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Articles from the August 16, 2023 edition


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  • Canoe racing, basketball, games: Swinomish Days offers it all

    Bill Reynolds|Aug 16, 2023

    They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore. Unless, of course, you’re willing to race canoes on Swinomish Channel all day in the August heat, often doing so while pulling against the current. Canoe club members and elders braving the summer weather to watch the weekend races were treated Saturday to a free salmon luncheon prepared as part of the festive annual four-day Swinomish Days cultural celebration. “We did about 400 pounds of salmon,” Marty Cladoosby, part of the fish cooks c...

  • Drought could persist here until October

    Ken Stern and Kurt Batdorf|Aug 16, 2023

    The 0.06 inches of rain last week, 0.03 inches Aug. 7 and again Aug. 9, measured at Washington State University’s Memorial Highway Mount Vernon station, was not drought-breaking ­precipitation. Far from it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture national crop and livestock map shows all of Skagit County in drought for agriculture. The drought area is based on U.S. Drought Monitor data. And the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook by the National Weather Service shows the drought persisting through October. According to Washington State University’s WSU...

  • Town sales taxes hit record in July

    Ken Stern|Aug 16, 2023

    Better weather in May is probably why tourists again made La Conner their destination. The $55,179 collected in sales tax revenue is the first record high collection for its month in 2023, topping July 2022 by 2.3%. The state’s Department of Resources reports on a two month lag. The special use fire tax barely reached its record, $29 over the July 2022 report, at $5,393, tracking sales taxes, as it does. Most healthy, as it has been all year, was the hotel motel tax revenue, at $16,442, another record, 9% above July 2022. The $9,874 in REET (...

  • A red chalk heart surrounds the word CO-OP on a sidewalk

    Skagit Valley Food Co-op members share the love of 50 years

    Ken Stern|Aug 16, 2023

    More than 500 people crowded Mount Vernon's Riverwalk Plaza last Wednesday, Aug. 9 in response to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op invitation to its 13,000 members and the general public to celebrate its 50th anniversary. There was food, of course, as staff served up bounty from their kitchen and deli, ending with cake and ice cream. The line to their food booth stretched out 30-people long for three hours, until by 7 p.m. the last of cantaloupe and watermelon was lonely in their trays....

  • Council keeps focus on king tide flood readiness

    Bill Reynolds|Aug 16, 2023

    Town officials remain focused on mitigation of flood conditions ahead of king tide season in the fall. La Conner Town Council members last week endorsed recommendations proposed by Public Works Director Brian Lease for immediate short-term saltwater flood protection remedies along the town’s waterfront. Lease had earlier shared with the emergency management commission a priority purchase list for materials and equipment – ecology blocks, sandbags, a sandbagging machine and forklift. “I’d like to have sandbags filled and on pallets by Oct. 1,...

  • Skagit Bay Rescue, Fire District 13 may align

    Bill Reynolds|Aug 16, 2023

    Gary Ladd was bare headed on Thursday, though figuratively he was wearing two hats that morning. A Skagit County Fire District 13 officer, he also serves as an officer of Skagit Bay Search & Rescue – and he spoke for the latter during the fire district’s monthly commissioners meeting at the Snee Oosh Road station. The SBSR leadership proposed to Commissioners Bruce Shellhamer, John Doyle and J.J. Wilbur that the fire district partner with the search and rescue group on emergency calls. SBSR is currently aligned with the Skagit County She...

  • Valve fault cuts Channel Cove water

    Kurt Batdorf|Aug 16, 2023

    Five households in Channel Cove lost water overnight when a valve failed after routine maintenance by La Conner Public Works staff on Aug. 8. Supervisor Todd Park said his crew had been “exercising a valve” when it apparently failed and started to leak after they finished their work. Jodi Dean, executive director of Home Trust of Skagit, the landlord, said she got tenant reports of standing water in the grass. “I called (Director of Public Works) Brian (Lease) and said, ‘Hey, listen, I’ve got some water standing out there,’ so we had his cre...

  • La Conner Schools superintendent finishes doctoral degree

    Bill Reynolds|Aug 16, 2023

    A former marathoner, La Conner Schools Superintendent Dr. Will Nelson knows the value of committing to a plan for the long run. He Is also familiar with having to negotiate different routes leading from Point A to Point B. But more than that, Nelson has learned to cover ground separately and simultaneously along equally challenging paths. During his first two years as administrator he has overseen implementation of several innovative academic programs, overseen the launch of a five-year...

  • Cascadian Farm now a Rodale Institute center

    Glen Johnson|Aug 16, 2023

    The day dawned cloudy and there was an up-valley smokey haze. It would be less hot than it has been. I was destined for the Cascadian Farm Home Farm, a famous place, a fertile bench of farmland near Rockport across Highway 20 from the emerald green waters of the mighty Skagit River. The farm was the brainchild of one Gene Kahn who, in 1972, as a recent college graduate and student of history, spied the uniquely beautiful property and put his plan into motion. Old friends followed him from the east coast and new friends joined his budding...

  • Wildfire preparedness for home landscapes

    Marlene Finley|Aug 16, 2023

    The wildfires in Hawaii make it clear few locales are immune from the devastating effects caused by wildfire. Despite Western Washington’s wet reputation, we also are not immune to wildfires, especially during drier years. Here in Skagit County, we also are facing severe drought. A recent climate impact study developed by the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group reported that the temperature in Washington has increased 1.5 degrees F in the last 20 years. Firewise landscaping is an array of practices promoted by the National Fir...

  • The sun sets behind a beachfront cabin

    Reflecting on La Conner: My Skagit summer vacation

    Chloe Peterson|Aug 16, 2023

    There is truly no gig greater for a college student than housesitting. Instead of spending my July in a tiny I-5-adjacent apartment where, if I open my windows I'm greeted by the cacophony of cars streaming past, I resided in lovely La Conner where, outside my windows, I could hear waves on the bay and view bald eagles and the occasional cat fight. Let's back up a little bit though, so I'm not just a name at the top of an article. My name is Chloe Peterson, I'm a junior at the University of Wash...

  • CORECTION/UPDATE: Roger Small opening Aug. 23

    Aug 16, 2023

    Roger Small’s opening for an ongoing exhibit of his paintings at La Conner Brewing Co. on First Street is 5-7 p.m. Aug. 23. He typically presents themes and images that define Skagit Valley and its people, painting landscapes in acrylics and oils. This corrects the Aug. 16 story, which reported the wrong date. The editor regrets the error....

  • A seaplane floats after landing

    Puyallup Tribe's partnership with Kenmore Air takes off with scenic South Sound seaplane flights

    Bellamy Pailthorp, KNKX|Aug 16, 2023

    Members of the Puyallup Tribe described it as an historic day, when a newly-painted seaplane from Kenmore Air touched down on Commencement Bay, with a distinctive red, black and white livery featuring tribal art depicting a salmon on the aircraft's tail. The new seaplane flights started taking off Aug. 10 from the new Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal on Ruston Way in Tacoma, Washington. It's a partnership with Kenmore Air, a regional airline based north of Seattle that specializes in scenic and...

  • Student protesters gather outside a courthouse

    Montana judge rules in favor of youth plaintiffs in landmark climate trial

    Shaylee Ragar, Montana Public Radio|Aug 16, 2023

    A district court judge in Montana handed down a landmark decision Monday, ruling that the state violated its own constitution by failing to consider fossil fuels' contribution to climate change. Sixteen young people sued the state over its promotion of fossil fuel-based energy, saying it violates their right to a clean and healthful environment under the Montana Constitution. Their case was the first of several youth-led lawsuits against states for failing to address climate change to go to...

  • Bird migration and nesting patterns

    Bob Hamblin|Aug 16, 2023

    We almost always assume everything will be the same. That is not true for humans or birds. Climate change in California is affecting birds more so than people. Thirty percent of California forests have burned in the last decade. This does not include the loss of plants due to erosion, which provided food and shelter. During migration, most birds live off the land. They consume fruit and water. Plants lost to fire may take years to repopulate and provide this food. This year there seems to be a reduction in swallows numbers. Part of this may be...

  • Police Blotter

    Aug 16, 2023

    Sunday, August 6 1:20 p.m. Big truck gone – A person called in to report a stolen Ford F-350 truck taken sometime in past two days. Truck was black in color with a canopy and has not been recovered. 2nd St., La Conner. Tuesday, August 8 8:00 p.m. Mom check – A person was unable to reach her mom and nobody was answering at the center. Deputies were able to make contact and pass on the info. N. 1st St., La Conner. Wednesday, August 9 1:25 p.m. Callers, kids and dog – A person reported that a male subject had approached her children and yelle...

  • Marina Moorings, Port of Skagit

    Chris Omdal|Aug 16, 2023

    The weather has been fabulous for boating this summer and our guest docks continue to be full. Many of our guests are stopping in La Conner on their way to or from Seattle. They come in around lunch time, relax for a day in town, then head out early to get into the traffic lines at the locks. We had a boat come through this week that was over 100 feet long. This is pretty large for our guest docks and the channel. Our guest docks are 500 feet long, so over 20% was covered by just this one vessel...

  • Up in smoke

    Aug 16, 2023

  • Obituary: Florence B. Lockrem

    Aug 16, 2023

    Florence B. Lockrem passed away on the night of Aug. 7 at 11:20 p.m. She slipped peacefully into the next world with her eldest son by her side. Florence was born on Jan. 24, 1935, in the town of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada. Her early life was harsh and demanded that she grow up quickly in order to help care for her brothers and sisters. In 1953 at the age of 18, she began working as a switchboard operator in her hometown. A short time later, she met a handsome young Airman at a fire. They...

  • Obituary: Douglas Keith Otis

    Aug 16, 2023

    Douglas K. Otis, age 85, of La Conner, Washington, died on Aug. 7, 2023. Doug is preceded in death by his parents, E. Donovan Otis and Gayle (Hancock) Otis; wife of over 50 years, Dixie (Maloy) Otis; son, D.J. Otis; brother, David Otis; granddaughter, Michelle Howard; and great-great grandson, Bowen Stidman. Doug is survived by his children: Cindy (Rick) Moore, Chris (Wayne) Ceradsky, D. Scott (Barbara) Otis, Megan (Brian) Masonholder, and Andrew (Kelli) Otis. Doug had 13 grandchildren, 15...

  • TOWN MEETING AGENDAS

    Aug 16, 2023

    Emergency Management Commission, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, Council Room, 104 Commercial St. AGENDA Minutes Public Comment (items not on the agenda) OLD BUSINESS Upper Skagit Tribe communications Temporary flood measures: Update Conditions to implement temporary flood protections measures What level of flood protection? What is reasonable risk? (Regardless of where the risk comes from) 100-year flood event (1%), 500-year flood event (0.2%), 1,000-year flood event? Flood height for Skagit River design. Trigger(s) for a Skagit River Flood watch...

  • From the editor: The Food Co-op's next 50 years

    Ken Stern|Aug 16, 2023

    Some readers, surely, were among the over 500 people crowding Mount Vernon’s Riverwalk Plaza last Wednesday, raffle tickets in hand, as Skagit Valley Food Co-op General Manager Tony White called out winner after winner, giving away prizes donated by local businesses and the Co-op in recognition of the 13,000 members who make the Co-op the amazing success it is today. Residents from Samish Island and Sedro-Woolley came and others from perhaps as far away as Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle. It may be possible and is certainly true that pound for pou... Full story

  • Letter to the editor

    Aug 16, 2023

    Try reliable solar power Dear Skagit County citizens, As the vice president of Skagit Valley Clean Energy Cooperative (SVCEC), the organization sponsoring the Solarize Skagit 2023 program, I want to remind folks that one of the benefits of the program is to get connected with pre-vetted, qualified and reliable installers. I am hearing that several residents have been approached by “door knockers” selling solar. They are not affiliated with the Solarize Skagit program. Please check with the Better Business Bureau prior to making any com... Full story

  • Letter to the editor

    Aug 16, 2023

    Questions about flooding I was pleased to read in last week’s Weekly News of the emergency flood commission touring the areas that were breached in last year’s flood. It has been seven months since the high tide inundated the town causing 1.8 million dollars damage to people’s homes and town businesses. Having experienced the flooding up close and personal, I have a few questions. I have photos of the water pouring through the blue metal buildings on the old Moore Clark property. That water spread throughout the south end of town. My quest... Full story

  • A citizen's view: Enough with the status quo of gun violence

    Fr. Paul Magnano|Aug 16, 2023

    Governor Gavin Newsom of California calls for a constitutional amendment enshrining common-sense gun control. He calls his effort a “mechanism to address the echo chamber of despair” – the ever-more-frequent mass shootings. Newsom’s proposed twenty-eighth amendment to the U.S. Constitution is hardly the comprehensive measure this country would need to stop the bloodshed. It would merely raise the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21, mandate universal background checks, impose a waiting period for purchasing a gun and ban assault weapons... Full story

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