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This week I saw the first swans return to the valley and it was delightful to see them flying and calling overhead. Many ancient cultures celebrate the migrations of their local animals.

Last week Democrats easily took the U. S. House of Representatives. Projections of undecided races have them adding more seats to their comfortable majority.

Thank you Skagit Valley Herald for your diligent and balanced coverage of the county charter campaign. Home Rule Skagit chair Gary Wickman also spoke graciously, as quoted in your newspaper, about the ways the charter proponents could have done things differently.

Now that Democrats have won control of the House, perhaps the blind hatred and resentment of President Trump may subside a bit. My question is what do these voters want from any president? What would satisfy them?

I am constantly in awe of the human species. We have such capacity for kindness, compassion and love. We can reach across divides to help each other and to show understanding.

How many times have we heard the same story: If we raise the tax on such-and-such that will cause one industry or the other to adopt more environmentally safe methods? Or cause them to alter their products to be more conducive to human well-being? How’s that working for us?

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He arrived in Seattle in 1899 at age 17. He found work with the railroad, where he was tutored in English by a retired teacher. She saw that he was smart and had leadership skills.

There seems to be an insidious common thread connecting the horrific violent events we are witnessing in the news recently, One that weaves from Squirrel Hill, Philadelphia, to the mean streets of the occupied Gaza Strip.

As a resident and former business owner, I have supported our school district and appreciate your service and the value you bring to our community.

On the base of the Statue of Liberty, it says "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

There is some panic about this Honduran caravan. It seems that illegal intrusion is near a 45-year low, so what is the real issue?

Trump's bloated tax cut has exploded the federal deficit and benefits nobody but the very rich. It is such a bad law that Republican candidates can’t even mention it on their stump for votes.

Every election year, it seems a few politicians may be so uncertain as to their being elected that they think of putting their election signs on nearly every block.

Our state’s Supreme Court was right to call out the state Legislature in the McCleary decision, and the Legislature was right to fulfill its constitutional obligations.

There hasn’t, to my knowledge, been a lot of discussion about public safety in the elections this year, even though it’s perennially important. One thing made clear this very summer is that our public safety issues are changing with the changing climate.

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I am police chief for the City of Sedro-Woolley, and I urge you to vote for Rosemary Kaholokula for Superior Court judge.

Ask any rural resident of Whatcom County how their charter government represents them. Whatcom County farmers and rural residents have no representation on their charter council.

Apparently much of the voting public feels they are inadequately aware of the problems and possible solutions to cast a vote.

I first met Jackie Brunson in 2001 while serving as president for a statewide law enforcement records association. Jackie was new to our organization, however, she volunteered for the treasurer position.

We know how important it is for a judge to be nonpartisan. As a retired teacher, I dusted off my Merriam Webster and found “nonpartisan: free from party affiliation or bias.” The key here is "bias."

The Skagit County auditor routinely touches our lives in so many ways through recording, licensing, accounting and elections. That is why I’m voting for Mike Urban.

I am writing to encourage you to cast your vote for Mike Urban as Skagit County auditor. 

This election we have the opportunity to vote in a qualified and hard-working individual to serve us as Skagit County auditor — Mike Urban.

I'm voting Mike Urban for Skagit County auditor, and I hope you will too. I've known Mike most of my adult life. 

I like Mike Urban. I met Mike 20 years ago as the owner of a family business. Talk about a man geared toward serving his community. Our booster club turned to him on many occasions. He was always accommodating and giving, ensuring a successful children’s event.

As divided as our nation currently is, I would like to take a moment to recommend someone who knows how to listen to everyone, even those whose opinions do not mirror hers.

I was a police officer with the Mount Vernon Police Department for 34 years. I came to know and work closely with Rosemary Kaholokula when I was the detective sergeant.

My granddaddy always said common sense is the most important sense of all. That sure seems to apply when we sit down to vote.

As a proponent of Proposition 1, Freeholder Election, I was dismayed to see advertising involving a lot of money being spent to defeat it: a four-page spread included in a recent Skagit Valley Herald and another big glossy mailer in my mailbox.

I am voting no on Initiative 1631 carbon fees. I see this as another over-reach on the part of special interests and want no part of it. Where is the accountability if this issue is so important?

A recent insert in the Skagit Valley Herald portrayed supporters of Proposition 1 and candidates running in support of the Skagit Charter, as "radical activists lacking common sense."

Home Rule Skagit has consistently argued that the charter form of county government is “more modern,” and therefore better, because it was defined later in the laws of Washington compared to the default commissioner form of county government.

Several years ago, rural reserve-zoned land was cleared in my neighborhood to accommodate an industrial agriculture  operation of hundreds of 10,000-gallon vats filled with brine and pickles — bringing noise from forklifts and semis operating through the night and year.

Fifty years ago, a brilliant and compassionate man, Dr. Ian Black, taught me the value of having a skilled coroner as he explained the existing science around Sudden Infant Death Syndrome that had taken the life of my baby. Over all these decades, I have carefully followed the changes to bes…

In 1972, "All in the Family" ruled the top of the Nielsen ratings. Ford Pintos and Chevy Vegas vied for the top economy car status during the gas crunch. Carole King’s "Tapestry" album just finished its run at the top of the charts. Adding to these historic flashbacks, Evergreen Elementary o…

I am hoping that people care enough about the direction this country is going to get up out of their chairs and vote.

Whenever I see politicians stooping to falsehoods and distortions to attack their opponents, it tells me they don’t have faith in the truthfulness or validity of their own claims.