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Construction slowdown prompts San Juan County layoffs

  • Mar 11, 2009 at 12:00PM updated at 4:59PM

County officials handed out layoff notices to a pair of employees at the Community Development and Planning Department as demand for building and land-use permits hit a four-year low. San Juan County Administrator Pete Rose on Tuesday acknowledged that permit coordinators Christopher Laws and Allen Shayo were notified that their employment at CDPD would soon end. Both were given a standard 10-day layoff notice, Rose said.

Change law regarding where ferries can be built

  • Mar 9, 2009 at 1:00PM updated Mar 11, 2009 at 10:26AM

An open letter to state Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island: It is way past time to repeal the law that requires Washington ferries to be built in Washington. This is an outdated and restrictive rule which leads to building inefficiency and higher costs because of lack of competition.

Dig Back to Old Egyptian Times | By Madison Dillery

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 4:22PM

Madison Dillery, an eighth-grade student at Friday Harbor Middle School, wrote this composition about the sixth-graders' Egypt Day in the Commons Feb. 11. Ben Troutman's eighth-graders were asked to write a news story on the day of exhibits, models and informative posters on Egypt's ancient civilization. Madison's composition was determined by her teacher to be exemplary and was submitted for publication.

It's official: Michael Soltman is new superintendent of Vashon Island schools

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 3:55PM

Michael Soltman says he's coming home. Selected Monday night as Vashon Island School District's new superintendent, Soltman lived on Vashon for 12 years before moving to San Juan Island to become that district's top administrator.

Boat noise is contributing to the starvation of our orcas

  • Mar 9, 2009 at 1:00PM updated Mar 10, 2009 at 3:54PM

Experts agree our local orca population is starving. I support Mark Anderson’s recent guest column (Feb. 11) where he writes that the proximal cause of death last year of seven local orcas was starvation, and whale watching is accelerating their starvation.

Mid-March Madness 3-on-3 tournament March 21

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:36PM

Island Rec’s Adult 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is March 21 in Turnbull Gym. Day-of registrations will be taken from 1-1:30 p.m., with games starting at 2 p.m. The tournament is open to anyone 15 and older. Cost is $10 per player. Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams.

Six firefighters climb tower for leukemia funds

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:35PM

Six Friday Harbor firefighters climbed Seattle’s tallest building – the Columbia Center — Sunday in the annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb. The annual climb benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and is recognized as the world’s largest individual firefighter competition. Participating from Friday Harbor: Kevin Carroll, 21; Jane Hutchinson, 46; Zaim Melic, 42; Robert Pauls, 36; Tony Smith, 32; and Andy Urbach, 41.

New trail in the works in Friday Harbor | Hiking

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:34PM

The San Juan Island Trails Committee is working with town officials on a plan to develop and maintain an unopened, forested town road as a trail. On the maps, the trail is formally labeled Beach Court, and leads from Harbor Avenue to Jensen Alley, jogging around the Rouleau Apartments. Beach Court has never been opened as a road by the town, but neighbors and proponents say it has long been used as a trail.

Orcas girls take fifth in state tournament | Basketball

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:32PM

The Orcas Island girls basketball team defied all expectations by knocking off the Pomeroy Pirates with a 3-point buzzer-beater and finishing fifth at the 2B state tournament Friday in Spokane. Trailing by two with 9.8 seconds left in regulation, junior Lanie Padbury grabbed a rebound off a missed free-throw and passed to Stephanie Shaw at mid-court, who in turn passed the ball back to Padbury with only a moment left on the game clock.

Carter Whalen holds on to derby lead; Chuck Payne trails by less than a pound | Fishing

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:29PM

Carter Whalen of San Juan Island grabbed the lead and Chuck Payne trails by less than a pound as both anglers netted 20-plus pound fish during Week 5 of the annual Frank Wilson Blackmouth Fishing Derby. Whalen earned a third $75 gift certificate for biggest blackmouth of the week by hauling in a 21.41-pounder. He also hooked the largest fish in Week 1 and Week 4, 18.75 and 14.44 pounds, respectively, and bumped Raymond Ploghoft, who reeled in a 19.87-pounder in Week 3, off the top the leader board with his most recent weekly winner.

State still deliberating on Washington State Ferries funding

  • Mar 9, 2009 at 3:00PM updated Mar 10, 2009 at 1:11PM

Terrible. That is how State Transportation Commissioner Bob Distler sums up the current financial state of the state ferry system.

Beth Hudson: 'I thank the good people of San Juan Island and elsewhere for their prayers'

  • Mar 10, 2009 at 1:11PM

Beth Hudson is on the island and recovering from injuries sustained in a Dec. 21 crash on Portland Fair Road. She submitted this letter to the editor ...

Opposed to PeaceHealth/San Juan Community Hospital Committee proposal

  • Mar 9, 2009 at 3:30PM

PeaceHealth has now sweetened the $30 million Integrated Medical Facility kitty. Seventy grand worth of hype heretofore had not sugar-coated this pill enough to persuade the community to swallow. With its new $20 million pledge, PeaceHealth is plainly in a lather to get its foot in our door. The proposition is now almost irresistible, and if our enthralled Hospital District Board of Commissioners bites, part of the price will be the forfeiture of independent local control of our present and future healthcare universe to the agenda of a corporation.

San Juan Island School District buses will run on snow routes this afternoon

  • Mar 9, 2009 at 2:03PM

San Juan Island School District buses will run on snow routes this afternoon, Transportation Supervisor Terresa Sundstrom announced. The school schedule has not changed.

Spring forward one hour Sunday for Daylight Saving Time

  • Mar 6, 2009 at 2:22PM

It's time to spring forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. Set your clock ahead one hour Sunday morning (or Saturday evening before you go to bed). Daylight Saving Time means you get one hour less of sleep Sunday morning. But if you're looking for some consolation, it also means sunset is one hour later.

Thomas George Holmes | Passages

  • Mar 6, 2009 at 12:43PM

Tom was born in Ukiah, Calif., and was raised in North Bend, Ore. He excelled at many things but was a standout on the football field. Tom played football at Oregon State University and later for the Arena Football League. He made many good friends throughout his life. His bright smile and wit were hard to resist.

Good news for local orcas: Another calf born in J pod

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 10:00AM updated at 5:49PM

Researchers have confirmed the birth of another J pod orca, bumping the precarious Southern resident killer whale population to 86. "Thanks to a call from Jeanne Hyde, Dave Ellifrit, John Durban and I got out with J pod in Haro Strait just before sunset last night," Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research reported on the Orca Network Web site March 3. "(We) confirmed that there are now TWO new babies in J pod: J44 with J17 and J45 with J14. Both babies appeared to be in good condition and energetic."

Senate passes Neah Bay response tug legislation; next step, the House

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 5:45PM

The state Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island, establishing a permanent funding source for the Neah Bay response tug. Senate Bill 5344 passed 44-4 and now goes to the House for consideration.

Six Friday Harbor firefighters will climb Seattle’s Columbia Center March 8

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 5:15PM

Six Friday Harbor firefighters are set to climb Seattle’s tallest building – the Columbia Center — March 8 in the annual Scott Firefighter Stairclimb. The annual climb benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is recognized as the world’s largest individual firefighter competition. A record 1,500 firefighters from across the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Germany are entered in this year’s event.

And then there were three: Interviews March 11-13 for Lopez principal finalists

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 10:00AM updated at 3:40PM

The Lopez Island School District has narrowed its search for a K-12 principal to three candidates. Those candidates will be interviewed March 11-13. The person selected will succeed Principal Roland MacNichol, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Friday the 13th will be a lucky day for residents of Homes for Islanders' latest neighborhood

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 11:00AM updated at 3:40PM

Friday the 13th will be a lucky day for residents of Homes for Islanders' latest neighborhood. That's the day that Homes for Islanders and USDA Rural Development have a Key & Dedication Ceremony to formally mark the completion of Park Plaza, nine townhomes on Park and Guard streets, across from the San Juan Island Library. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Representatives of Rep. Rick Larsen's office are expected to attend. The ceremony is open to the public.

San Juan Island School Board cuts funding for most sports; proposes contract with Island Rec

  • Mar 5, 2009 at 11:00AM updated at 3:40PM

In Friday Harbor golf coach Bryan Germain's eyes, sports and education are one and the same. The course is a classroom, and the lesson each day is self-discipline, patience, respect for others and, above all else, honesty. "What golf teaches you is honesty more than any other sport I've ever played," Germain said. "In some sports, you can fake a foul, or the ball is out and the ref calls it in, or you act like you got charged. In golf, there's none of that."

Beth Williams-Gieger did well in the Lions' den | Column by Howard Schonberger

  • Mar 4, 2009 at 1:00PM updated Mar 5, 2009 at 10:58AM

I had my skeptic's guard up Tuesday when I attended the San Juan Lions Club meeting, where Beth Williams-Gieger, superintendent and clinic administrator of San Juan County Public Hospital District No. 1, was scheduled to speak about the proposed integrated medical center. Williams-Gieger was impressive enough to make a believer out of me.

Updated: Crumb rubber will be replaced this weekend

  • Mar 4, 2009 at 12:00PM updated at 7:22PM

The Playground Underlayment Committee plans to replace the crumb rubber playground surface material at Friday Harbor Elementary School the weekends of March 6-8 and 13-14.

Thanks for your participation in the Centennial Celebration

  • Mar 4, 2009 at 12:00PM updated at 4:13PM

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all the citizens and visitors who attended and participated in celebrating Friday Harbor’s 100th birthday party and for making the celebration a once-in-our-lifetime affair! We truly enjoyed having you come and hope that you enjoyed the events we had planned.

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