Island People

Oren and Peggy Combs, owners and operators of the Front Street Ale House in Friday Harbor, have been recognized for their continued support of activities sponsored by the Friday Harbor Fire Department.

Oren and Peggy Combs thanked by FHFD

Oren and Peggy Combs, owners and operators of the Front Street Ale House in Friday Harbor, have been recognized for their continued support of activities sponsored by the Friday Harbor Fire Department.

Fire Chief Vern Long recently presented the awards of appreciation to the Combses after they were unanimously selected by the Friday Harbor Firefighters Association.

The Combses play a major role in the purchase, handling, preparation and storage of all the ingredients and food that makes the annual Pancake Breakfast the success that it has become over the years. The Combses recently celebrated their 15th year in business as operators of the Ale House.

Jazz Coalescence packed the house at Labs

It was a packed house Saturday at U.W. Friday Harbor Labs as six of Seattle’s first-call jazz musicians, led by Jay Thomas, played two sets in front of an appreciative audience.

Dennis Willows and the San Juan Jazz Quintet played the first set of the evening as islanders came out in support of the program’s mission to raise money for the K-12 Science Outreach Program.

This year’s performance of Jazz at the Labs was dedicated to former principal Carolyn Haugen who, because of school district budget woes, donated $10,500 to save the outreach program for next year.

County Council honors retiring map maker

For years, Dan Powell has had a sign on his computer in the San Juan County Assessor’s office that reads: “You have a yearning for perfection.”

“This is the longest I’ve worked in any one place in my life and I’ve enjoyed it,” he told the San Juan County Council May 20.

After 12 years of service, he is leaving the county’s employ to join a local real estate firm.

The council honored Powell with a certificate and a large map of the islands marking some of his favorite places which — on the map — had been renamed in his honor.

Assessor Charles Zalmanek recalls that Powell took over the county’s three-year-old GIS mapping program in 1999 and was instrumental in completing the transition to the new system which, among its many advantages, has enabled the county to make maps and tax parcel information available via the Internet.

“He has been a true public servant,” Zalmanek said. “He has served the needs of the lowliest and richest taxpayer equally with the same smile and good service for 12 years. We’re going to miss him.”

Powell will be joining San Juan Title Insurance Co. His duties will include handling legal document recording with the county auditor’s office, which means he will still be a familiar presence at the County Courthouse.

Magician brings anti-bullying message to town

Magic was in the air May 27 at Friday Harbor’s public schools when magician and educator James Warren came from New York City to perform his Magic with a Message program.

The program discourages bullying and highlights the effects of peer pressure. Warren has performed his show to more than 250,000 students across the country.

Warren worked for 10 years at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and entertained some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.

Warren involves students in his show and uses such props as a newspaper, mirror and knitting needle.

At the middle school, he had four students sit on chairs, then after placing them in a square with feet firmly planted, he had each student lean back onto the other person’s knees. He then pulled out all four chairs. The students supported each other and did not fall.

Warren illustrated the power of influence that others can have. He challenged students to think about the people they choose to “hang out” with and to not follow the group but instead stand up for what’s right.

Warren’s presentation was sponsored by:

San Juan Island Community Foundation, San Juan Island Prevention Coalition, Elements Hotel & Spa, Inter-Island Medical Center, Dr. Jerry Wickman, San Juan Healthcare, San Juan Island Fitness, Islanders Insurance, Lopez Islander Resort.