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Articles from the April 17, 2024 edition


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  • Cyberattack probe shuts down casino

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    The Swinomish Casino & Lodge has had a run of bad luck lately. Having braced for a busy April and heavy traffic volumes from the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, the gaming center and dining venue 8 miles north of La Conner has been closed since April 6 while an unspecified cybersecurity incident is investigated. Cyberattacks are usually aimed at accessing, changing or destroying sensitive information. They can also involve extortion via ransomware or interruptions in normal business procedures. Internet service at the Swinomish property...

  • A view of the Skagit River with Mount Baker in the background

    New agreement with Skagit PUD will let farmers irrigate all summer

    Anne Basye|Apr 17, 2024

    With the snowpack at 69% of normal and spring precipitation uncertain, local farmers have one piece of good news: if a drought develops, they can count on water from the Skagit Public Utility District. On April 9 the PUD approved a one-year interlocal, seasonal transfer for surplus water rights from the PUD to Skagit County Drainage and Irrigation Improvement Districts 15, which supplies water for 8,500 acres on the flats east of Best Road and Consolidated Diking Improvement District 22, which...

  • Workers pick daffodils

    Winter snowpack low as spring starts to heat up

    Ken Stern|Apr 17, 2024

    At winter's end, the North Puget Sound basin snowpack is 56% of median, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service states in its April 1 Washington Water Supply Outlook Report. This is lower than the March 1 basin snowpack measurement of 60% of median. Peak snow accumulation has passed or is near for all major basins in Washington, the report states. Snow drought conditions, even severe, is the status in the Puget Sound Basin, Olympic Peninsula, portions of the Lower Yakima and across much of n...

  • Puffy white clouds and a blue sky over the La Conner Marina

    Little rain fell in March; fourth driest since 2000

    Ken Stern|Apr 17, 2024

    Remember the inch of rain in eight days at March's end? That was one-half the month's total, not enough, as the 2 inches was one-third below March' century average of 3 inches. It was the first month since November rainfall was below century averages. Only six of the 15 days of measurable precipitation were over 0.1 inch. This was the fourth driest March this century. Three have been since 2019. All four had 2 inches or less of rain. The last decade rain has been below the century's average. Of...

  • Give your input to school board on new superintendent

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    La Conner School Board members want input on what approach should be taken as they seek a successor to Superintendent Will Nelson, who is stepping down after three years. Nelson announced earlier this month that he will be leaving June 30 to accept a teaching post at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The board’s superintendent search process began Monday when school staff participated in the first of two listening sessions designed to discuss filling the pending vacancy. The second session, targeting community participation, is at 7...

  • First-quarter town tax revenue lags

    Ken Stern|Apr 17, 2024

    La Conner Town Council members and residents attending the April 9 meeting heard the down news: March's sales tax revenues are 15% below 2023. Year to date, sales tax revenue is down 15%, $124,353, from $146,681. All tourist-driven tax revenues are lower and considerably below projections, as reported to the town council in March by the state's Department of Revenue. The $33,930 collected in sales tax was 15.6% below 2023. The $3,382 for the fire department tax was 13.8% below last year and the...

  • Three housing complexes awarded $1.6M

    Ken Stern|Apr 17, 2024

    The Channel Cove complex, managed by Home Trust of Skagit County, will have $336,144 in Washington state Department of Commerce Housing Preservation Program funding. Statewide, 31 low-income housing complexes were awarded $19.9 million Commerce posted on its website. Repairs will be made to 18 apartments at Channel Cove rented to people making 50% or less of the area median income. In Skagit County, $1.6 million is being invested to upgrade 113 units in three complexes. Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington was awarded $667,010 for...

  • After winter windstorm training success, FD 13 eyes wildfire exercise

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    A recent training exercise was so well-received that Skagit County Fire District 13 officials are considering another such drill in the La Conner area later this year. The March 30 windstorm scenario was so successful that the local fire district, which serves rural La Conner and the Swinomish Reservation, may stage a wildland fire training event during the peak of dry summer conditions here. “I suggest we have a similar drill for a wildland fire on the reservation,” Capt. Ted Taylor told fire district commissioners during their meeting at the...

  • Sales tax added to benefit streets, sidewalks

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    Town council members last week paved the way to pay for future work on La Conner’s streets, sidewalks and trails. The panel during its April 9 public meeting unanimously approved a 0.1% sales tax to fund the town’s new Transportation Benefit District. The council action is tentatively set to take effect July 1. Council members opted for the sales tax rather than an increase in local vehicle license fees to provide revenue for the TBD. Town Administrator Scott Thomas said the sales tax will be paid in part by those who drive to La Conner to sho...

  • Swinomish plan Earth Day activities

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    Earth Day is a global event that encourages people to act locally. And those activities don’t have to be limited to April 22, the 54th anniversary of the day universally recognized as the start of the modern environmental movement. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is a prime example. On April 25, Earth Day initiatives start at 8 a.m., including a plant project at John K. Bob Ball Park, fish net recycling by the web shed off Moorage Way, tidying up at the rain garden and a general clean-up at Swedebs Park. There will also be a noon potluck...

  • 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...

  • Return leftover medicines to Swinomish PD

    Apr 17, 2024

    The public can bring leftover or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs to the Swinomish Police Department for disposal 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 27. Liquids up to four ounces in their original containers are accepted. The Swinomish Police Department is located at 17353 Reservation Road. There are three other drop-off locations in Anacortes, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. Free Naloxone, also known as Narcan, will be available. Do not bring intravenous solutions, injectables, inhalers, syringes, chemotherapy medications, medical waste,...

  • County commissioners to meet in Anacortes

    Apr 17, 2024

    Skagit County will host a community meeting open to all in Anacortes Monday, April 22, 5-7 p.m. at the Anacortes Senior Activity Center 1701 22nd St.. The county commissioners and representatives from Planning and Development Services, Public Health, Public Works, the Department of Emergency Management, Facilities Management and the Sheriff’s Office will respond to community questions. Information: 360 416-1300; [email protected]. Source: Skagit County...

  • State Parks offer free admission on April 22

    Apr 17, 2024

    In honor of Earth Day, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is offering a free day at all state parks Monday, April 22. Visitors will not need to display a Discover Pass for day-use visits. The next free day is June 8, for National Get Outdoors Day, another of the 12 free days annually. State legislation creating the Discover Pass allows State Parks up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required. Source: Washington State Parks...

  • Town offers Jensen property looks

    Apr 17, 2024

    The Town of La Conner will show residents the Jensen property at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 18. Meet at the Channel Cove south end parking lot. A community mingle “regarding uses” of the Jensen property will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Civic Garden Club on South Second Street....

  • Tell Rick Larsen no to Israeli aid

    Apr 17, 2024

    Earth Day is Monday, April 22. This is not an Earth Day editorial and not because the almost holiday atmosphere and platitudes reverently uttered by politicians and corporate heads have hijacked the original intent. It is the same with Mother’s Day, which started after the Civil War. In 1870 Julia Ward Howe called for a “Mother’s Day for Peace” dedicated to the celebration of peace and the eradication of war. Howe hoped mothers could prevent the cruelty of war and the waste of life since mothers alone bear and know the cost. That is from al... Full story

  • Hypermilers are champs at saving gas

    Greg Whiting|Apr 17, 2024

    A few years ago I was managing an experiment aimed at determining whether it was practical to power cars with hydrogen, instead of gasoline. Most of the cars were small gasoline-engine SUVs which had been modified to burn hydrogen. Hydrogen, at automotive operating temperatures, is a gas that must be compressed and stored in high-pressure tanks. The tanks are made of carbon fiber. They look a lot like very large scuba tanks. A hydrogen storage system small enough to store aboard a car can only...

  • News and media literacy: Are you informed or influenced?

    Apr 17, 2024

    Do you know fact from propaganda when see or hear it? Learn more at the April 29 forum “News & Media Literacy: Informed or Influenced?” The League of Women Voters of Skagit County offers its second program in their series of voter education, part of their ongoing commitment to community engagement and understanding of key electoral issues. Speakers are Andrew Paxton, Skagit Valley Herald executive editor and Skagit Valley College librarians Elena Bianco and Libby Sullivan. Join them Monday, April 29, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Public Utility Dis...

  • A boy runs the hurdles.

    Braves outperform big schools in Skagit Showdown

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    First Street isn't the only place in town with parking issues. The Whittaker Field parking lot on N. Sixth Street was jammed with vehicles April 10 when La Conner hosted the annual Skagit Showdown Track & Field Meet, drawing teams and fans from 2A Burlington-Edison and Sedro-Woolley and 1B Mount Vernon Christian. Some visitors thought their only parking option was inside an open gate leading to the school bus garage. One driver even parked in front of the gate, briefly causing heartburn for La...

  • A girl lands the triple jump in the sand

    Murdock sweeps hurdles, Jenkins 2nd in 200 dash

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    No rest for the weary. That age-old mantra applied to the La Conner High School track teams last week. Just three days after hosting the much-anticipated Skagit Showdown, La Conner thinclads competed at the 24-team Cashmere Invitational April 13, where senior Tommy Murdock swept the boys' hurdles events and eighth grader Kiana Jenkins placed second in the girls' 200-meter dash. Murdock captured the 110s in 15.00 and 300s in 40.23 to pace the Braves, who finished eighth on the leaderboard. The...

  • Braves' ball teams have a bumpy road trip

    Bill Reynolds|Apr 17, 2024

    Travel wasn’t kind to the La Conner High School baseball and softball teams last week. The Braves suffered a pair of heartbreaking one-run extra-inning losses while the young Lady Braves were dealt double-digit setbacks during visits to Coupeville and Friday Harbor. The Braves were edged 9-8 at Coupeville last Thursday and 5-4 at Friday Harbor Saturday. Each NW2B/1B league contest was decided in the bottom of the eighth inning as when La Conner dropped a 13-12 verdict at 1A Sultan on April 2. “It’s hard to believe we’ve lost three straigh...

  • Museum sale at Skagit City School this weekend

    Anne Basye|Apr 17, 2024

    The Skagit Historical Museum's annual Sale at the School runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, April 19-21 at the Skagit City School, 17508 Moore Road on Fir Island. Museum Director Jo Wolfe is excited about this year's sale pieces. The vintage treasures and collectibles include a room of tools, model cars and costume jewelry and other items from the estate of Daralene Youngquist, who died last summer at the age of 99. "Year after year, people save their lovely items for this sale," said Wolfe....

  • What's in your potting soil?

    Bruce Lindsay, WSU Extension Master Gardener|Apr 17, 2024

    Local gardening stores offer a multitude of soil mix choices this time of year. This overview of the attributes of soil and how to amend commercially produced potting soils will increase the success of your container and raised bed plantings. This article is posted on the Ask a Master Gardener Blog and provides a comprehensive explanation and strategies for improving commercially produced soil. All soil primarily consists of sand, silt and clay mineral particles. Sand is visible to the naked eye. Clay is the size of bacteria. In a natural...

  • Sheriff's Blotter

    Apr 17, 2024

    Sunday, April 7 11:36 a.m.: Not what it seems – Subject driving on Maple Avenue lost control of her car and hit the sign for the dental office. The sign was knocked over but the suspect fled the scene and was later located at her residence. The driver was cited for suspended driving and hit and run. La Conner. 11:55 a.m.: Animal last rites – Caller asked about an injured deer on the side of the road. A deputy arrived and found the deer was now deceased. A note was left for public works to remove. Best Road at Summers Drive, greater La Con...

  • Dried banana chips

    Dehydrated bananas

    Patricia Aqiimuk Paul Esq.|Apr 17, 2024

    We got bananas! Lots of bananas! Sometimes organic bananas. Ripe bananas. Overripe bananas. Replenish the banana bowl every week. Eat bananas for health. Once, on my travels to Brazil, I bought a bunch of bananas from a man selling them on a sidewalk in the very large city of Manaus. These bananas were slightly green and, at the same time, a bit black. They differed in size from the ones we buy at our supermarkets, being smaller and yet plump. The seller was so excited to get 25 centavos (worth...

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