Oso slide memorial

A sketch of the proposed Oso slide memorial after officials met with families, survivors, responders and volunteers to further refine the design and develop content for the Memorial.

Anti-trafficking initiative announced 

Hope Unlimited will announce a new anti-trafficking initiative during a community information meeting Saturday, March 31, 2 p.m. in Striv Coffeehouse in the YMCA, 7208 267th St. NW Ste. A-103 in Stanwood. Learn how to protect kids and the extent of the human trafficking problem in the community. Free.

Skagit County Coalition Against Human Trafficking Conference will conduct a larger information session with guest speakers Thursday, April 12, 8 a.m. to noon at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, 12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes. RSVP for April 12 by email to dianegoetz4@comcast.net.

 

Grants offered for paving projects

Island Regional Transportation Planning Organization is taking applications for $300,000 of set-aside funding from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program for federal fiscal year 2018. 

Governments and transportation, transit and education agencies can use grant money for projects to preserve and improve the transportation system that are consistent regional priorities and prioritized for 2019-2025. 

Island RTPO will administer the funds, which may be utilized on any federal-aid highway or other STBG qualifying facility in need of maintenance paving work.

The Paving Set-Aside Grant Application Prospectus is available online at tinyurl.com/IRTPO-Projects. To inquire, contact Brian Wood at 360-678-7959 or at B.wood@co.island.wa.us. Project application deadline is 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. 

 

Apply for internet expansion auction

The Federal Communications Commission is accepting applications until March 30 from all kinds of broadband providers to participate in this summer’s Connect America Fund Phase II reverse auction.

The auction, to begin July 24, will provide up to $1.98 billion in support over the next decade to expand high-speed internet access to up to 1 million homes and small businesses in rural areas, including eight areas of Island County, 181 in Snohomish and 197 in Skagit and some 19,000 rural homes and businesses in Washington without adequate service. 

To apply, see auctions.fcc.gov. For more information, visit fcc.gov/connect-america-fund-phase-ii-auction.

 

Comment on draft housing plan 

Snohomish County has released a draft affordable housing and community development plan for the Snohomish County Urban County Consortium. It is available for review and comment through April 18.

 A public hearing will be held April 6 at noon in Public Meeting Room 2 in the Snohomish County Robert J. Drewel Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett.

The plan includes spending $6.3 million in federal grants to improve housing options and living environments for those in need, including $3 million for affordable housing; $1.7 million for public facility and infrastructure improvements; $664,994 for service programs; and $745,064 for grant planning and administration. 

See the plan at snohomishcountywa.gov, search for Consolidated Plan, or stop by a Sno-Isle library branch. Written comments will be accepted until 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, to Debra May at debra.may@snoco.org or at the Snohomish County Human Services Department in Everett.

 

SnoCo to save $18M with waste contract

Snohomish County Council approved a new solid waste contract March 21 estimated to save taxpayers $18M over 10 years.

The county’s new contract with Republic Services for transport and disposal of solid waste also contains substantial service upgrades.

County Council Vice-Chair Terry Ryan led the contract negotiations, working with Public Works Director Steve Thomsen, Solid Waste Director Matt Zybas, their staff and Council Analyst Jed Gonzales.The new contract can be extended for up to two additional five-year terms for a possible 10-year total extension.

 

Crews to start building SR 20 roundabout

Construction begins Monday, April 2, on the Highway 20 dual roundabout project at Sharpes Corner — the intersection that splits off to Anacortes or to Whidbey Island. Motorists can expect round-the-clock delays and lane closures until July 3.

Washington State Department of Transportation contractor crews from Tapani Inc. will build two new roundabouts near the busy intersection. Construction on the first roundabout will start at the SR 20 and Miller/Gibralter intersection and take about one month to complete.

 

Design revealed for Oso slide memorial 

A permanent memorial to honor the 43 victims of the Oso SR 530 slide in 2014 is moving toward construction at the site. A fundraising campaign was launched Thursday afternoon, March 22, during a presentation of the proposed design at the Steelhead Drive gate near Oso. 

Snohomish County Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism announced plans on behalf of the affected families to construct a memorial to the slide, the victims, community and response efforts. The memorial will incorporate a unique design that doesn’t disturb the ground or the flow of water beneath. The projected cost is $6 million, including design, construction, security and materials, which are estimated to take $3 million of the total.

The memorial is intended to provide a place where families can remember their loved ones and gather on important days. It also will provide answers to visitors who stop at the slide site trying to understand the event. Family members want visitors to not only to find the information they seek about the slide but also to empathize with the victims as loved individuals. 

To donate, visit slidememorial.com, the official, family-endorsed site.

 

County exec renews focus on development

In his annual State of the County address Thursday, March 22, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced a renewed focus on economic development and county reform efforts as part of a broader strategy to diversify the economy and make the county more efficient.

His executive order on tourism and outdoor recreation aims to create a targeted initiative and facilitate a tourism summit, along with an inventory of tourism and outdoor recreation infrastructure and promotion including trails and parks.

Somers’ executive order on agriculture focuses on maintaining prime acreage for growing crops and animals; augmenting production of raw food products; increasing connections between local producers and regional consumers and more involvement in agricultural communities.

“Tourism and agriculture are parts of our past but very important elements to ensure our future prosperity and quality of life,” Somers said.

Working with the County Council and other stakeholders, Snohomish County will strengthen these already dynamic sectors of our economy, benefitting both residents and our natural resources.

 

Tax assistance for low income residents

United Way of Snohomish County is offering tax preparation assistance to low-income families and individuals from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Fridays, through April 13 at Stanwood Library, 9701 271st St. NW. Drop in. Inquire at 360-629-3132.

 

Over 55? Call RSVP 

People age 55 and older can volunteer for a variety of opportunities through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, sponsored by Catholic Community Services.

RSVP seeks volunteers to serve as student mentors, volunteer drivers, Peer to Peer counselors and food bank helpers — just a couple examples of opportunities available. If you 

Studies have found that people who volunteer regularly report better health and happiness. Anyone who has a few hours a week to help someone else, email John McAlpine at johnm@ccsww.org or call 425-374-6374 or 888-240-8572.

 

Premera gives $1.6M to Cocoon House 

Cocoon House has receive a $1.6 million gift from Premera Blue Cross to help build a new homeless youth facility in Everett.

Construction on the new Colby Avenue Youth Center is expected to begin within the next 30 days and has an expected completion of summer 2019. Total construction cost is expected to be $14.2 million, raised through a capital campaign.

The nonprofit’s new facility is expected to become the only housing program of its kind in Snohomish County dedicated to serving homeless young people age 12-24 and families. 

Cocoon House opened in 1991 as an eight-bed emergency shelter. It now provides long-term housing, street outreach and a prevention program. See cocoonhouse.org.

 

SnoCo honored for Paine Field work

Snohomish County was recognized in March for its work to expand commercial activities at Paine Field Airport. 

Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County (EDC) presented County Executive Dave Somers with the Economic Development Champion Award. The annual award is given to public and private entities that are instrumental in building a stronger economy in the greater Puget Sound region.

Port of Seattle received the same award for current efforts to expand and modernize, and for future plans to serve rising demand. And Microsoft was recognized in the private sector for its multi-year campus refresh project that will include 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspace and $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces and green space.

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