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Articles written by Judy Booth


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  • La Conner Methodists lose pastor, but the town will keep her

    Judy Booth|Jun 19, 2024

    "I love La Conner; I love the church and I love the people." La Conner United Methodist Church Pastor Marcella Baker repeated that phrase often in an interview Saturday. Her parishioners also repeatedly commented on her great love and her great faith. "We are extremely happy for her getting ready for retirement; but very sad for our part because she is a fabulous woman and has incredible faith," said parishioner Anita Mesman. Bill Taylor, a member for nine years said, "She is spot on – the e...

  • Ode to crab

    Judy Booth|Jun 12, 2024

    How do you eat your crab? Store-bought crab-leg crackers and picks or just your teeth and jaws with a dactyl ripped from the end of a crab leg? Do you crack open the crab, dig out the meat and place it in your mouth, fingers dripping with butter and garlic, or do you make a pile of meat and then eat it all at once with a fork? Are newspapers strewn all over the dining room table to catch the mess a tradition in your family? Do you buy it cooked, cleaned and ready to go or do you toss a crab...

  • Native Americans carry offerings for the First Salmon ceremony

    We bless this fleet

    Judy Booth|May 22, 2024

    Five-year old Drea Edwards-Gould hugged her Auntie Melinda tight as the Swinomish Fish and Game Enforcement boat pulled out of the docks and propelled in one of the four directions to make an offering to the sea for a safe fishing season – the annual Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Ceremony of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. Sgt. Shaun Beasley navigated Skagit Bay at 24 knots with the precious cargo of a king salmon dressed in crab, clams, mussels, blackberries and blueberries o...

  • Two musicians stand behind four guitars

    Guitar Festival fills La Conner with music

    Judy Booth|May 22, 2024

    A couple thousand artisans, luthiers, musicians and wood millers from as far away as Italy and Spain, landed here last weekend for the sixth annual La Conner Guitar Festival to see, listen to and play the handcrafted and carefully sourced guitars and mandolins. Most prices ranged from $8,000 to $26,000. "I make high-end rectangles!" said walnut-wood lover Felly Smith. His stack of walnut and red cedar, milled to the size of the neck and body shape of a guitar, begged for a luthier. Before...

  • Shelter Bay board loses its treasurer

    Judy Booth|Apr 24, 2024

    Jan Paul, Shelter Bay board of directors treasurer since July 2023, announced her resignation in a way that was as surprising as it was low key at the end of the monthly board meeting last Wednesday, April 17, at the organization’s clubhouse. Without naming individuals, she cited a pattern of problems, including being disrespected and untrusted, saying, “Unfortunately, during my time as a board member, I feel that I have been only a ‘placeholder’ with no ability to function as a board member should. It has become increasingly apparent over th...

  • Langley's team approach tackles tourism

    Judy Booth|Apr 17, 2024

    “The Langley Chamber of Commerce is supported through grants that are specific to tourism,” notes Nicole Whittington-Johnson, the Chamber’s executive director. Additionally, there is Langley Creates, a state-designated creative district, part of a Washington state program that helps communities turn their cultural and historical assets into economic growth, a non-profit created by the Langley Chamber of Commerce. Plus, there is the Langley Main Street Association championing the downtown’s economic revitalization and historic preservation. “The...

  • Langley faces challenges similar to … La Conner

    Ken Stern and Judy Booth|Apr 10, 2024

    A woman is elected the new mayor of a small town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in November 2023. “I think Langley is a very sweet, quaint town. It is not homogenous. (That’s) my experience,” Mayor Kennedy Horstman told the Weekly News in a joint interview with Director of Community Planning Meredith Penny March 21. The city’s residents “are very different people passionate about a lot of things. They are not all in agreement. … We are all one community but there is a lot of diversity on views of the future,” Horstman believes. Langley, a ci...

  • A dump truck and bucket excavator are parked on a street amid construction

    Multitude of delays snag Snapdragon Flats development

    Judy Booth|Apr 3, 2024

    A complex building project requiring the necessary permits from two separate permitting entities, a geology study, weather and possible staffing shortages – to say nothing of carving out a rock wall – has contributed to the slow progress of the Snapdragon Flats project at Maple Avenue and Park Street in La Conner. This is not the development of La Conner Heights on High Street, rather it is the start of construction for two apartment triplexes at the base of the rock outcropping. On Feb. 1, 202...

  • A woman stands outside the Saratoga Inn

    Saratoga Inn: Great service, great rooms, great views

    Judy Booth|Apr 3, 2024

    A dreamy, bluesy Frank Sinatra crooned the air at the 5-star Saratoga Inn in Langley as I entered the dining area for the complimentary breakfast last week. And after that, an Amy Winehouse song. Just another sweet touch to the Inn's island hospitality. Classy. A scrumptious coffee cake, laden with cinnamon and sugar, served with orange juice was the first course. Followed by a Mediterranean Strada made from sourdough bread, eggs, peppers, olives and feta cheese with a side of fresh fruit, it...

  • Anacortes event center plans progressing

    Judy Booth|Mar 27, 2024

    The Anacortes City Council and the Port of Anacortes commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the Port’s executive director to enter into an interlocal agreement regarding the conceptual design of an event center at the corner of Ninth Street and R Avenue at a joint meeting at Anacortes City Hall Monday evening. The Port has been discussing a future event center for Anacortes since 2016. In 2021, it announced it would close the Transit Shed as an event center and its permanent return to maritime industrial use after 2023. It closed Dec. 3...

  • Three people walk dogs on sidewalk

    It's a very breezy Pet Parade

    Judy Booth|Mar 13, 2024

    A cold wind ripped up the Swinomish Channel, swirled around Gilkey Square on Saturday and undid plans for the La Conner Pet Parade's red-carpet walk. Still, around 50 registrants and a small crowd of intrepid pet lovers, their pets all dolled-up for photo ops, shivered down First Street from the La Conner Marina to Gilkey Square, up to Maple Hall and back to the square for judging. Mayor Marna Hanneman was on hand and the La Conner Chamber of Commerce "made a showing." Cameras were clicking,...

  • Theater review: Theater Arts Guild delivers in 'Mary Poppins Jr.'

    Judy Booth|Mar 13, 2024

    TAG did it again! Skagit County’s own Theater Arts Guild musical production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” is full of happy and talented kids on stage and in the audience. It was uplifting, rambunctious and joyful last Saturday night. All 40 performers and crew were 18 years old or under. What a tribute to TAG for creating great opportunities for young talent. We are first invited into the dysfunctional Banks family home in 1910 London by Bert, a jack-of-all-trades, played by 15-year-old Helaina Madden. Helaina’s first local performance at age 8 was a...

  • Get dolled up for Daffodil Pet Parade

    Judy Booth|Mar 6, 2024

    “I blackmail people now! You gotta show up [for the pet parade] – or you don’t come into my shop!” joked Gina McCarthy, owner of Enchanted Locks and volunteer coordinator for the La Conner Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Daffodil Pet Parade scheduled for Saturday, March 9. “This is the Daffodil Festival – but each year nothing happens – so this year we are having this [the pet parade,] then the firemen’s ball and then the Murder Mystery event – all part of the festival,” said McCarthy. “It’s the perfect opportunity to get the community toge...

  • Theater review: March yourself over for a jubilant 'Music Man'

    Judy Booth|Feb 28, 2024

    The rousing performance of “The Music Man” at McIntyre Hall Saturday night trumpeted the talents of Diane Johnson, the production’s music director and music department chair at Skagit Valley College. From “76 Trombones” to “Till There was You” – popularized by The Beatles – Johnson, with only her white hair and conductor’s baton visible above the blue-curtained orchestral pit – magically led the packed house into believing the cast of 40-plus actors on stage were actually playing the trombones and trumpets they were dancing with and not...

  • An elderly man dances with his middle-aged adult daughter

    Let's dance, shall we?

    Judy Booth|Feb 21, 2024

    Salsa, waltz, swing, cha-cha – take your pick. The La Conner Retirement Inn was hopping on Valentine’s Day to ballroom dance. The most romantic day of the year – Valentine’s Day – is celebrated at the Inn most every year – viruses allowing. Taylor Winningham demonstrated the dances with local dance student Charlotte Decker accompanied by champagne, strawberries and chocolate. Over 30 residents sipped, tapped their feet and got up on the floor to swing and cha-cha. “One of the reasons I lik...

  • Come and hear journalist Tim Egan talk libraries, politics at Lincoln Theatre

    Judy Booth|Feb 21, 2024

    Feisty National Book Award winner Timothy Egan writes about some of the most pressing issues of American life. He speaks at the Lincoln Theatre March 2 to raise funds for the new Mount Vernon library. Egan, a Pacific Northwest native, New York Times correspondent and best-selling author, will share his views on the importance of libraries. In an email last week, Egan responded, "Importance of libraries? Where do I start? They're gateways to citizenship for thousands of people learning about our...

  • Anacortes plans events center to replace Port's Transit Shed

    Judy Booth|Feb 21, 2024

    The closure of the Transit Shed by the Port of Anacortes at the end of 2023 left this event-centered, artistic, music loving, car-show stopping town without a large-scale program venue. Anacortes City Councilmembers Ryan Walters, Christine Cleland-McGrath and Bruce McDougall proposed building a new event center at R Avenue and Ninth Street south of the dog park in a Feb 3 memorandum to the city council, mayor, city staff and Port of Anacortes commissioners. “We envision building a marine/industrial aesthetic, potentially similar to the C...

  • La Conner opens Rowing and Paddling Club races

    Judy Booth|Feb 7, 2024

    Pink, yellow and white life vests bobbed through the gray waters of the Swinomish Channel as more than 100 people paddled kayaks, outrigger canoes, paddle boards and Hawaiian pontoon boats of equally diverse colors down the Swinomish Channel on Saturday. The three classes started at 9:45 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. The shriek of a bullhorn siren marked the beginning of each race beneath the Rainbow Bridge. Racers swept down the channel, past Goat Island, around the "1" mark (the green...

  • Image of Roseate spoonbill quilt.

    6th Annual Birds of Fiber exhibit

    Judy Booth|Jan 31, 2024

    A quick stroll – if climbing three flights of stairs is a stroll – to take in the newly opened "Birds of a Fiber" and then a treat by spending time viewing the other two exhibits at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum proved to be just magnificent Sunday. "Birds" opened to match this week's La Conner Birding Festival Feb. 3-4 in Maple Hall. The exhibit offers 64 pieces of exquisite fiber art celebrating the love we have for birds and art. Six years ago twenty-five local artists sho...

  • How beneficial are prescription drug programs?

    Judy Booth|Jan 31, 2024

    A litany of opaque dealings by pharmacy benefit managers was emphasized in last week's article ("Small drugstores, high drug prices," Jan. 24 Weekly News). To recap, PBMs are middlemen who negotiate with insurance companies as well as drug manufacturers to manage prescription sales and reimbursements from insurance companies to drug stores. PBMs develop formularies (drug lists) to negotiate contracts with manufacturers on what drugs they recommend – taking a sizeable kick-back for themselves – and tell drug stores what prices they can cha...

  • Small drugstores, high drug prices

    Judy Booth|Jan 24, 2024

    La Conner Drug Store is not the first small-town, family-owned drug store to go out of business in recent years. Rite Aid, hopefully the new home of former employees from La Conner Drug and Island Drug, is itself in bankruptcy. The conservative advocacy group Association of Mature American Citizens reports that 2,000 U.S. pharmacies closed between 2017 and 2020. Forbes wrote last September, "CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid were closing nearly 1,500 stores. Between 1980 and 2022 the number of...

  • 66 birds/3 degrees lecture

    Judy Booth|Jan 24, 2024

    Saturday's lecture at the Museum of Northwest Art capped off the three-month visual and sound exhibition, "Surge: Mapping Transition, Displacement and Agency in Times of Climate Change," with a disturbing look at the future of birds. "If birds aren't doing well, we aren't either." said John Bower. He had collaborated with artist Natalie Niblack for their talk, "Inside an Artist & Scientist Collaboration: '66 Birds/3 Degrees,'" as they worked together for her exhibit. They spoke before a full...

  • La Conner Drug closes Jan. 23

    Judy Booth|Jan 17, 2024

    La Conner Drug Store, established in 1877, was recognized as the oldest continuous-running drug store in Washington State by the Washington Board of Pharmacy in 2014 – sometimes under different ownership, but serving its communities without interruption. Fred Martin, a long-time La Conner resident and community activist, owned it for decades before he sold it to Aaron Syring, Pharm.D, in 2006. Now it is 2024 and Syring, founder of Island Drug, confirmed last week that both La Conner Drug and I...

  • 'Seussical the Musical' an extravaganza

    Judy Booth|Dec 6, 2023

    “Adults are obsolete children and the hell with them.” – Dr. Seuss “Seussical the Musical,” a whimsical, fantastical stage production based on the works of Dr. Seuss, is the most performed show in America. The local production at the Lincoln Theatre by NITE does not disappoint. It is an ambitious show to create but cast, crew and producers delivered. If it is NITE’s mission to give children a sense of confidence, they achieved their goal. The writers, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, transformed Dr. Seuss’s rhymes, his playful use of words...

  • Go off to see 'The Wizard of Oz'

    y Judy Booth|Nov 8, 2023

    BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! The opening night performance of “The Wizard of Oz” filled the Lincoln Theatre to capacity and the evening ended with a standing ovation. Since 1939 audiences have loved L. Frank Baum’s story of young Dorothy, a Kansas farm girl and her beloved dog, Toto (Sadie Housholder). At first entrance Toto nearly dove off the stage but was quickly rescued by Dorothy. With stage fright now conquered, Toto behaved as expected of any Hollywood talent. He trotted and cuddled through cackling witches, theatrical fog, a whimp...

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