La Conner Weekly News - Your independent hometown award-winning newspaper

Articles written by Ken Stern

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 By Ken Stern    News    March 15, 2023

BREAKING: BNSF train derails behind Swinomish casino

Update, March 17 at bottom SWINOMISH RESERVATION — Early the morning of March 16, before 1 a.m., the two locomotives of a BNSF train heading east from an Anacortes oil refinery derailed along the... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    March 22, 2023 

Sued again: 5 Shelter Bay board members

The officers of the Shelter Bay Community board of directors are called back to Skagit County Superior Court March 31 on a civil complaint that accuses them of breach of fiduciary duty. It alleges malfeasance and failure in their actions and conduct...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 22, 2023 

BNSF locomotive derailed early Thursday morning behind Swinomish casino

SWINOMISH RESERVATION -The "active cleanup of the diesel spill caused by the early Thursday morning derailment of two BNSF locomotives" was ending early Saturday afternoon, Bill Dunbar, U.S. EPA...

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    March 22, 2023 

When banks and trains crash

Seems like banks and railroads are failing all around us. No one is really surprised, from corporate CEOs to congressional committees and Congress, period, to front line workers driving engines and managing branches or federal and state regulators at...

 By Ken Stern    A & E    March 22, 2023 

'Addams Family' reunion fills the Lincoln

As every husband and father knows, there are “Two Things,” no “Three Things” he must not do: “say no to his wife and no to his daughter, or tell the truth.” As life becomes more complex for Gomez Addams, he considers “Four Things...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 15, 2023

Record February Town sales tax revenues

Between gift giving generosity and tourists wanting to get out of their hometowns, La Conner registers jingled merrily in December. Town of La Conner sales tax revenue reported in February was a record $63,103, $ 6,556 and 11.6% above 2022’s...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 15, 2023

Climate resilience needed in the Skagit

Maybe the 50 or so people attending the Climate Resilience conversation Sunday at the Anacortes Senior Center did not provide $7,500 worth of advice for changing the trajectory Skagit County residents – and everyone – are facing as the climate ch...

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    March 15, 2023

Welcome to year 4 of COVID-19

What is the difference between last week and this week? Answer: Last week everyone was at the end of the third year of the coronavirus pandemic. This week we all step into, no not its fourth year but the first year of what the World Health...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 15, 2023

Limedock apartments application filed

Peter Anderson, owner of the Limedock building, 109 North First Street in La Conner, has filed a permit application with the town planning department to create two residential apartments by remodeling the second floor office space. Two gabled...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 15, 2023

Skagit County housing market prices have cooled this year

Anacortes sold home prices are the highest by far of Skagit County markets this year, at $832,000 for the median price for the 24 homes that closed in January and February. February’s Anacortes market was even hotter, with a median sold home price...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 8, 2023

BREAKING: Limedock building apartments application filed

Peter Anderson, owner of the Limedock building, 109 North First Street in La Conner, has filed a permit application with the Town of La Conner planning department to create two residential apartments... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    March 8, 2023

February's cold was again below normal

Yes, February was cold, with nine nights of frost, four in a row Feb. 22-25, where the month’s low of 20.4 degrees Feb. 24 fell. That day the average temperature was 27.1 degree. February’s daily average temperature was 39.6 degrees, 1.6 degrees...

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    March 8, 2023

School daze coming again

Ouch. Ouch everywhere, for everybody. New La Conner Schools Deputy Superintendent of Finance Dave Cram's initial assessment is that 490 students will enroll in the school district next fall. That is down 35 kids from today and 100 from 2021. It is... Full story

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    March 1, 2023

March invitations: Say yes

With March's arrival are a flurry of activities, not late winter snow but opportunities to join together in fun and games, literally, and, in one instance, to change, literally. There are also very real storm clouds hanging over Shelter Bay. The mont...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 1, 2023

Salmon recovery is underfunded

The status of salmon in Washington state is not good and will not improve markedly without a substantial, sustained increase in funding, Gov. Jay Inslee’s Salmon Recovery Office State of Salmon in Watersheds report summarizes. The status:...

 By Ken Stern    News    March 1, 2023

January Town tax receipts good

La Conner’s tourist economy slowed a bit last fall, but not much, as the January tax revenue reports to the town council show. The Town of La Conner’s sales tax revenue of $43,391 is $1,830 higher than 2022’s total and the second highest ever f...

 By Ken Stern    Community    March 1, 2023

Spokane's 1910 free speech battles

Jess Walter is in Whatcom County March 2-4 for five events for 2023’s “Whatcom Reads,” including a tips and suggestions session on writing. His 7 p.m. March 3 reading at the Mount Baker Theatre is free, but tickets are required. Information:... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    February 22, 2023

Shelter Bay board sanctions fellow board members

Shelter Bay Community board of directors Judy Kontos and Dan McCaughan were sanctioned by their board Feb. 15 based on findings of an ethics committee appointed by the board. Kontos and McCaughan were provided “Board Sanction” memorandums by...

 By Ken Stern    A & E    February 22, 2023

Love is more than just a kissing fancy

UPDATE: The show will go on. Get tickets and go see "Prelude" this last week of its run, March 3-5. That old story line: "Boy meets girl." Then: Girl falls for boy. Boy falls for girl. They marry.... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    February 22, 2023

La Conner Marina moorage rates up

Boaters mooring their vessels at the La Conner Marina will pay more this year. At its Feb. 14 meeting Port of Skagit commissioners approved an 8% rate increase for all moorage slips. Harbormaster Chris Omdal had briefed commissioners the week...

 By Ken Stern    News    February 15, 2023

Center Street condos are a go

CORRECTION: The Feb. 15 version of this story incorrectly reported that the 1986 La Conner Town Council took legislative action in passing an ordinance and later made a legislative amendment to the Town's Comprehensive Plan in paragraph 4. The story...

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    February 15, 2023

Keep public records public

Dear fellow citizens. Help, please, by paying attention to your state government and taking a stand to keep public records public, available to you – and to the journalists and activists. Tell your legislators and Attorney General Bob Ferguson... Full story

 By Ken Stern    Opinion    February 15, 2023

Musings – on the editor's mind

What is more American than farmers on their farms? They were the first colonizers, clearing the land, putting down roots, both literal and figurative, forging the future out of the sweat of their brow, the force of their will and the strength of thei... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    February 8, 2023

UPDATE/CORRECTION Billboard at Conway I-5 exit proposed

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: Skagit County Planning & Development Services updated its “notice of development application with optional SEPA DNS” for Pacific Outdoor Advertising erecting a sign at the I-5 Conway intersection Feb. 7. The notice now... Full story

 By Ken Stern    News    February 8, 2023

January was cloudy and damp

January was cloudy and felt damp, but it was not wet. The 1.7 inches of rain was only 43% of the century's average for the month and 2.3 inches below the 4.0 average inches of January rain since 2000. It clusters with the other years of less than...


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