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Fish and Wildlife, Snohomish County partner for waterfowl hunting access

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Snohomish County are working together to provide more public access for waterfowl hunting and other outdoor recreation in the lower Snohomish Delta.

Smith Island, a 320-acre property owned by Snohomish County within the Snohomish River estuary near Everett, is now open to the public from Oct. 1 to Feb. 28 annually. For site details, including information about site rules, parking, boat access, and safety zones, visit Fish and Wildlife's website. 

“This partnership is a great example of agencies working together to achieve multiple goals,” Brendan Brokes, Fish and Wildlife's north Puget Sound regional director said. “Smith Island offers great waterfowl hunting opportunity close to Everett, while providing high-quality habitat for Snohomish river system salmon. We look forward to working with local governments on more partnerships in the future.”

In 2018, Smith Island underwent a habitat restoration project that reestablished historic tidal marshlands to provide critical habitat for threatened Chinook salmon. In addition to improved salmon habitat, several wildlife species benefit from restored estuary, including waterfowl and shorebirds.

Minimum wage increases to $13.69 per hour 

The state’s minimum wage increased to $13.69 per hour on Jan. 1. The wage is based on a 1.39% increase over the last 12 months in the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers.

The state minimum wage applies to workers age 16 and older. Under state law, employers can pay 85% of the minimum wage to workers ages 14-15. For 2021, the wage for the younger age group will be $11.64 per hour. 

Sno-Park use soars causing congestion and questions

The Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program and regional park staff are reporting record visits at Sno-Parks across the state. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to limit indoor entertainment and gatherings, people are flocking to the outdoors, despite dropping temperatures. This has caused parking lots in high snow areas to fill up early and cars have become stuck. The uptick in new winter visitors has also caused confusion over right-of-way on mixed-use trails.

State Parks urges winter recreationists to plan trips with potential issues such as crowds, parking, closures, openings and vehicle-type access in mind. Skiers and snowmobilers are advised to stay on the trails groomed for them, and all visitors should practice appropriate right-of-way trail etiquette.

Weekly unemployment initial claims up

From Dec. 20-26, there were 19,192 initial regular unemployment claims, up 9.1% from the prior week. In total, there were 497,370 total jobless claims, up 8.4% from the prior week, according to the Employment Security Department.

Initial regular claims applications remain at elevated levels and are at 92% above last year’s weekly new claims applications.

In Snohomish County, initial regular claims filed increased from 1,659 to 1,823, up 9.9% from the prior week. In Island County, those claims filed increased from 134 to 138, up 3% from the prior week.

SVC program to help Running Start students pay for books and student fees

Skagit Valley College has been awarded $32,270 by the Washington Student Achievement Council for a one-year pilot program designed to assist SVC’s Running Start students. The SVC Running Start Pilot Scholarship will support student success by covering the cost of books, course materials and/or student fees for eligible students during the 2020-21 academic year.

If a student is enrolled in a workforce program, the scholarship can also cover the cost of tools, lab and course fees and work clothes. The program is designed to help low-income families and improve access to Running Start. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and who have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, are eligible for the scholarship.

Washington State Patrol is hiring

The Washington State Patrol will hire 60 new trooper cadets and 24 commercial vehicle enforcement officers in the next six months and invites interested individuals to apply. The next Trooper Academy class starts July 12, and paid job training opportunities across the state are available immediately for those chosen to join the patrol.

Information: wsp.wa.gov

People

Island Transit welcomes new marketing and communications officer

Island Transit announced that Selene Muldowney-Stratton has been selected as its new marketing and communications officer. This newly established position will focus on the practical application and management of the organization’s marketing and communications operations. Muldowney-Stratton is a long-time Island County resident with a background in public relations, community outreach and marketing. She will serve as the agency’s media contact.

Meetings

Island County Commissioners

Island County Commissioners meet on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Visit islandcountywa.gov/commissioners.

Stanwood-Camano School Board

The Stanwood-Camano School Board will hold a regular meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, via Zoom. Information: stanwood.wednet.edu

Stanwood Planning Commission

The city’s Planning Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11 on Zoom. Information: stanwoodwa.org.

Stanwood City Council

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 on Zoom. Information: stanwoodwa.org.

Pets

Meet Paco at CASA

Paco is an 8-month-old Siberian husky who loves to run and play. He would make a great hiking or running partner. Paco is friendly but is very rambunctious and will do best in a home without small children. Paco needs an experienced dog owner willing to spend time training him. He will need to meet any dogs from a perspective forever home to ensure compatibility.

Appointments: 360-629-7055.

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