Increase in reports of shellfish-linked infections

Hot temperatures and low tides are the perfect recipe for a spike in illnesses linked to shellfish.

The Snohomish Health District has received 10 reports of vibriosis since July 1. For the same period last year, only two such reports were received. Vibriosis is an intestinal disease caused by the Vibrio bacteria found in fish and shellfish. The bacteria multiply rapidly in warm conditions, and shellfish concentrate them in their tissues.

Most cases reported to the Health District since July 1 involved eating raw oysters harvested in Washington. These may have been purchased from a business or harvested by individuals.

The state Department of Health urges people to check the online Shellfish Safety Map before harvesting shellfish at a beach. Information: fortress.wa.gov/doh/biotoxin/biotoxin.html

State adds jobs in June

Washington’s economy added 24,100 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.2%, according to the Employment Security Department.

For June, the monthly unemployment rate for Snohomish County was 6.1%, and in Island County, the rate was 5.3%, according to ESD.

Overdose rates on pace to break another record in 2021

Fentanyl-related overdoses are increasing across the state. Now, state health officials warn that anyone planning to use any drug not purchased at a pharmacy or cannabis dispensary should carry naloxone or keep it near with family or friends. Naloxone is a temporary antidote for fentanyl-related overdoses.

Overdoses are occurring across all age ranges, races and ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, according to health officials. Preliminary data show 418 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2021 compared to 378 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2020. Of the 418 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2021, 46% (191) were linked to fentanyl.

Health officials also urge people to be aware of blue pills marked with "M" and "30" that are being marketed as prescription opioid medication. These pills most likely contain some amount of illicit fentanyl, and their purity and potency can vary widely.

Single-use plastic bag ban begins in October

A statewide plastic bag ban goes into effect Oct. 1. The ban prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags by restaurants, retail stores, small vendors and grocery stores.

Plastic bags are a common form of pollution that threatens human health, wildlife and the environment, according to state officials. Harmful chemicals are released when plastics are produced, used, incinerated or slowly disintegrate into microscopic particles. The bags are also a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling system that clog sorting machines and put worker safety at risk.

The Department of Ecology recommends people invest in reusable bags for groceries or to carry out food from restaurants. Like any reusable item, reusable bags should be washed and properly stored after use.

If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags offered by a merchant, the law requires the business to charge at least 8 cents per bag. That 8-cent-charge is not a tax but a financial incentive for customers to bring their own bags. Merchants keep the money to recoup the costs for more durable,  compliant bags.

Help the state name the next new ferry

Construction of a new, hybrid electric Olympic Class ferry is expected to start in 2022. The new 144-car vessel will need a name and the State Transportation Commission is asking the public for proposals.

Naming proposals must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1. Guidelines and application: wstc.wa.gov

WSU Extension, Natural Resources offer new online classes

Washington State University Extension Forestry and the state Department of Natural Resources are again teaming up to offer a series of free live webinars on all-new forest stewardship topics starting this month.

The classes, which begin July 29, have something for all skill levels, from experienced forest managers to novices who are just learning how to engage with their lands.

The classes follow the same model as the 2020 virtual offerings from WSU Extension and Natural Resources, which won both the Gold and Silver Awards from the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals, a nationwide association.

Snohomish County Council adopts ordinance for military differential pay

The Snohomish County Council voted to provide differential pay to county employees who are reservists in the United States Armed Forces.

At the public hearing on July 21, the ordinance passed the Council on a unanimous vote. When county employees are deployed, often times their military salaries are lower than their county salary which can create financial hardship for their families while they are serving our nation. The changes to county code adopted will allow reservists to receive the difference between their county salary and their military pay while they are deployed.

U.S.-Canada border closure continues

Last week, the U.S. government extended the closure of land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel such as tourism through Aug. 21. The latest 30-day extension by the Department of Homeland Security came after Canada said it would start allowing in fully vaccinated U.S. visitors on Aug. 9 for non-essential travel.

"I am extremely disappointed by the federal government’s announcement today that the U.S. border with Canada will remain closed through at least Aug. 21," Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement on July 21. "This continued closure will result in continued hardship for Washingtonians living in border communities, including in Point Roberts. As I have expressed repeatedly in communications with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, the time has come to at least partially reopen the U.S.-Canada border, and I will continue to advocate for relief for border communities in Washington state."

Pets

Annabella awaits at NOAH

Annabella is cautious around new people but quickly warms up once she becomes comfortable in her surroundings. This young kitty gets along well with other cats and can be playful and frisky. She would be an excellent addition to a feline-loving home.

Appointments: 360-629-7055

Meet Bernie at CASA

Bernie is 4-month old husky-mix who is looking for a forever home with an active family willing to train him. He has lots of energy and needs a large fenced yard for playtime. Bernie requires lots of attention, and prospective families must have experience with huskies or other large, active breeds to succeed with this special guy.

Appointments: 360-387-1902

People

Academic Honors

Sara R. Newman of Stanwood was awarded an $8,500 fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Newman received a bachelor's degree in biology from Pacific Lutheran University and will pursue a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Rebecca Lynn Rustand of Camano Island was named to the Pacific University Dean's List for 2021 spring semester. Rustand graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Katlyn Marie Tew of Stanwood graduated as a Doctor of Optometry from the College of Optometry at Pacific University, 2021 spring semester.

Legislative appointments

Camano Island state Rep. Greg Gilday was recently appointed to the Office of Homeless Youth and Prevention and Protection Advisory Committee, the Ruckelshaus Center Work Group on Homelessness and Housing, and the Joint Legislative Unanticipated Revenue Oversight Committee. 

Meetings

Island County Commissioners

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

North County Regional Fire Authority Board of Commissioners

North County Regional Fire Authority Board of Commissioners meets at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, at Station 99, 8117 267th St. NW, Stanwood. Information: 360-629-2184 

Stanwood City Council

The City Council meets online at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, on Zoom. Information: stanwoodwa.org

Camano Island Fire & Rescue Board of Commissioners

Camano Island Fire and Rescue Board meets at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9, at the Administration office, 811 N. Sunrise Blvd., Camano Island. Information: camanofire.com

Island County Planning Commission

Island County Planning Commission meets at 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9.

Stanwood-Camano School Board

The Stanwood-Camano School Board will hold a virtual Special Meeting study session at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, on Zoom. Information: stanwood.wednet.edu

The Stanwood-Camano School Board meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3 with in-person attendance following current COVID safety protocols at the Administration office, 26920 Pioneer Highway, Stanwood and on Zoom. Information: stanwood.wednet.edu

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