Home Inspections and Their Role in the Real Estate Transaction

If you are a buyer or seller, I bet you thought just getting under contract was stressful for all parties but in reality, the home inspection and/or feasibility response and associated negotiations are often the more stressful event. Allowing a buyer to have a home inspection and hopefully a concurrent feasibility study is a very necessary part of the transaction.


Ahrenius: It's been a joy to serve the islands

Letter to the Editor,

Since Benjamin Jensen came to San Juan Island in the mid 1880’s, the Jensen’s have been involved in the marine industry. The first boats were built for transporting goods and people. Then the commercial fish boats and finally the pleasure boats. From sail, to steam, to diesel and gas, oh, the changes we’ve seen. From Benjamin, to Albert and his brothers, Pete, Frank and Joe, then to Nourdine, what a legacy they have made. The last boat was built in 1984 and since then we’ve been concentrating on maintenance and repair, moorage and storage.


Horoscopes by Triana May 14-20: New Moon in Taurus, Venus Moves into Cancer, Mars Goes to Aquarius and Uranus Moves to Taurus…What a Week!

I’m going to start with Uranus moving to Taurus because this is the astrological headline for astrologers as well as followers of horoscopes. Uranus is the planet governing generations; whatever sign Uranus is in when we are born and where it appears in our birth chart signals our generational focus when we come of age. Since this mighty planet has an 84 year cycle, it will stay in one sign for years and produce world altering events. Its function in our individual charts depends on what inner planets form an alignment to it, since Uranus is not a personal planet because of its distance. We see his work around us, in our communities and in the world.


Horoscopes by Triana May 21-27, 2018 Sun in Gemini, Trines Mars in Aquarius. Venus, Jupiter and Neptune Form Grand Trine in Water Signs

  This week it’s air and water (thinking, feeling) governing the Heavens. The Sun makes his sojourn through Gemini and ushers us toward the Summer Solstice next month. Mars is happily causing chaos in Aquarius; this is why stuff is breaking, people are dropping their phones, electronics are all catty-whompus. It’s almost like a retrograde Mercury but not quite. Mars likes to rush things and Aquarius is the sign of innovation; this may have the influence of not really paying attention where our gadgets are and stomping on them, dropping them in the toilet, experiencing crashes and all the fun we get with electronic devices that now rule our lives. One good thing is the Sun and Mars are getting along beautifully so anything we have to think about or consider or remember is easier than normal and with more clarity.


Sky Gazing for May 2018 from the Robert Ferguson Observatory

Greetings from RFO (www.rfo.org),  May is a somewhat "quiet" month this year except for the opposition of the always awesome Jupiter, now at its full glory. Venus is bright and prominent in the west. Mars and Saturn are growing more prominent in the morning skies with Mars starting to rise before midnight this month. The moon has nice pairings with most of these planets and also occults a couple of bright stars.


We’re Not Alone…and Neither Are Larval Sea Urchins

In the words of Carl Sagan, “The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, it seems like an awful waste of space.” That’s just it, it’s not ‘just us’ and we’re not alone. By this, I mean that each of us and all other animals and plants inhabiting our pale blue dot in the vast cosmic soup of this Universe is inhabited by upwards of trillions of microbes. In fact, some say that we’re just “animals in a bacterial world” (McFall-Ngai et al. 2013). Alas, don’t fear these microbes – that we have categorized into the bacteria, viruses, Archaea, and fungi, and form communities called a ‘microbiome’ – because many are beneficial!


Spotlight on Volunteers

Our country celebrates National Volunteer Week April 15-21, and all month long in some places. The San Juan Island Library celebrated its 112 volunteers with a party just for them on Monday, April 15.

Throughout the year, Library volunteers donate the equivalent of another 1.5 full time staff members at the Library. Library volunteers support your ability to check out books and movies, from getting new materials ready with library markings and book covers, to repairing damaged materials to circulate again. Some of the most visible volunteers donate hundreds of hours to checking materials in and returning them to their correct places on the shelves. Volunteers also help tutor English and help people with technology problems on their phones, tablets and computers. The Art Committee makes the Library look good showcasing the community’s art. Friends of the Library volunteers run a variety of fundraising activities to expand the reach of the Library, including the Treasure Cove store at the Library entrance and book sales. Our Board of Trustees oversee Library policy, and set the budget. We are so grateful for all the time, energy, and impact of the people who volunteer for the Library.

But the Library is just one of dozens of community organizations reaping the benefits of volunteer time. I polled a few groups and found out that our San Juan Island Fire District 3 reports four times more volunteer hours than the Library. Those volunteers aren’t all firefighters rushing into burning buildings; other volunteers work on logistics, as part of the major emergency response team, or as Firewise specialists, working to prevent the spread of fire by making neighborhoods more fire resistant.

Forty volunteers for the Family Resource Center gave approximately 3000 hours; Mullis Community Senior Center volunteers averaged two and a half weeks of full time work per volunteer last year where Fire District 3 volunteers averaged almost four weeks of full time work over the course of the year as their work requires ongoing training time. The Friday Harbor Film Festival reported the largest number of individual volunteers (124), who donated slightly more hours than the 20 volunteers helping Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Volunteers working with Animal Protection Society are seeing this year that keeping track of their time is another responsibility, and documenting volunteer time can strengthen an organization by demonstrating community involvement.

Whether volunteering on a regular basis or just for an event, volunteers make so many organizations in our community strong. If the eight organizations who responded to my poll had to pay for all the time they received—the equivalent of fifteen staff members—and if they were paid just $15 per hour it would cost $497,000 or more each year. My guess is that volunteers on San Juan Island contribute closer to ten million dollars annually, including the volunteers from the SJI Community Theatre, Grange, PeaceIsland Hospital, EMS, PTA, public and private school volunteers, the American Legion, Master Gardeners, service groups and numerous other organizations.

If you are reading this and you volunteer, thank you. If not, perhaps you might consider donating a few of your valuable hours. In addition to saving organizations money, volunteers receive the rewards of feeling good about their work and themselves, feeling like they make a difference, hearing “hello” and “thank you” as often as they show up, meeting new people, and being part of something bigger than themselves. It’s worth it!

Beth Helstien

Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator, San Juan Island Library


Horoscopes by Triana April 16-22, 2018 - Mercury Now Direct in Aries, Chiron Moves to Aries on Tuesday, Sun Moves to Taurus on Friday

We have some big stuff coming up! Now that Mercury is direct and things are righting themselves, we see Chiron (the Wounded Healer) changing signs on Tuesday. Chiron is an asteroid/planetoid that has gained importance in astrology over the past four decades or so due to its tangible influence in charts. Chiron was a centaur in mythology. He was immortal as a demigod and took a hit with a poisoned arrow during a battle. Not able to die but forever lame, he is said to have retreated into a cave and taught future heroes such as Achilles.