Schenk Packing Co. asks Stanwood to annex 9 acres
Schenk Packing Co. applied to annex two parcels zoned general industrial totaling about 9 acres into north Stanwood. The parcels would remain zoned as general industrial and are southwest of 288th Street NW and 80th Avenue NW.
An informational meeting will be part of the online council meeting Sept. 24.
The public can submit written comment by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23: email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to City of Stanwood, 10220 270th St. NW, Stanwood, WA 98292.
Find details at stanwoodwa.org under Public Notice.
Grants available to Island County nonprofits, public agencies
The Island County Board of Commissioners are releasing an additional $400,000 from the federal CARES Act. The money will target organizations helping community members experiencing hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is available to nonprofit and public programs to help sustain services and support programs for those in need. Applications are due Monday, Sept. 21.
Information and applications: email@example.com.
Unemployment initial claims up for week
From Aug. 30-Sept. 5, there were 20,006 initial regular unemployment claims, up 10.1% from the prior week. In total, there were 531,425 total jobless claims, down 6.5% from the prior week, according to the Employment Security Department.
Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 299% above last year’s weekly new claims applications, according to ESD.
In Snohomish County, initial regular claims filed increased from 1,911 to 2,391, up 25% from the prior week. In Island County, initial regular claims filed increased from 118 to 124, up 6% from the prior week.
Skagit Valley College offering worker retraining program for unemployed
Skagit Valley College is offering new, online options for fall quarter for unemployed workers. The Worker Retraining program has classes for those unemployed from aerospace, construction, logging, retail, hospitality, and other industries. Students often may continue receiving unemployment benefits while attending SVC and sometimes receive a benefits extension. Tuition, books, and school-related fees are provided to those who qualify.
Registration is underway and classes start Sept. 22. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation helps with school needs
Families with school-age children facing the uncertainties of the coming school year are getting help from the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. The foundation is funding books, computers and Wi-Fi hotspots to support families through a new initiative called the Opportunity Fund.
“We developed this fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its continued impact on Sno-Isle communities across Snohomish and Island counties,” Foundation Executive Director Paul Pitkin said. “With our funding, we are partnering with professionals at Sno-Isle Libraries and community-based service agencies to address literacy and technology needs for families and students.”
To identify recipients, Sno-Isle Libraries staff members have connected with local school districts, including Stanwood-Camano. Information: sno-islefoundation.org
Researchers celebrate birth of orca calf
Researchers and whale enthusiasts recently confirmed the birth of a new orca calf, which brings with it hope for the region's dwindling population of Southern Resident orcas. "It gave everybody such a feeling of hope and joy," Kelley Balcomb-Bartok, communications director for the Pacific Whale Watch Association said.
According to the Friday Harbor-based Center for Whale Research, the calf was born into the region's J pod — one of three family groups known to frequent the waters of the Salish Sea this time of the year. J57's birth brings the Southern Resident population to 73, the release states. Another female in the pod, J41, is also pregnant.
The Southern Resident orca population — which consists of J, K and L pods — was listed as endangered in 2005 for a variety of reasons, including lack of food. While the Southern Resident orcas have not been seen much in the area this year, when they have been spotted most of them seem to be healthy and well-nourished, indicating they are finding a food source elsewhere, Balcomb-Bartok said.
Construction schedule near Cavalero boat launch changes
On Sept. 1, the Camano Island Road Shop began construction to update the drainage system for the Simonson Place Outfall Project and to improve the boat launch. The project begins 110 feet east of the Simonson Place-Cavalero Road intersection and ends at the sea wall near Cavalero Beach parking lot. During construction, delays should be anticipated and planned for accordingly.
Replacement of the boat ramp panels will begin on Sept. 14, and will continue through Sept. 18. During this time, the boat ramp will be unavailable to the public.
Island County Public Works will now close Simonson Place from Sept. 28 through Oct. 9 — a week later than previously announced.
Ecology seeks comment on proposed changes to oil movement rules
The public can comment on proposed changes to expand the reporting requirements for companies in the state receiving crude oil by rail and pipeline. The changes would require facilities to report the type and vapor pressure of the oil transported by rail, and the type and gravity of the oil transported by pipeline, among other changes. The updated standards will help the state Department of Ecology and emergency responders better understand the oil moved through the state and prepare for a potential spill, according to an Ecology news release.
A majority of the crude oil by rail transported through the state moves through Stanwood en route to refineries to the north. From April to June 2020, 10,283 crude oil railcars moved through the area, equivalent to 6,992,440 barrels or 293,682,480 gallons, according to a quarterly report from Ecology on crude oil movement by rail and pipeline.
The public can comment on the proposed changes via webinars on Oct. 7, 13 and 20. Written comments can be submitted online or mailed to Kim Morley, Department of Ecology, Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 1. See more at ecology.wa.gov.
Comments sought on Cooke Aquaculture permit
The state Department of Ecology is accepting comments on a draft permit that would allow Cooke Aquaculture to raise steelhead trout in four net pens in Puget Sound, including one near Hope Island in Skagit County. The aquaculture company wants to raise all-female, lab-sterilized steelhead instead of Atlantic salmon, which the state is phasing out by 2022 in response to the 2017 collapse of one of Cooke’s net farms near Cypress Island in Skagit County.
An online hearing Oct. 14 will allow the public an opportunity to learn about and comment on the draft water quality permit. Comment will be taken through Oct. 26. All documents and hearing information can be found at ecology.wa.gov/NetPenPermit, and comments can be submitted online.
Following the comment period, Ecology will review public feedback and determine if further modifications to the permit are needed.
Registered voters in Washington do not need to request a mail-in ballot
Washington state voters may soon receive a postcard from the U.S. Postal Service encouraging voters to “plan ahead” for the Nov. 3 General Election. Among the recommendations is to request a mail-in or absentee ballot at least 15 days before Election Day.
“Voters in Washington do not need to request a ballot, as ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters at least 18 days prior to Election Day. There is no need to sign up or request to receive a mail-in ballot to vote in the upcoming election,” Secretary of State Kim Wyman said.
Voters who are unsure if they are registered or if their address on file is current can log in to VoteWA.gov to confirm registration information. Visit sos.wa.gov/elections for more information about election dates and deadlines. The General Election is Nov. 3.
Food stamps scam alert
U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an alert that people are receiving text messages saying they were chosen to receive food stamps or SNAP benefits. Never share personal information via text. Contact the local DSHS office to verify eligibility: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/office-locations
SnoCo rated for digital excellence
The Center for Digital Government and National Association for Counties announced the winners of the 18th annual Digital Counties Survey. Snohomish County won third place in the 500,000-999,999 population category.
Counties are rated for best technology practices in areas of open government, transparency, citizen engagement, cyber security and operations. In the last three years Snohomish County has ranked in the Top 10 counties for technology achievement including winning first place in 2019.
Snohomish County received the award for its innovative solutions to the challenges faced by local government. The county’s CIO and director of the Department of Information Technology, Viggo Forde, set out to change the culture of government technology and to utilize a more collaborative approach to addressing the various IT needs.
Snohomish County adopted a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to keep data more secure and protect the continuity of government operations. In addition, the county’s annual Information Services Plan and Report is used as a model for other counties.
City of Stanwood
The Stanwood City Council next meets online at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. The meeting is open to the public. Find a link at stanwoodwa.org.
Those who want to make written public comments for the council meeting must register by 9 a.m. Sept. 24 online or by phone: stanwoodwa.org/266/City-Council or 360-454-5213.
The Stanwood City Planning Commission next meets online at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. Find a link at stanwoodwa.org.
Island County Commissioners
Island County Commissioners meet on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Videos can be viewed at islandcountywa.gov/commissioners.
Stanwood-Camano School Board
The Stanwood-Camano School Board will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 15, via Zoom. Information at stanwood.wednet.edu.
Meet Xena at CASA
This one-year-old female German shepherd is high energy and loves to be taken on long walks exploring the wilderness. She is used to living on acreage, so her ideal home would be in the country or a home with a secure, large fenced yard. Xena would thrive in a home with older teens or adults who can remain calm when she get rambunctious. Xena would do best in a home with no cats or small animals. She is known to get along with other dogs but will need to meet prospective canine friends to ensure compatibility before adoption.
Call CASA at 360-387-1902 to schedule an appointment.