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Articles from the November 29, 2023 edition

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  • Talmon project design still not in alignment

    Bill Reynolds|Nov 29, 2023

    After just one meeting, Town staff and representatives of KSA Investments are agreed on 80 per cent of the design revisions La Conner’s planning department requires for a proposed three-story apartment/condo project at 306 Center Street. But reaching consensus on the remaining 20 per cent could literally be a tall order. At issue is a planned elevator shaft that planning staff finds exceeds height restrictions. The developer, according to Planning Director Michael Davolio and Assistant Planner Ajah Eills, has countered that state building c...

  • Snow geese fill a field next to a farm.

    Snow geese population a problem for Skagit farmers

    Lauren Gallup|Nov 29, 2023

    In late autumn on the cusp of cool winter days, snow comes early to Washington when thousands of aloft avians, snow geese, land here in a flurry of white feathers. "We call it a snow storm, they just will move as one," said birder Julie Hagen. "It's just this chaotic whirlwind of birds, they move like a cloud and then they just lift up in the air." In late October, as the snow geese began landing in the Skagit Valley, Hagen went out to enjoy the sight that many Western Washington birders look fo...

  • Final 2023 election results

    Ken Stern|Nov 29, 2023

    Skagit County election office staff certified all local elections Tuesday, Nov. 28. John Agen is the new La Conner Schools director for District 2. He defeated Janie Beasleyt with 53%, 791 votes to 686 votes, 46.5% Marna Hanneman is La Conner’s mayor-elect, with 281 votes. Annie Taylor is elected to Council Position 1. Mary Wohleb is elected to Position 2. John Doyle and J.J. Wilbur were elected as Fire District 13 commissioners. Loren Bogart was reelected commissioner for Sewer District Position 1 None of these elections were contested. The s...

  • Chef Dagmar Chislandi and Grant Lucas standing in kitchen.

    Waterfront Café Thanksgiving meal has record turnout, donations

    Bill Reynolds|Nov 29, 2023

    A few hours after completing the La Conner Turkey Trot, Jaime Stroebel-Reinstra was keeping a brisk pace as a volunteer server at the Waterfront Café's community Thanksgiving Day meal. She and others – including her own family members – who pitched in to help with the annual fundraiser for local charities were kept busy throughout a three-hour early afternoon shift last Thursday. "We had more reservations and more people this year than ever before," Waterfront Café co-owner Marla Vallee told...

  • Your community newspaper and you

    Ken Stern|Nov 29, 2023

    Dear Greater La Conner Community, Welcome to the La Conner Weekly News. If you are getting the paper for the first time, I hope you will find your community newspaper an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Valued subscribers, I hope this issue meets your expectations and needs. Thank you, subscribers, for your ongoing engagement with the community through these pages. This newspaper exists for everyone reading it this week That is you. Decades ago, when the local paper was The Puget Sound Mail, every issue said “Covers La Conner and its Rich A... Full story

  • When wine and housing don't mix

    Corky Parker|Nov 29, 2023

    I recently went out for dinner with a neighbor, a part-time, mostly-here-in-the-summer kind of neighbor. He teaches at a university, leads research and publishes interesting work on human behavior. As we waited to order he mentioned his frustration at it all taking so long — to order and get served. When I responded that it was one more sign of the local housing crisis, he looked confused. He apparently didn’t understand why I was bringing up an issue in our otherwise lovely social evening, especially when it had nothing to do with the situatio... Full story

  • Check your own housing smarts here

    Corky Parker|Nov 29, 2023

    Did you know: Jefferson County ranks 38 out of 39 counties in the state for affordability for first-time, as well as all, home buyers. Jefferson County’s vacancy rate hovers between 0-1%. The national vacancy rate is 5%. At any one moment, almost 14% – that’s 2,733 – of the houses in Jefferson County are vacant. That means as we walk through our neighborhoods, the cute houses, we know and love, are empty. No wonder things seem awfully, sort of too, quiet sometimes. But it explains all those drawn curtains and shades. 42% of Jefferson County... Full story

  • Always think solar

    Joan Cross Mary Wohleb|Nov 29, 2023

    The Skagit Valley Clean Energy Co-op ( is ramping up our Solarize Skagit Campaign which will start in early March 2024. SVCEC’s Solarize Campaign connects Skagit homeowners and small businesses with solarizing their homes and buildings with the benefit of volume purchasing. We are a non-profit run by volunteers writing grants and mobilizing the money available from various government entities that can cut solarizing costs with free analysis of your roof site, tax credits, group purchasing discounts and financial discount on l... Full story

  • Alternative energy growth will bring job growth as economy grows

    Greg Whiting|Nov 29, 2023

    In the 1880s, thousands of businesses in the U.S. depended on horse-drawn transportation. Carriage manufacturers, blacksmiths, horse breeders, stables and related enterprises were major employers. Of hundreds of American carriage manufacturers, only two – Studebaker (now out of business) and Fisher (now a part of General Motors) – made the transition to automobiles and survived past World War II. For decades, the example of the buggy whip manufacturer that failed to develop a new niche when aut... Full story

  • Photo of new house.

    Skagit home prices high, with supply limited

    Ken Stern|Nov 29, 2023

    At the end of October, the only four homes for sale within La Conner town limits were two Landed Gentry residences on Maple Avenue and the two BYK Construction properties on High Street, near Whatcom and Douglas streets. The other 11 homes are in Shelter Bay or near it. Two pending La Conner properties closed in November, a resale of a Landed Gentry home for $725,000 and an 1890 mansion on Benton Street bought for $1.25 million, On Snee Oosh Road south of Kukutali Preserve a home sold for $1.8...

  • If I ran the Zoo

    Mel Damski|Nov 29, 2023

    If you are heading towards Whatcom County or Canada and you are not in a hurry, Chuckanut Drive is a wonderful alternative route. Chuckanut is a winding road that goes along the Pacific coast and features beautiful forestry and spectacular views of the ocean and islands because at some points, it’s right at the edge of the continent. The southern part of the 20-mile drive features beautiful views of Mt. Baker in the distance and Blanchard Mountain nearby. You are surrounded by beautiful farmland...

  • Staff are also 'no' on in-house short-term rentals

    Bill Reynolds|Nov 29, 2023

    Mingling pays off in La Conner. The proof is in the long-term results from an October forum on short-term rentals. Residential input on short-term rentals at the Civic Garden Club building – referred as “a mingle,” by Town officials – produced much-anticipated planning department recommendations. The staff report was well received at the Nov. 21 Town Planning Commission hybrid session at Maple Hall by community members concerned that the green light for inclusion in town neighborhoods could be given. That possibility appears highly unlikel...

  • Christmas lights in front of Slider Cafe.

    Time to celebrate holidays with lights, music, boats and Santa

    Ken Stern|Nov 29, 2023

    Santa is coming to town early this long holiday shopping season. He makes his first appearance today, Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the La Conner Swinomish Library to read stories to children from 4:30-5:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 2 he is at the La Conner Rotary Club's Pancake Breakfast at Maple Hall, 8-11 a.m. After a breakfast that includes scrambled eggs and sausage, Santa is waiting on stage for dog friendly photo taking. Cost: $10, adults, $5 kids; free, under five. Your wallet will be needed as...

  • Skagit County Historical Museum's holiday fundraiser is this Saturday

    Adam Sowards|Nov 29, 2023

    Head up the hill in La Conner to the Skagit County Historical Museum on South Fourth Street Saturday, Dec. 2, to celebrate the holidays. The museum is The combined holiday party and annual appeal kickoff is 6-8 p.m. The museum is decorated for the holidays with trees and lights. Even some of the displays are spruced up for the festivities. A dessert buffet and interactive activities are part of the evening, which is open to the public. “It’s just a time to celebrate and let people see what we’re doing at the museum,” said Executive Director Jo... Full story

  • Shelter Bay Chorus holiday concert

    Nov 29, 2023

    The Shelter Bay Chorus’ annual holiday concerts are Dec. 8, 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Shelter Bay community clubhouse, 1000 Shoshone Drive. Admission is by donation. The program offers “Joy to the World,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Let It Snow,” and sacred songs, including “There is Faint Music.” Lyle Forde directs. Sally Riggers is the pianist/accompanist.... Full story

  • Blueberry cobbler

    Blueberry Cobbler

    Patricia Aquiimuk Paul|Nov 29, 2023

    This was the perfect sweet treat for a busy day. We buy the local blueberries in season and freeze them. Butter is at room temperature. Use the blueberries frozen. Amazingly, this recipe has no eggs. It requires three mixing bowls. Ingredients Blueberries, 2 cups, fresh or frozen Sugar, 1 cup, divided Butter, ¼ cup, softened Flour, 1 cup Baking powder, 2 teaspoons Salt, 1/8 teaspoon Milk, ½ cup Preparation Lightly oil an 8 x 8 baking pan. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the...

  • Old black and white photo of people from La Conner posing by waterfront.

    Grace Hubbard helped birth a sister city

    Joan Cross|Nov 29, 2023

    Grace Hubbard's 100th birthday celebrated last week in the Weekly News reminded me of the sister cities project we worked on together in the early 1980s. Grace has an excellent memory, which helped to jog mine. So I'm adding to her story. I had returned from Peace Corps in the Fiji Islands a decade previously and birthed my first baby. Ronald Reagan was president, which worried some of us as to the saber rattling with the Soviets. I went to a Peace Corps reunion that was electric with creative...

  • Police Blotter

    Nov 29, 2023

    Sunday, November 19 2:23 p.m. What a drag—A sailboat had dragged anchor and was not on the rocks off Skagit Island. Nobody was in danger and a tow vessel was headed out to assist. No action by sheriff’s office.Greater La Conner. 5:58 p.m. Cold dog— Caller had found a shepherd type dog that seemed to be lost and cold. The caller just wanted dispatch to be aware in case anyone called in and needed her information. Caller was keeping the dog until an owner could be found. Morris St., La Conner. Monday, November 20 2:59 p.m. Hissy fit —Repo...