Bus-service expansion OK'd; Alderwood Mall to see boost

Bus-service expansion OK'd; Alderwood Mall to see boost

EVERETT — The Community Transit board voted last week to make what are perhaps the biggest route changes in its 25-year history.

The changes, to begin in February, will double service to Alderwood Mall but require Shoreline-to-Everett passengers to transfer during nonpeak hours. Four bus lines that carry about 70 percent of Community Transit riders — Routes 210, 610, 620 and 621 — will be changed, along with their numbers.

Only two people spoke at a public hearing Thursday to consider the bus-route changes, agency spokeswoman Kristin Kinnamon said.

The transit board also held a public hearing about next year's budget, which is expected to grow from $63 million to $75 million. Some of the additional money will come from a 0.3-cent sales-tax increase voters approved last year.

Board members decided to continue their discussion of the budget because no one testified. The board will consider the budget again at a 3 p.m. meeting Dec. 3 at its offices at 7100 Hardeson Road, Everett.

State health department honors county HIV-AIDS educator

EVERETT — The state Department of Health has named a Snohomish County health educator as its 2002 HIV-AIDS Educator of the Year for Region 3.

Brenda Newell was recognized for her ability to bring together organizations to prevent the spread of HIV among high-risk populations and youths.

Newell has been with the Snohomish Health District since 2000, delivering "strong messages about preventing HIV-AIDS," said Dr. M. Ward Hinds, health officer for the district.

Before joining the district, Newell worked extensively in counseling and crisis intervention for abused women and children. Her volunteer work includes community education on domestic violence.

This is the third year a Snohomish Health District employee has won the award.

The Region 3 AIDS Service Network covers Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. Its main office is housed with the Snohomish Health District headquarters at 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett.

Everett Amtrak passenger trains begin running through Everett Station

Amtrak has begun service to Everett Station, the new $45 million center designed to link passenger rail with local mass transit.

Everett Station opened in February and passenger-train service was supposed to begin in July. But Amtrak first had to negotiate the construction of a spur track from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's main line east of the station, Amtrak station manager Rich Mason said.

Passengers from Everett can travel daily along the Empire Builder route connecting Seattle with Chicago or the Cascades route connecting Vancouver, B.C., with Eugene, Ore. These two routes previously ran through the Bond Street station, which is west of downtown Everett.

The new station on Pacific Avenue has two advantages over the Bond Street stop: more space and a central location where passengers can transfer to Sound or Everett Transit buses.

Project director Paul Kaftanski said bus ridership had increased 30 percent since Greyhound opened a terminal at the station and he expects an increase in Amtrak ridership as well. If that happens, Amtrak plans to have five trains a day on the Cascades line stop in Everett instead of two, Mason said.

The station's next project will be to offer service on the Sounder train connecting Tacoma and Seattle. That project should be completed by December 2003, Kaftanski said.

Health and Wellness Fair offers glimpse of new ideas in fitness

The Everett Chamber of Commerce will present its first Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday at Everett Community College.

The all-day event will provide opportunities to learn a variety of ways to stay physically, mentally and spiritually fit. The fair will feature new fitness practices and classes including cardio blast, Nia, Pilates, Jazzercize, belly dancing, Reiki, awareness through movement, body-rolling electrobics and various types of yoga. In addition, topics of discussion will include feng shui, meditation, relaxation therapy, nutrition and stress management.

The fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St.

Admission is free.

Agency seeks holiday donations of new toys, clothing, money

The Adopt-a-Family program is looking for sponsors to help families in need celebrate the holiday season.

Deaconess Children's Services is accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys and clothing, gift certificates and cash contributions for the holiday program. Last year's Adopt-a-Family drive gave to more than 150 Snohomish County families supported by Deaconess' parenting-education and outreach programs.

For more information or to participate, call Deaconess at 425-259-0146.

Marysville Annexation's passage shows single vote can mean a lot

MARYSVILLE — A single vote has approved the proposed annexation of 175 acres west of the city, an area that includes Gissberg Twin Lakes County Park.

Only one person — one of two registered voters who live in the property — cast a ballot on the annexation proposal Nov. 5.

The area, which also includes about 100 acres of farmland, is within Marysville's urban-growth area and designated for residential development, according to city officials. The land is north of 156th Street Northeast, west of Interstate 5, east of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks and south of 164th Street Northeast.

The farmland's owners, who don't live on the property, had petitioned the city to annex the land, city planner Cheryl Dungan said, but they were thwarted by a state Supreme Court ruling that requires annexations to be decided by election.

The City Council passed a resolution placing the proposed annexation on the ballot.

Annexations near airport passing; West Bluff failing

ARLINGTON — Proposed annexations in two neighborhoods near the Arlington Airport were passing and another proposal was failing after last week's election.

Final results are expected Tuesday.

Voters appeared to approve the Edgecomb and Kazala annexations but to reject the West Bluff annexation. The proposals require 60 percent majorities to pass.

The proposed annexations would rezone the three areas from agricultural to residential and industrial-commercial, allowing developers to build houses in Edgecomb and businesses or light industry in Kazala and West Bluff.

Ballots were cast only among voters in each neighborhood. The areas are part of the city's urban-growth area, which means the land is targeted for eventual annexation.

Snohomish Sewer-line project fails to make cut for state loan

State budget shortfalls could postpone the city's plans to build a $9 million sewer line.

Last spring, the city applied for a $6.8 million loan from the state Public Works Board to help pay for the Cemetery Creek sewer line. The line would serve businesses along Bickford Avenue and neighborhoods north and west of the city where growth is forecast.

The board provides low-interest loans for water, sewer and road projects, which are ranked by health, safety and environmental issues. This year, the board had money for the top 27 projects at a total cost of nearly $72 million. Snohomish just missed the cut, with its project ranking 30th on the board's list, said John LaRocque, the board's executive director.

City officials learned of the board's decision last week. Because the project isn't slated for construction until late next year, City Manager Larry Bauman said the setback may cause only minimal delays.

He said the city is exploring other options, including state and federal loans.

Annexation's apparent approval eases city's budget worries

Voters' apparent approval of the Bickford Avenue annexation could help the city restore service cuts expected because of a projected 2003 budget shortfall.

The annexation, on the Nov. 5 ballot, would allow Snohomish to annex an area that is home to Bickford Motors, along Bickford Avenue, northwest of the city. The measure would generate an additional $400,000 to $450,000 in sales-tax revenue for Snohomish.

As of late Friday, the measure was passing. Final election results are expected Nov. 19, which is when the city staff will present revised figures for next year's budget.

City Manager Larry Bauman said he did not recommend a budget based on the additional revenue from the annexation, but he has acknowledged that next year's budget "could be significantly changed" if the annexation passed. Late last week, Bauman said it would be premature to discuss what impact the annexation might have before the outcome of the election is known.

The city's 2003 budget will feel the impact of voter-approved Initiatives 776 and 790, Bauman said. I-776, which limits car-tab fees to a flat $30, could mean a loss of about $76,000 for the city next year. The city could also lose up to $75,000 in 2003 from I-790, which would give police officers and firefighters more control over their pensions and benefits.

There may be other ways to absorb the losses, Bauman added, one of which is a proposed base-rate increase for water service, from $16.40 to $17.25 per month per household.

TODAY: The Snohomish School Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Resource and Service Center boardroom, 1601 Ave. D. Information: 360-563-7280.


Sky Valley classes include crafts, conflict management

The Monroe School District is offering a new round of Sky Valley Community Schools enrichment classes for the public beginning this week.

Classes will include video creation with a personal computer, holiday-angel art, communication-conflict management, downsizing personal belongings and Christmas gift albums.

The program also offers more than 100 online classes, which can be viewed at www.ed2go.com/svcs. Online classes begin the second Wednesday of each month for six weeks. Information: www.monroe.wednet.edu or 360-794-3006.

Monroe High School seeks ideas for using Gates Foundation grant

Monroe High School will host a community forum tonight to continue discussing uses for a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. and focus on considering smaller learning communities at the high school. Different models to use also will be presented.

Refreshments will be served. Information: 360-794-3000.

Thanks to company's donation, food bank to offer holiday meals

Thanks to a donation by a cabinet company, the Sky Valley Food Bank will again be able to distribute Thanksgiving turkeys with all the trimmings.

Facing fewer donations and an increase in families needing food — more than 470 a month, compared with 350 a month last year — food-bank operators decided to maintain regular service rather than splurge on Thanksgiving and then cut back.

Then, last week, the 450 employees of Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. gave $5,503 in cash and 1,200 pounds of food.

The unexpected generosity will ensure Thanksgiving-dinner fixings — turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, canned pumpkin, vegetables and canned fruit — for about 400 families, food bank director Julie Morris said.

"They'll not only have Thanksgiving food but a minimum of 10 meals during the Thanksgiving week," Morris said.

TODAY: The Monroe City Council will discuss budget appropriations during a work session that starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of City Hall, 806 W. Main St.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: The Monroe City Council will hold a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 806 W. Main St.