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Top 10 stories of 2017

San Juan Islander's top 10 list of stories for 2017 focuses on news that has a long term impact on life in general in the islands.  The affordable housing crisis is exemplified in the closing of the convalescent center in Friday Harbor. The islands have reached the tipping point of workers not being able to live on the island. 

The long-awaited completion of the county's Update to the Shoreline Master Plan wasn't included because the Friends of the San Juans filed suit at the end of the year. Perhaps the SMP and Missing Mountain Road (AKA Connector Road) which is also tied up in litigation will make next year's list.

Item 10 doesn't quite qualify but it was definitely something out of the ordinary. 

1. Closure of Life Care Center The convalescent center in Friday Harbor closed down in November due in part to the lack of affordable housing for its employees.

2. New fiber optic submarine cable

3.Dire news about local orca pods in new study

4. Farmed fish escape from net pen Thousands of farmed atlantic salmon escaped into the Salish Sea from net pens in August. 

5. Health: SJ PHD funds Planned Parenthood. and UW medicine names chief for Orcas and Lopez Clinics

6. Katie Loring becomes the third San Juan County Superior Court Judge after Don Eaton resigns.

7. Infrastructure projects on Orcas. Exchange opens and new terminal building and parking at Orcas Ferry Terminal. 

8. Athletic fields on San Juan Island opened and named John O. Linde Community Park

9. Flights to Victoria, BC  It took a lot of work with multiple agencies, but agreement was reached to create direct clearance of international flights from Victoria, B.C. to Friday Harbor. 

10. Bear vacations on Orcas Island. A black bear, thought to be from Lummi Island, spent a month on Orcas Island before being captured and moved to a more compatible habitat in the Cascade Mountains.


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