Government offices among those closed for Veterans Day

Schools, Sno-Isle Libraries, Stanwood City Hall, Snohomish and Island county government offices, banks, the post office and  solid waste facilities will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veteran’s Day.

Waste Management, however, will be picking up customers’ roadside garbage cans.

 

7-hour power outage in Stanwood 

An underground cable from the Stanwood Substation failed, causing a seven-hour outage midday Saturday, Oct. 26, through much of downtown, according to the Snohomish County PUD. 

The outage affected more than 600 customers and knocked out power to several traffic lights. 

Crews made repairs Oct. 31, which did not result in further outages, the PUD said. 

 

Comment deadline extended for steelhead farm

The state has again extended the opportunity to comment on Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move from farming Atlantic salmon to farming native steelhead trout.

The deadline to comment is now 5 p.m. Nov. 22.

Cooke Aquaculture proposes raising sterile female steelhead at its various fish farms, or net pens, in the Puget Sound region, including at Hope Island near the Kukutali Preserve portion of Deception Pass State Park.

The company is being forced to consider new options for its farms due to a decision from the state Legislature to phase out Atlantic salmon farming through 2022, in response to the collapse of one of Cooke’s farms in August 2017.

That farm was located at Cypress Island and its collapse — deemed through a state investigation to have been caused by the negligence of the company — allowed hundreds of thousands of the nonnative fish into area waters.

Cooke applied for permits for steelhead farming from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, which is taking public comment as part of an environmental review process.

Fish & Wildlife opened public comment Oct. 1 and has twice extended the deadline due to the amount of public interest.

 

Bacon announces bid for Island County Commissioner

Island County Human Resources Director Melanie Bacon announced she will run for the Island County Commissioner District 1 seat in the 2020 election as a Democrat. District 1 is the South Whidbey seat currently held by Helen Price-Johnson, who is running for state Senate in 2020.

In a news release, Bacon said she wants to continue the forward movement established by Price-Johnson and other community leaders. 

“Each day I witness the cooperative work of the current Board of Island County Commissioners,” she said, “and I am determined to maintain and encourage that important bipartisan effort to benefit everyone who calls Whidbey or Camano Island their home.”

 

Court: State not at fault for bridge collapse

The state Supreme Court ruled Oct. 31 that the state cannot be held at fault for the vehicle crash that caused the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River to collapse in 2013.

On May 23 of that year, a truck carrying an oversized load struck an overhead support beam of the bridge, causing the structure to fall into the water. No one died, but three people in two vehicles plunged into the water.

The state sued the

Canadian trucking company, Mullen Trucking 2005 Ltd., and the company counter-sued, saying the state was partially at fault and should have to pay some of the damages.

Mullen Trucking said the state was negligent in issuing a permit for the load and in its maintenance of the bridge.

In a 5-4 decision, the court pointed to a state law that says vehicle owners or operators must exercise due care in making sure their vehicles can pass under a structure and that the state can’t be held liable for damages caused by an over-height vehicle.

 

Cypress Island eyed as whale sanctuary

An international nonprofit with the goal of establishing the first whale sanctuary in the world is eyeing a local location.

The Whale Sanctuary Project envisions building a sanctuary for orca whales released from entertainment facilities at Deepwater Bay on the east side of Cypress Island.

Possible candidates include the last surviving Southern Resident orca taken from the Salish Sea decades ago and still living at Miami Seaquarium — an orca known as Lolita or Tokitae.

The idea is to enclose about 100 acres of Deepwater Bay in two sets of mesh netting anchored to the bottom and attached to buoys at the top. That space would be expected to accommodate up to six released orcas permanently, as well as have space that could be used to rehabilitate wild Southern Resident orcas.

 

Enrollment is Open for GET Program

Washington’s GET program is open for a new enrollment period, providing families an opportunity to start saving for future college costs while their children are young. The 2019-2020 enrollment period runs through May 31, 2020, with a unit purchase price of $121.

As a 529 prepaid tuition program, Washington guarantees that a family’s GET savings will keep pace with in-state tuition and state-mandated fees. While GET account values keep pace with in-state tuition, beneficiaries have the freedom to follow their ambitions wherever they choose, as GET can be used at nearly any public or private university, community college, or technical school in the country.

For more information, visit get.wa.gov.

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