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Current issue: OCTOBER 2022
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[cover story] Broom maker. Steve Crosson crafts works of art that are equal parts form and function.

Fichter and Coggins join—and rejoin—Public Works. Gibson Fichter and Terry Coggins have joined Concrete Public Works as new and returning employees in the maintenance worker and director roles, respectively.

Town continues search for new mayor. Concrete Town Council has until Dec. 1 to appoint a new mayor following the departure of former mayor Jason Miller on Aug. 31. Councilmember Marla Reed is serving as mayor pro tem for the next five months. As mayor pro tem, she fulfills mayoral duties, such as running council meetings, signing contracts, and directing town staff. If Concrete can’t find an eligible candidate for mayor by Dec. 1, the Skagit County Commissioners will appoint one for the town, as happened in Hamilton earlier this year.

Town of Concrete chlorinates water system. On Sept. 20, Town of Concrete notified its citizens and executed a chlorination of its water reservoirs after discovering the presence of total coliform bacteria on Sept. 6.

WDFW expands testing for chronic wasting disease. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is expanding its chronic wasting disease surveillance program in eastern Washington’s Region 1, which encompasses Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman counties.

Bates appointed Hamilton mayor. Hamilton’s new mayor has public service running in her veins. The daughter of former Hamilton Mayor Tim Bates—who served the town for 27 years—Mandy Bates said her appointment “has calmed down a lot of the bickering that was going on. A lot of people are familiar with the Bates name and with me. It eases concerns; they know stuff is going to get done the right way.”

General Mills donates Cascadian Farm Home Farm to Rodale Institute. On Sept. 29, General Mills announced it is donating the Cascadian Farm Home Farm near Rockport to new owners, Rodale Institute.

Mushroom Festival to spotlight the fungus among us. Seattle-based Salish Sea Mushrooms will host the Darrington Mushroom Festival on Sat. and Sun., Oct. 29–30, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Darrington Community Center, 570 Sauk Ave. in Darrington.

“Mayor of Marblemount” dies at 96. Friends and family will celebrate the life of Merv Peterson during a graveside service at the Forest Park Cemetery in Concrete on Sat., Oct. 8, at 11 a.m., followed by a get-together at the Marblemount Community Hall. Fondly known as the “Mayor of Marblemount,” Mervyn Peterson was born on Oct. 8, 1925, in Omak, Wash., and lived to see his 96th year.

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September 2022
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[cover story] Mars on her mind. Concrete High School grad has otherworldly aspirations.

Mayor Miller, Economic Development Commission chair, chair pro tem resign. After almost nine years in office, Concrete Mayor Jason Miller resigned from the position during the Aug. 8 Concrete Town Council meeting. His resignation was effective Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m.

“Adopt a Spot” program aims to maintain, beautify common areas. A recently approved program is designed to town staff shoulder the load of maintaining several locations in town, including parks and other common areas.

Town of Concrete has a new Web site. After numerous fits and starts that spanned years, Town of Concrete finally has a new Web site. The site is located at the same URL,, but its design and functionality is far more user-friendly that its predecessor, which was designed and launched in the mid-1990s.

Medically assisted treatment options moves to new location. A collaborative effort by Mount Baker Presbyterian Church and community partners to provide medically assisted treatment has moved to a larger venue. Medically assisted treatment services can now be accessed at 44942 SR 20 (the former Sunrise Services building next to the county shop property at SR 20 and Concrete Sauk Valley Rd.) on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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August 2022
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[cover story] A gentle care. Terry Gifford’s chamomile farm offers rest, comfort, calm, and healing.

Volunteerism booms in Concrete. Town of Concrete is experiencing an unprecedented volunteer boom. More Concrete and Upper Valley residents than usual are turning out for local volunteer projects to contribute to town beautification.

Salary Commission created; Economic Development Commission appointments blocked. During the July 11 Concrete Town Council meeting, Mayor Jason Miller appointed five people to form the town’s first Salary Commission: former town councilmembers Mike Bartel and Jude Dippold, and town citizens Bill Sullivan, Leatha Sullivan, and Jeff Maher. The commission’s first meeting was held on July 28, when its members elected Mike Bartel as chair and Bill Sullivan as chair pro tem.

Cascade Days Grand Marshals named. Dalton Blodgett and Cheri Cook-Blodgett are this year’s Grand Marshals for the Cascade Days Parade.

Police-shooting report sent to county prosecutor. On July 27, Skagit-Island Multiple Agency Response Team investigators sent to Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich their report regarding the Feb. 16 Sedro-Woolley Police shooting of a Concrete man. The man, David A. Babcock, 51, of Concrete, died from from his injury.

Patrick resigns from Hamilton mayor seat; Bates assumes mayoral duties. Former Hamilton Mayor Travis Patrick resigned from the position at the end of the July 12 town council meeting, handing the gavel to Mayor pro tem Mandy Bates.

Mountain Day Celebration, Darrington Car Show, Big August Hoobajoob on tap this month in Darrington.

Softball tournament returns to Newhalem. After a three-year hiatus, the Newhalem Jack-and-Jill Softball Tournament arrived back in town on July 16, with all the raucous fun fans and players have come to expect.

Skagit County adopts moratorium prohibiting off-site compensatory mitigation projects on local farmland. In an effort to protect Skagit Valley’s farmland from the threat of incompatible commercial, residential, and industrial use, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners on July 18 adopted an interim ordinance banning offsite compensatory mitigation on Skagit Valley farmland.

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July 2022
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Infrastructure projects kick off this month. Grant-funded road overlays to begin July 11; sewer lift station repairs start July 20.

Candidates vie for two positions in Legislative District 39. Stiff races are shaping up ahead of the Aug. 22 primary election, with incumbents facing opposition in two key races for Upper Valley voters.

Fly-In returns for three days of fun. The Concrete Old-Fashioned Fly-In has soared back into town. After the pandemic put the event on hold for two years, family-friendly fun for aviation enthusiasts is slated this year for July 15–17, at Mears Field, the Concrete municipal airport.

Concrete sends off seniors. Valedictorian Joens collars $22,000 scholarship.

The joy of music. For Birdsview artist Gretchen Hewitt, music is a way of life.

Quilt show ready. Woolley Fiber Quilters will host its July 15–17 quilt show at Cascade Middle School in Sedro-Woolley.

Janicki to construct new green building in Hamilton. After securing a large contract that requires a new facility and equipment, Janicki Industries has broken ground on a new building in Hamilton to meet the demands of the project.

PSE opens Clubhouse Visitors Center. Puget Sound Energy’s Baker River Hydroelectric Project has a newly renovated visitor center known as the Clubhouse and a new day-use park at the Lake Shannon boat ramp.

Marblemount Conservation Area to host “Open House on the Land.” Skagit Land Trust invites community members to an “Open House on the Land” on July 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marblemount Conservation Area just east of Rockport.

Pressentin Park ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrates improvement project. June 10 drew dozens of people to celebrate the grand reopening of the Pressentin County Park in Marblemount.

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May 2022

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Bear Square Market Village paused for one year. The concept of a “shed market village” in the Bear Square parking lot at 45938 Main St. has been bandied about for several years as a potential hub for small businesses and artisans. Mayor Jason Miller passionately supports the concept; Valerie Stafford, president of the Concrete Chamber of Commerce, just as adamantly opposes it.

Dollar General considering potential store on SR 20 in Concrete. Woodcrest Real Estate Ventures of Ramona, Calif., has proposed a Dollar General store on SR 20 in Concrete.

New director settling in at library. Erica Brown is happy to be here. The Upper Skagit Library director began her tenure with the Concrete library on Aug. 3 last year, and has spent much of her time since “figuring out the baseline for how the library will run in its new location and iteration.”

Semro named to resource center manager position. Stephanie Semro is the new manager for the East County Resource Center in Concrete. On March 1 she replaced former coordinator Claudia Marken, who left the position in January.

CHS students win at WoodFest. Concrete High School Woodshop students flooded this year’s WoodFest event with finely crafted wood projects. One of them took home the top prize.

Baseball swinging for the fences with new head coach. The Concrete High School baseball team has a new coach and a new team. Really new. Bringing the team back after a three-year hiatus is a challenge, said Head Coach Conner Bridgman.

Presenting … Pressentin Park. Pressentin County Park is ready for its close-up. The 40-acre Marblemount staple has come through five years of renovations and emerged a better place for people—and salmon. On June 10 the park will reopen to the public.

Cascadian Farm to remain closed for 2022 season. Cascadian Farm near Rockport will be closed to the public again in 2022, according to farmer manager Tim Colton. Its farm stand and U-pick option also will be closed for the 2022 season. No reason was given for the continued closure.

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