatory agencies.

  • Feb 4th, 2014 7:07pm