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  • Feds pledge $1 billion to deliver 2,700 electric, low-emission school buses

    Ariana Figueroa, Washington State Standard|Feb 7, 2024

    WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced $1 billion in funding for more than 2,700 electric and low-emission school buses across 37 states in January. This is a second part of funding of a $5 billion, five-year initiative from the bipartisan infrastructure law. In total, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program has awarded nearly $2 billion and funded approximately 5,000 electric and low-emission school buses nationwide. Washington schools will receive a combined $14.9 million through the program. That mon...

  • Public safety must be a priority, state legislators say

    Aspen Anderson, Washington State Journal|Jan 17, 2024

    Public safety should be a top priority for this year’s legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee and bipartisan state legislators said on the eve of the 2024 legislative session. “We need additional officers on the street,” Inslee told reporters before the Jan. 8 opening. “And to help local police forces find their additional officers, I’m proposing a $10 million grant program.” Washington State ranks 50th in the nation for the number of law enforcement officers per capita, Inslee and legislators acknowledged. At the annual legislative preview wit...

  • Building housing in the comp plan

    Ken Stern|Jan 17, 2024

    Town of La Conner residents have two weeks to offer their two cents – or perhaps exceedingly more valuable recommendations – as possible amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan – and the development code, too. Submittals made through Jan. 31 are free. More important is the schedule, for proposals through January are considered this year, in the 2024 cycle by the staff, planning commission and council. Stay awake. This is important for the future of anyone planning to stay or move into La Conner. The Washington state Legislature mandate... Full story

  • La Conner School District report card

    Will Nelson, Superintendent|Jan 17, 2024

    As we start off the 2024 year, I want to personally thank all of the parents and families of our students who every day navigate all of the obstacles in life while supporting their school-aged children. We strive to create a welcoming environment and love seeing your students every day! I am grateful for your belief and trust in our staff. All of our staff work hard to ensure that our students, your children, are safe, loved and cared for, respected and experience success every day. Finances are critical and necessary to ensure that students,...

  • I am working on what you told me

    Dave Paul|Jan 10, 2024

    How can we listen to each other and find common ground – and solutions that work for our community? I think it starts with listening to each other. The legislative session began on Jan. 8 and runs for 60 straight days, including weekends. I’d like to share two things with you this week: (1) comments and ideas from our recent 10th District survey and (2) some common-sense reforms I’m working on this session. First, your comments and ideas. Hearing directly from you is incredibly important to me... Full story

  • Northwest salmon hatcheries harm wild salmon populations, study finds

    Alex Baumhardt - Oregon Capital Chronicle|Jan 3, 2024

    For much of the last century, fish hatcheries have been built in the Northwest, across the U.S. and around the world to boost fish populations where wild numbers have gone down. But an analysis of more than 200 studies on hatcheries programs meant to boost salmonid numbers across the globe – including salmon, trout and whitefish – shows that nearly all have had negative impacts on the wild populations of those fish. Most commonly, hatchery fish reduced the genetic diversity of wild fish, leading to poor health and reproductive outcomes. The...

  • Weekly News staff are unsung heroes

    Ken Stern|Dec 27, 2023

    From an editor who takes each week’s editorial very seriously, I report that this is one of my most important editorials of the year. Each December ends with shining light on unsung heroes in the community, the critical souls who day after day and every week show up, dig in and through their steadfast efforts are contributing to the larger good, making the greater La Conner region the place we are so proud to call home. I have known for months that I would praise the staff, freelancers and volunteers who make the Weekly News the success that i... Full story

  • UPDATE on: Gas pipeline leak closed Conway school Monday

    Ken Stern|Dec 13, 2023

    Additional information from Dec. 13: The approximately 25,326 gallons of gasoline that spilled from the Olympic Pipeline in Conway early on Dec. 10 was “due to the failure of 3/8 inch tubing leading from the main pipeline to a pressure gauge within the vault” the unified command of agencies and companies reported Dec. 12 after the Weekly News had gone to press. Some 6,993 gallons were recovered through Wednesday evening, the fourth press update states. It reports 5,292 gallons of gasoline remained in the vault and the remainder was released int...

  • Go solar not hydropower

    Alana Nelson|Dec 13, 2023

    The article from Nov. 15 about the Skagit County water outlook (“Skagit County water outlook complicated”) pointed out that the challenges related to low water flows on the Skagit River are becoming more complex. This is a big deal for both irrigation and energy production. With droughts and extreme weather events becoming more common, the Skagit River is under increasing pressure to meet the demands for irrigation, electricity, and instream-flows. One solution to ease this pressure is to support local solar power. It’s a quick and easy alterna... Full story

  • Picture of new commercial oven.

    Grants aid district operations

    Dec 6, 2023

    It's been a busy fall quarter in the La Conner School District. Owing to hard work and some long hours, La Conner School District staff, faculty and administration have successfully applied for and received grants that will benefit La Conner students and the community. $16,000 grant provides new oven The district's food service department received a $16,000 grant to purchase a new oven. Food service supervisor Kelly Kjarstad reports that the ovens at the elementary school went out last year,... Full story

  • 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...

  • Climate crisis: The world is in a catastrophe now

    Fr. Paul Magnano|Nov 22, 2023

    With a degree of urgency appropriate for the planetary catastrophe we face today, Pope Francis’ latest exhortation, Laudate Deum, “to all people of good will on the climate crisis,” builds on his 2015 encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, “On Care for our Common Home.” That the pope has explicitly described the current state of the climate as a “crisis” could be viewed as affirming what climate activist Greta Thunberg said in her 2019 address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: “Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is... Full story

  • Nez Perce Tribe leads Rise Up Northwest in Unity in Tulalip to save salmon

    Cory Sevin|Nov 15, 2023

    Can you imagine the Pacific Northwest without salmon? Their life cycle feeds many beings in the whole ecosystem. Salmon have been the center of spirit and community here for centuries And yet – they are at the brink of extinction in the Snake River. Research by the Nez Perce Tribe shows that: “About 40% of spring and summer Chinook populations from the Snake River are at the threshold for quasi-extinction, meaning they will likely go extinct.” And, at last count, only 110 individual coho salmon and 46 individual sockeye salmon returned to spawn... Full story

  • County financial assistance for septic systems

    Nov 8, 2023

    Skagit County Public Health is offering up to $200 in rebates for septic system inspection, pumping or riser installation to qualifying residents (one per household). A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant funds this rebate program for residents who pay a certified septic system provider to inspect, pump, or install riser to raise tank lids to the surface. All residents of Skagit County whose homes or businesses are served by a septic system require annual inspections, unless the system is conventional gravity (three-year inspection... Full story

  • Wylie Thulen and Peter Voorhees standing by dessert table.

    Young Life fundraiser draws community support

    Bill Reynolds|Nov 8, 2023

    Unity is a key part of the word community. That theme was stressed throughout the annual La Conner Young Life Dessert Fundraiser held Sunday night in the elementary school commons area. A wide cross-section of folks from in and around La Conner, representing the town, agricultural, Swinomish, Shelter Bay, Snee-Oosh and Fir Island communities attended the two-hour event, supporting the faith-based program that provides summer camp and monthly social and personal growth opportunities for local...

  • Chamber Director Hulst in Mount Vernon council reelection race

    Sayer Theiss|Nov 1, 2023

    For years, La Conner has been a thriving center of small-business commerce in the Skagit Valley. For Mark Hulst, director of the La Conner Chamber of Commerce, who has also served on the Mount Vernon City Council since 2011, it is his job to attempt to foster growth for not just La Conner, but for the prosperity of the wider community as well. Hulst is contested in his bid for a fourth term on the Mount Vernon City Council by progressive candidate Andrew Vander Stoep. Hulst sees being both a council member and the director of the La Conner...

  • Bat with rabies found in Skagit County

    Oct 25, 2023

    A Skagit County resident was exposed to rabies recently by picking up a bat, which later tested positive for rabies, with bare hands. The person sustained a scratch when handling the bat and called Skagit County Public Health, who directed them to medical care, where they received the first doses of rabies prophylaxis the same day. Bats and animals ill on the ground should be left alone or safely moved with a shovel to where people and pets will not come in contact with them. In Washington, bats are the only mammal known to carry rabies. Any pe... Full story

  • MoNA panel dives into sea level rise in Skagit County

    Oct 25, 2023

    Sea level rise and its impacts to the Skagit will be discussed by scientists at the Museum of Northwest Art Saturday, Oct. 28, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Audience participation is encouraged as part of the “Surge” exhibit. Topics discussed include sea level rise estimates in the Skagit, hydrological changes and impacts to the environment including birds, salmon and estuarine wetlands, as well as to infrastructure in the Valley. Skagit County has the largest area around Puget Sound at risk from sea level rise inundation. Plans to address these impacts in...

  • Technology advances methods for tracking bird migrations

    Bob Hamblin|Oct 4, 2023

    In the 1950s bird migration information was sketchy without a good format. Most banding research was done with metal tags as leg bands on waterfowl. Not much information was useful. The leg bands counted birds killed in the field by hunters. Passerine research was provided by field birders who knew the flight songs of Swainsons’s thrush and other more common night migrants. On full moon nights spotting scopes were used to count birds passing through more reflective light arcs. Mist nets and aluminum bands were used on smaller birds. The problem...

  • County tire collection at fairgrounds Oct. 5-6

    Oct 4, 2023

    Skagit County will host a free tire-round up for county residents Thursday-Friday Oct. 5-6 at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Residents must register online. There is a limit of twelve road tires per household, including car, truck, motorcycle and semi-trucks. Tractor tires will not be accepted. Drop-off is at the north entrance of the fairgrounds, 1410 Virginia Street, Mount Vernon 98273. In the 2022 collection, over 40 tons of used road tires were dropped off in one day. County staff hope to collect at least that quantity again. Proper tire... Full story

  • County tire collection Oct. 5-6

    Skagit County|Sep 27, 2023

    Skagit County will host a free tire-round up for county residents Thursday-Friday Oct. 5-6 at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Residents must register online. There is a limit of twelve road tires per household, including car, truck, motorcycle and semi-trucks. Tractor tires will not be accepted. Drop-off is at the north entrance of the fairgrounds, 1410 Virginia Street, Mount Vernon 98273. In the 2022 collection, over 40 tons of used road tires were dropped off in one day. County staff hope to collect at least that quantity again. Proper tire... Full story

  • Caring for creation

    Sep 20, 2023

    Pope Francis will release a follow-up document on the environment on Oct. 4, providing an update to his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’,” “On Care for Our Common Home” – a landmark papal letter that offered a rallying cry for global action in the fight against climate change. Francis said the new document is an effort to help “put an end to the senseless war against our common home” and comes after a summer of record-breaking rising temperatures, wildfires and storms. The pope’s remarks came during his general audience at the Vatican on Aug. 3... Full story

  • Legals

    Sep 20, 2023

    TOWN OF LA CONNER NOTICE OF APPLICATION/NOTICE OF HEARING PRELIMINARY MITIGATED DETERMINATION OF NON-SIGNIFICANCE (PMDNS) Date: September 12, 2023 Application File #: LU23-30CU-IV, LU23-31SEPA Applicant: La Conner Maritime Services Owner: Port of Skagit Town Contact Person: Michael Davolio AICP, Planning Director; P.O. Box 400, La Conner, WA 98257; 360-466-3125 Project Description: New 8,000 sq ft pre-engineered metal building for maintenance and repair of boats. The project is in an area identified as 100 year flood plain. The parcel is... Full story

  • Students and new staff enjoy robust welcome back to school

    Bill Reynolds|Sep 6, 2023

    After slogging through a spring and summer beset with budget woes, La Conner Schools officials and staff shifted gears last week to focus on what they do best – create priceless memories for local students and families. The 2023-2024 year launched with a soft-start half-week of instruction beginning with Aug. 29 Braves Day orientation activities. Building principals Heather Fakkema-Hovde and Christine Tripp said Braves Day, which provided a relaxed atmosphere for students to meet teachers and advisors, obtain class schedules, pose for photos an...

  • People meet in a room

    Electric atmosphere: Shavers talks clean energy during La Conner visit

    Bill Reynolds|Sep 6, 2023

    First term state lawmaker Clyde Shavers (D, Oak Harbor) brought plenty of energy to a downtown La Conner appearance last Thursday. And for the 10th District Democrat it was a case of substance matching style. That's because Shavers also brought with him to the 75-minute afternoon stop at Ravens Cup Coffee & Art Gallery on First Street a detailed update on clean energy legislation and policy measures both in Olympia and around the country. His audience, primarily founders of the La Conner-based...

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