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  • School board adopts goals for 2024-25

    Bill Reynolds|Jul 10, 2024

    La Conner School District Superintendent David Cram and board members approved key goals for the 2024-25 academic year at their study session Monday night. Before the meeting started, the district hired a special education director, a role former superintendent Will Nelson juggled with other administrative duties after special programs coordinator Andy Wheeler retired in 2023. Cram announced that Beth Mills, who has worked in the special education field for two decades, will run special education in La Conner. She comes from the Granite Falls...

  • Community Calendar

    Jul 10, 2024

    NOT TO BE MISSED Skagit City School Picnic, 1-3 p.m. Sunday, July 14, 17508 Moore Road, Mount Vernon. Join the Skagit County Historical Society for this time-honored tradition of celebrating community. Food will be available from the La Conner Rotary Club. The 20th annual NW Art Beat Studio Tour sees 22 artists showing their works in 16 studios in a free, self-guided Skagit Valley art studio tour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 20 and 21. NW Art Beat is presented by Skagit Artists. Learn more at ­ LIBRARIES La Conner Swinomish...

  • Traffic moves through a road construction zone

    What was with that hole on Maple Avenue?

    Bill Reynolds|Jul 3, 2024

    La Conner's underground – at least on S. Maple Avenue – has been in plain sight the past few days. Welch Brothers Construction has cut deeply into and through the heavily traveled roadway's surface to extend a water main that will serve the future Didgwalic Wellness Center transitional housing and staff office facility on Maple Avenue near the east approach to the Rainbow Bridge. La Conner Public Works Director Brian Lease said on Monday that the work upgrades an existing water main to imp...

  • Housing falls far short of local demand

    Jul 3, 2024

    By Ken Stern Skagit County continues to have a huge shortfall in housing construction, particularly in multi-unit buildings of any type. The state’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board five-year housing advisory plan, a 75-page report released in May, shows within the county the need for more residential construction and a critical lack of affordable housing options. This mirrors housing needs throughout Washington. Some 1,300 homes were built in the 2020-2023 period in the county, about 434 annually. That is 38% below the projected production n...

  • A fire boat shoots a stream of water at a dock

    First responders practice marina and wildland firefighting exercises

    Bill Reynolds|Jul 3, 2024

    If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, area firefighters and emergency responders are perfectly practiced and practically perfect. This after Swinomish Reservation and the Port of Skagit's La Conner Marina were sites last week of major multi-department training exercises that participants lauded afterward for their realism and long-term value. Skagit County Fire District 13 Training Officer Capt. Chris Olbu scripted a drill for June 26 that challenged several agencies, led by La...

  • $18,000 penalty for diesel spill after fishing boat sinks

    Jul 3, 2024

    In August 2022, a 58-foot fishing boat sank off the western shore of San Juan Island, kicking off a complex, lengthy response to prevent additional diesel from spilling out of the sunken vessel, and to eventually raise the boat back to the surface. Now, the Washington Department of Ecology is penalizing Matthew Johnston, the boat's owner, $18,000 for the spilled diesel. Johnston actively participated in cleanup efforts and fully cooperated with Ecology's investigation, the agency said in a news...

  • La Conner Town Council sets priorities at retreat

    Bill Reynolds|Jul 3, 2024

    Town and school district officials were in full retreat June 24, though both panels spent the day charging forward with reviews of their respective five-year strategic plans. The La Conner Town Council met for seven hours at the Waterfront Café. Councilmembers, staff and Mayor Marna Hanneman addressed five focus areas – public safety, climate and environmental sustainability, capital projects and utilities, economic vibrancy and governmental organization. Council members and department heads al...

  • Larsen kicks off congressional re-election campaign

    Ken Stern|Jul 3, 2024

    Second Congressional District Rep. Rick Larsen kicked off his re-election campaign in Skagit County June 27, telling some 30 supporters at Skagit River Brewery in Mount Vernon that this year voting will be a values election. The Democrat’s low-key remarks were twice disrupted by women bursting in and vehemently protesting his support for military aid to Israel’s war against Palestinians in Gaza. The first carried a sign reading, “Larsen sends Skagit taxes to BOMB BABIES in Gaza.” She shouted she was a Jewish school teacher, to stop the genocid...

  • School board, leaders retreat to address future goals, needs

    Bill Reynolds|Jul 3, 2024

    The La Conner School Board spent June 24 with interim superintendent David Cram for their annual daylong retreat. They addressed roles, responsibilities and goals for board members. Cram projected a K-12 student enrollment of 460 and beginning fund balance of $535,000 this fall. While the enrollment figure is lower than last year, the fund balance estimate represents a significant improvement. The school district opened 2023-24 in the red. Cram, who returned to La Conner as finance director in...

  • Pine siskins afflicted with salmonellosis

    Jul 3, 2024

    Many pine siskins have been seen ill or found dead around local bird feeders lately. The culprit is the salmonella bacteria, to which they are very susceptible. As a precaution, take bird feeders down and stop filling them. If feeders are kept filled, clean them every two days. A 10% bleach solution with detergent works best. Rinse well and let dry before filling. Raking and rinsing the ground under feeders helps too, since the bacteria are in the bird's droppings. Even though siskins usually...

  • Community Calendar

    Jul 3, 2024

    NOT TO BE MISSED Saturday with the Mayor, 10 a.m. Saturday, July 6, in the La Conner Swinomish Library Community Room. Fire Chief Aaron Reinstra will speak about Firefighting 101. Come with your questions. LIBRARIES La Conner Swinomish Library. 520 Morris St., La Conner. 360-466-3352. Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Storytime for Children. 11 a.m. Fridays. Tech Help. 3-5 p.m. Mondays. Dungeons & Dragons Club. 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays. No experience necessary. Mount Vernon Public ­Library. 315...

  • Clinton's Island Drug shuts doors

    Ken Stern|Jul 3, 2024

    Island Drug closed its Clinton pharmacy Monday, essentially going our of business. The company, owned by pharmacist Aaron Syring, started 2024 serving people with pharmacies in La Conner, Oak Harbor and Clinton. Syring shuttered his other two stores in January. Friday, June 28, Syring posted a long analysis on his website explaining the unreasonable rules and low payments from pharmacy benefit managers. They are hired by insurance companies to control prescription costs. His website article, “Why Pharmacies Close,” His website article, “Wh...

  • Wet a day for a parade

    Jul 3, 2024

    The Swinomish Canoe Family needed to bundle up as a steady rain soaked the Pride Parade through the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community on Thursday, June 27....

  • Strikers picket in front of a building

    Journalists strike after staff cuts

    Kurt Batdorf|Jun 26, 2024

    Everett Herald newsroom union members staged a one-day strike and picketed with dozens of supporters through downtown Everett on Monday to protest the newspaper owner's decision to eliminate 12 of its 23 reporters and editors, and then deleting its own coverage of the news. Citing Carpenter Media Group's failure to respond to contract bargaining requests and meet other demands, the Everett NewsGuild announced an indefinite extension of their strike in a press release the Guild issued Tuesday... Full story

  • 'Flash' fire guts La Conner home

    Bill Reynolds|Jun 26, 2024

    A bright, sunny picture-postcard afternoon in La Conner turned tragic when a house on N. Fifth Street was destroyed by a fast-burning fire whose noxious smoke blackened the sky as it wafted across town. Tony and Jane Mitchell, members of the La Conner Firefighters Association, lost their home June 19 to a blaze that raged through their garage and into the house, sending flames shooting out from the walls and roof. A Mini Cooper in the garage was destroyed and a Volkswagen sedan on the driveway...

  • Father Paul Magnano will shift Sacred Heart role

    Bill Reynolds|Jun 26, 2024

    The prayers of a La Conner priest have been answered. Father Paul Magnano, 83, won’t be relocating to Seattle full-time after all. Magnano will continue serving historic Sacred Heart Catholic Church in La Conner and other Skagit County parishes with a new schedule allowing him to divide his time with Christ Our Hope Catholic Church in downtown Seattle, which he founded. It’s truly a “best of both worlds” arrangement for Magnano, who feels equally at home here and in the city. Perhaps best of...

  • Plan for July 4 parade, live music, fireworks in town

    Bill Reynolds|Jun 26, 2024

    By There's one summer rerun that's a guaranteed hit in La Conner. It's the annual Hometown Independence Day celebration here, featuring a parade down First Street, a slew of July 4 activities with live music at the La Conner Marina and a fireworks display over Swinomish Channel. "It will pretty much be the same as every year," Town Administrator Scott Thomas said. The variety of events assures that everyone in La Conner will again have a blast on the Fourth of July. The fun starts at noon with t...

  • Housing element gains preliminary approval

    Bill Reynolds|Jun 26, 2024

    The first round of drafting a new housing element for La Conner’s comprehensive plan is in the books, but more chapters await. The town’s planning commission last week granted preliminary approval of the comp plan element, which addresses housing capacity and population projections for the town issued by the Skagit Council of Governments in accordance with the state Growth Management Act. Final approval requires further review and public input, said Town Assistant Planner Ajah Eills, who has compiled a detailed land use capacity analysis for...

  • State grant will cover LC school solar costs

    Greg Whiting|Jun 26, 2024

    On June 18, the State of Washington’s Department of Commerce announced that the La Conner School District has won a $1.96 million Community Decarbonization Grant. This new grant will pay for the development, at the La Conner Middle School, of a grid-­interconnected solar electric generation system with a capacity of 138.2 kilowatts. Based on the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar generation model, the electricity produced by this system during an average year will be about 140,000 kilowatt-hours....

  • Celebration of Life June 30 for Cruisin' Susan, a colorful La Conner character

    Bill Reynolds|Jun 26, 2024

    A public memorial service for Susan Baum, who worked at La Conner’s iconic 1890s Inn during a colorful chapter in the town’s history, will be held from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at Conner Waterfront Park. Baum, fondly known to her friends as “Cruisin’ Susan,” died May 7. Having grown up in Big Sky Country, she blended seamlessly after her arrival here into the local arts community and eclectic counterculture movement that evolved in the 1970s in La ­Conner and at nearby Fishtown on the Skagit River. Baum embraced a non-­traditional lifestyle t...

  • Library Happenings

    Jean Markert, Library Director|Jun 26, 2024

    July is a busy month at the library! Summer Reading is in full swing. If you haven’t signed up, stop by the library to get your reading log and a free book. Our theme this year is Read, Renew, Repeat, and we have tons of fun activities every week at the library for all ages. Kids to grandmas are welcome to join us for the events. Today, Wednesday, June 26, from 3-4 p.m. come have fun and learn all about recycling and worms with a recycling expert, Callie. This promises to be a fun experience. Do you have old books you don’t read any more? Wan...

  • The pride of Swinomish

    Jun 26, 2024

    Swinomish Indian Tribal Community members line up for a free picnic lunch at swadabs Park to celebrate Pride Month on June 20. There was more than enough salmon to go around and a pink Swinomish Pride T-shirt for every guest. The tribe will mark Pride Month again today, June 26, with a parade of decorated vehicles that will begin at John K. Bob Ball Park at 4:30 p.m., followed by dinner at the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community....

  • A locomotive is tipped on its side after derailing

    Long time coming: Swinomish Tribe stands up to railroad

    Ken Stern|Jun 26, 2024

    Last week the Federal District Court in Seattle entered a final decision in a case brought by the Swinomish Tribe against BNSF Railway and ordered the railway to pay $395 million to the tribe for illegal trespass across tribal lands from 2012 to 2021. This amount represents the net profit the railway made while it intentionally violated limitations contained in an easement agreement the railway signed in 1991. While the decision will likely be appealed and litigation will continue, it reflects t...

  • Celebrating proudly in Anacortes

    Jun 26, 2024

    Saturday the third annual Anacortes Pride Parade marched up Commercial Avenue. The festive, colorful marchers matched the beauty of the day. "The Laramie Project" plays at the Anacortes Community Theatre through July 13. For times and tickets:

  • Community Calendar

    Jun 26, 2024

    NOT TO BE MISSED The ABC’s of LGBTQ+, 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, Museum of Northwest Art, 121 S. First St. In this free talk celebrating Pride Month, Linden Jordan from PFLAG Skagit will discuss the ABCs of LGBTQ+. These initials represent people who are often misunderstood and discriminated against. You’ll learn the differences between sexual anatomy, gender identity, sexual orientation, chosen names and pronouns. Register at­abcsoflgbt. LIBRARIES La Conner Swinomish Library. 520 Morris St., La Conner. 360-466-33...

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