Community Extra: Applause

  • Mon Mar 26th, 2012 9:12pm
  • News


Terrace team helps Nicaraguan school

Mountlake Terrace High School’s FIRST Robotics Team 1778, “Chill Out,” has collected school supplies to send to Villa Esperanza, a rescue home and school for homeless girls in Managua, Nicaragua.

Team 1778 actively encourages education in local communities, but decided to help other countries as well. During the six weeks that they were building a robot, the team gathered, with the help of Staples, about $500 worth of school supplies to send to Nicaragua.

South Whidbey student donates bench to preserve

Quintin Viers, a senior at South Whidbey High School, designed, constructed and installed a handcrafted bench for the Del Fairfax Forest Preserve as his senior project.

Milled on the island using local wood products, the bench provides a spot to rest and enjoy the preserve’s “magic meadow,” said officials with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, which owns the Fairfax Preserve.

The Del Fairfax Preserve is located southwest of Oak Harbor. For directions go to and click on “Projects.”

Food bank campaign gains momentum

Arlington Rotary Club, Arlington Hardware and Master Marine of Mount Vernon have launched a fishing boat package raffle to benefit the Arlington Food Bank’s building fund.

The boat, motor and trailer are on display at the hardware store on Olympic Avenue in downtown Arlington.

Tickets, which can be purchased at the hardware store, are $5 or five tickets for $20. Sales have been brisk, said store manager Taylor Jones. When people buy tickets, they often mention their gratitude for the food bank, Jones said.

The drawing for the boat is on June 9 at Arlington’s car show.

Senior living community gives to vet program

Cascadian Place senior living community in Everett recently made a $390 donation to the Outward Bound for Veterans program.

Outward Bound for Veterans is a nonprofit program that helps returning members of the military and recent veterans adjust to life at home by providing challenging wilderness trips, which encourage healing and help build confidence.

To learn more about the Outward Bound program, go to

Housing Hope dinner raises $29,000

Housing Hope hosted its eighth annual East County Community of Hope Dinner on March 15. The event raised more than $29,000 and had a record number of event sponsors and guests.

Event sponsors Harvey Airfield, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, Harmsen &Associates, Lakeside Industries, Monroe Rotary, KeyBank Foundation, KeyBank Monroe, Woods Creek Consulting Company and C. Don Filer Agency offset event costs so that all money raised at the event directly supports homeless families in east Snohomish County.

Housing Hope this year marks 25 years of providing safe, decent, affordable housing for homeless and low-income families of Snohomish County and Camano Island.

More information is at

Camano man helps coffee growers

Jeff Ericson of Camano Island is working to help coffee growers in third world countries.

The average coffee farmer in Central American countries makes about 30 cents per pound of coffee, Ericson said. Most coffee growers don’t own their farmland and often live in poverty, he said.

Ericson’s company, Camano Island Coffee Roasters, has formed a partnership with Agros International of Seattle, a non-profit organization that helps coffee farmers in Central America and Mexico buy their own farmland. Argos also provides health care services and agricultural training so that they can grow organic, fairly traded and shade-grown coffee, Ericson said.


State parks commission recognizes volunteers

The state Parks and Recreation Commission has announced the recipients of the 2011 Volunteer Recognition Awards for outstanding volunteer service.

State Parks works with volunteers throughout the state to continue enhancing agency efficiency and to stretch funding. Last year, volunteers performed 271,260 hours of work, equal to 130 full-time employees.

Among the winners are the following people from the region:

Sammye Kempbell of Coupeville was named volunteer of the year. Kempbell has cared for the tide pools at Deception Pass State Park’s Rosario beach and provided interpretation for guests for the past eight years. Kempbell has volunteered more than 300 hours at the tide pools for nearly every low-tide during summer. She also assisted the interpretive specialist with school group visits in the spring.

Rick Colombo of Stanwood is the rookie volunteer of the year. After 30 years in the Navy, Colombo volunteered as an interpretive intern at Deception State Park last year to gain experience for his next career, working as a parks professional. After graduating from Beach Naturalist Training, he organized a volunteer cadre to lead beach walks throughout the summer. He and his fellow naturalists talked to more than 12,000 visitors during low tides. Colombo also presented Junior Ranger programs every Saturday during the summer, presented programs at the amphitheater to hundreds of visitors each Saturday evening and a variety of other duties.

Christine Longdon of Stanwood was honored with the award for the outstanding contribution by an individual. She began volunteering in 2008 by presenting marine and environmental education programs at Camano Island and Cama Beach state parks, including programs for the second-grade education days in 2009 and at the 2010 October Harvest Festival. She organized the event CamOcean in 2010, to align with World Ocean Day and spent nearly five months preparing for the event, which attracted 3,622 visitors.

Whidbey Island Retired Chief Petty Officer Association of Oak Harbor earned the group of the year award. Association volunteers have worked at Rasar State Park since 2001, contributing a total of 2,100 hours. In 2011 the group officially adopted the park. They have maintained trails, added recreational amenities, revitalized natural resources, removed 4,000 feet of barbed wire and replaced it with a habitat-friendly wire to protect wildlife. In 2011, the firewood sales were higher than normal, and the park was going to run out of wood before the busy Labor Day weekend. The ranger contacted the RCPOA and a week later 197 bundles of firewood were produced, which resulted in adding $1,379 to the park funds.

To submit news for the Applause column, contact reporter Gale Fiege at 425-339-3427;