Janet Thomas: Hanging Out and Hanging In

Recently, while on an evening walk with a friend, out of the blue she said, “I wish I could move to a place just like this was 40 years ago.” Her tone of voice was yearning. It was also a surprise because her life on San Juan Island appears nurturing, inspiring and secure. When I asked what she missed, her response was a non-verbal gesture of sadness and a few words, “It was community.” she said. “We all knew each other.” She then went on to talk about the fishing boats in the harbor, the salmon cannery, the farmers, and the intimacy of simple island life when community was more important than consumption.


Tide Bites: My Friday Harbor Labs Macfarlane Art Studio Fellowship

Every morning when I was at Friday Harbor Labs last Fall, I would rise with the birds before sunrise and walk from my Whiteley Center cottage through the chilly indigo dawn to turn on the fireplace in the Macfarlane Art Studio, a remodeled former carriage house. While I waited for the studio to warm up I would have my tea and breakfast in the dining hall while studying a bit of anatomy for an hour or so, and chat with some friendly oceanography students. Returning to the studio, I would turn on an audiobook to keep me company while I sat under full-spectrum desk lighting and worked on the focus of my residency: drawings of cute sea otters and watercolors of kelp forest seascapes.


Drath: Stop throwing banana peels on the roads

Dear Islanders,

Nobody, and I mean Nobody, has permission on this island to leave their banana peels on the road. I have just picked up yet another whole banana peel while walking between the fog line and the grass, along the road near our house. It was not there three hours ago.

I feel sure it was a cyclist, and I hope that person sees this letter. This gives an unfortunate name to the cyclists here who use the roads carefully and wisely.

Eileen Drath

Friday Harbor


Janet Thomas: Why Now, Vietnam?

On Saturday, May 26th, the Friday Harbor American Legion Post 163 will be open to the public for a special Memorial weekend visitors’ day event. And I’ll be there. No, I am not a veteran of Vietnam. But my life was profoundly affected by those who are. “War Never Ends” is the name of the local Vietnam Veterans exhibit at SJIMA—and it is true. War lives on, shaping lives and destroying them too.


Note to Self: Raise & Release


I find myself compelled to comment on the trending “college admissions scandal.” If you haven’t been following the saga, you may be shocked to learn (hold on to something to steady yourself) that wealthy parents often use their influence, fund endowments, pay for building construction and brazenly just bribe elite institutions to get their mediocre academic offspring admitted.


The Stand Up Men: Starting fund raising campaign

To the Editor:

Perhaps you’ve noticed us standing at the corner of the courthouse lawn every Friday from noon until one. Ten to 15 to 20 guys with a couple of banners and a couple of signs. We are the Stand Up Men and are united in supporting efforts to end domestic violence in our island communities. As such, we are part of an entity called Safe San Juans.

This month we are beginning a fund raising campaign that we think will have a positive effect on the islands for years to come. Our goal is to raise $45,000 to support sexual assault and domestic violence prevention education for our kids, their teachers and their parents. The goal behind this program is that students and adults will learn how to detect and correct unhealthy relationships and how to create and maintain healthy ones.

Is there a need for such a program? Don’t we live in paradise with few of the problems associated with the big cities? One interesting statistic is that our San Juan County Sheriff’s office reports domestic violence accounts for more than half of all the calls they receive. More than half! And nationwide statistics say that one out of three women and one out of six men will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

What can you do to help? Perhaps you could consider donating to help raise the $45,000 needed for this educational project. The Stand Up Men will be canvassing the business community and we also want to encourage individuals to check out the Safe San Juan website. At the website you’ll be able to see what Safe San Juans is all about and to find out more about Stand Up Men. And there are some cute yellow buttons there just in case you may care to make a donation.

Thank you for your consideration.


The Stand Up Men



Explanation for delayed posting of press releases from PA

There are three press releases from the San Juan County Prosecutor's office posted Sunday evening. The press releases were dated March 25, April 2 and April 5. They were sent to other members of the media but not to San Juan Islander. I had to file a Public Records Request to obtain them. My efforts to find out why San Juan Islander was removed from the media list have been unsuccessful.  


Stand Up Men: Raising $45K for SAFE San Juan

Stand Up Men chose April, Sexual Assault month, to launch a campaign to dramatically upgrade SAFE San Juans' in-school and community prevention education programs. SAFE’s mission is to make our community and youth free from sexual assault and domestic violence.

The Stand Up Men can be seen every Friday from 12 noon to 1 p.m. in front of San Juan County Courthouse. Matt Pranger photo