By Ken Stern 

Cooling center offered locals weekend relief


The Town of La Conner moved swiftly Friday to open a cooling center for area residents to take shelter from last weekend’s record high temperatures.

The suggestion made by Robin Carneen earlier in the day was a reality by 6 p.m. June 25. The La Conner school district made its elementary school commons available Saturday-Monday, from 12-8 p.m.

Drinks and snacks were brought by Scott Thomas, La Conner town administrator. He provided transportation and oversaw and managed volunteers.

Thomas made “accommodations for anyone, they just need to tell us what they need,” he wrote in an email Saturday morning.

The cooling center was opened as the National Weather Service Forecast Office for Seattle reported “unprecedented heat.” It posted hazardous weather conditions with an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. Monday that was then extended until 11 p.m. Tuesday.

All-time high temperature records were set Sunday and Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Mayor Ramon Hayes expressed satisfaction with the Town’s action to provide the cooling center. “It’s the type of thing that you don’t know if you are going to be inundated,” he said, but while there were three people mid-Sunday afternoon, he noted that it was available and also that this is the first time this response was made to weather conditions. His goal was to have a place to which anyone in need could come.

Hayes said a Dorothy Downes Facebook message prompted him to act. He called the school district and Superintendent Richard Stewart agreed.

Thomas took it from there. Hayes praised him for doing a “tremendous job.”

Thomas estimated over 18 people spent time there Monday. “We had a reasonable turnout,” he said. “It wasn’t all parents and kids,” though three groups of families with children were there mid-Monday afternoon. He noted elders predominated overall.

Heidi Fair brought her three children Monday afternoon. They were picked up by Jared Fair, her husband, when he finished work at the library well after 6 p.m.

Volunteers helped every day. Simme Bobrosky, Margaret Hillard, Marylee Chamberlain and Linda Talman provided at least one shift, with Talman coming back Monday evening just to cool off.


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