Decades-long battle over the official name of ‘Denali’ continues in congress

 

Alaska's Denali or "The High One." Image-Public Domain

Alaska’s Denali or “The High One.” Image-Public Domain

By GW Rastopsoff | Alaska Native News

June 19, 2013

The congressional name game in regards to the changing of the name of Mount McKinley to the Athabaskan name Denali continues in Congress with Senator Lisa Murkowski commending her colleagues in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for helping advance legislation for the name change.

The Energy committee approved the measure to change Alaska’s mountain to its locally known name of Denali on Tuesday by a voice vote clearing it for consideration by the full Senate.

The battle for the name of North America’s tallest peak has gone on for years. Governor Jay Hamond championed the name changing cause in the 1970s. Alaska’s attempts to change the name of the mountain have been frustrated by the congressional delegates from the state of Ohio since 1975. It was that year that the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name to Denali, and officially requested the name change from the U.S. Board of Geographic Names in Washington.

But, the Secretary of the Interior at that time, Rogers Morton, did not want the name of the mountain to change and so consideration was delayed. By 1977, Morton was no longer at the helm of the Department of Interior. Seemingly, with the obstacle to the name change removed, the Board moved to change the name of Alaska’s mountain.

But, that same year political maneuvering  by Ohio’s Congressman Ralph Regula blocked the name change once more by gathering signatures from every congressional delegate from the state of Ohio.

Again in 1980 amidst the signing of ANILCA by then President Carter, the board of Geographic Names, due to make a ruling in December of 1980, deferred their ruling.

Knowing that the Board of Geographical Names had as its policy that no name change proposals would be considered if legislation is pending in Congress pertaining to the name, Congressman Regula made it a point to submit legislation every two years to Congress. This Ohio tradition was followed by Regula until his retirement in 2009. 

Following Regula’s retirement, U.S. Representatives from Ohio, Betty Sutton and Tim Ryan picked up where Regula left off and continued the tradition of submitting legislation to Congress effectively blocking the Board of Geographical Names consideration.

The name of the mountain did not start as Mount McKinley however, it was originally called Densmore’s Mountain after a gold prospector named Frank Densmore in 1889. That name did not stick and it was named Mount McKinley by another prospector named William Dickey in 1897.

After the measure was passed by a voice vote on Tuesday, Senator Murkowski released a statement, “In Alaska, we don’t refer to it as Mount McKinley; we just call it Denali. That’s what we’ve called it for decades and decades,” Murkowski said. “We, as Alaskans, aren’t shy about reminding folks about how big and how beautiful Denali is, and that it’s ours. Making Denali the official name of America’s tallest mountain really means something to Alaskans.”

Senator Murkowski’s bill, S 155 would make the name Denali, which means “The High One” in Koyukon Athabaskan the official name of Alaska’s tallest peak.

Last year, Lou Yost, the board’s executive secretary said of the name change dispute, “Some names will cause some emotions and some consternation, but I don’t think we’ve had any that have gone on this long, or (at) that high of a level.”

Cherokee hopes to make inmates pay their own way

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians could make the inmates housed in its future jail pay — literally.

19 June 2013

Written by  Caitlin Bowling

 

The tribe is considering a plan to garnish casino dividends of tribal members who find themselves spending quality time in Cherokee’s clink to help cover their room and board. Tribal Council members passed a resolution earlier this month giving the tribe’s attorney general the OK to draft sample legislation along those lines. Once written, it will need to pass Tribal Council and be signed by the chief.

Tribal Council Representatives Perry Shell and Tunney Crowe introduced the idea the council’s monthly meeting.

“It was something we had talked about the past,” Shell said. “I think it’s a good idea.”

However, exactly how much each inmate would have to pay up per day in the slammer is still up for debate. It could be a set amount or a percentage.

All tribal members get a cut of casino profits. The annual payments currently amount to about $8,000 a year each before taxes. The tribe already garnishes money from the casino dividend checks for child support, and as a result, Cherokee has the highest child support collection rate in the state.

If an inmate owed child support, Shell said, that would likely come out of the check first before anything else.

There are a number of steps left before the idea would become law. Tribal Council plans to hold work sessions to hammer out all the details as well as give their constituents a chance to weigh in. Shell said people have already contacted him to proffer their opinions.

“The reception I am getting so far is positive,” Shell said.

But there will be plenty of time for the tribe to figure out all the particulars. The Eastern Band will complete construction of a 75-bed jail, which is part of a larger justice center being built by the tribe, next year. The tribe doesn’t currently have a jail of its own and pays other counties a daily fee to house tribal inmates. Most inmates from Cherokee are currently housed at the jail in Swain County. Cherokee pays $?? per inmate per day.

It is common practice for county jails to stick inmates with a bill if they are held for fewer than 30 days. If their time in jail exceeds 30 days, the county can’t bill them for it.

Superheroes in Salish Design

Native artist Jeffrey Veregge embraces his nerdiness

Monica Brown, TulalipNews

Bio-shot-newJeffrey Veregge, a Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal member, has been creating art for most of his life. A few years ago, after exploring different art techniques, Jeffrey decided to mix two art forms he admires most, Salish form line with comic book super heroes and Sci-Fi. “I took what I like of Salish form line design, the elements and the spirit of it and decided to mix it with what I do as an artist and put my own take on it,” said Jeffrey about his latest art pieces.

His earlier work had a Picasso-esque theme that centered on native images. “I love cubist art. I like that it is messy but to be honest my heart wasn’t behind it [his earlier work], it wasn’t a true reflection of me,” explained Jeffrey. After taking a yearlong break to learn how to accept his nerd side, Jeffrey began to embrace his love of comic books, action figures and science fiction by recreating his favorite characters in the Salish design.

“Salish form line is beautiful and this felt like a natural extension. Comic books, Star Wars and all this stuff are equivalent to modern day myths and Salish art tells stories and myths,” said Jeffrey.

The sleek lines of the Salish design applied to superheroes such as Batman and Spiderman give them a solid and defined silhouette against a simple background. Because the placing of empty space against the background and the color contrast are both well thought out, the figures convey a sense of power and motion to the viewer. “I want to represent the comic characters in a good and noble way which they were intended,” said Jeffrey.

Last Son

Last Son
Courtesy of Jeffrey Veregge

Jeffrey is surprised and grateful for the success of his art, “A lot of native comic fans have approached me; a lot of support and wonderful emails, along with school programs asking for me to come show my work to inspire the students,” said Jeffrey.  With the support from the fans he intends to recreate many more comic and Sci-Fi characters. Currently in the works are Iron man and possibly Deapool. Jeffrey is also organizing his attendance to the Tacoma Jet City Comic Show this November, where he will have a booth and be doing an exclusive print for the show and to Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon March 2014.

Jeffrey studied Industrial Design at Seattle’s Art institute and the Salish form line from Master Carver David Boxley, a Tsimshian native from Metlakatla, Alaska. Prints are available for purchase through his website, jeffreyveregge.com . T-shirt designs and baseball hats will be available for purchase soon.

His art can be seen at, In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts Exhibit located in Tacoma, at the LTD Art Gallery in Seattle, The Burke Museum and The Washington State History Museum. Other recent art commissions include a piece commissioned for the Tulalip Youth Center for their Suicide prevention campaign, a Steer Clear campaign with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and a double sided mural in Edmonton, Alberta.

For more information please visit jeffreyveregge.com

Scarlett BlurCourtesy of Jeffrey Veregge

Scarlett Blur
Courtesy of Jeffrey Veregge

Proposed hydro-energy project has Index saying ‘no dam way’

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Snohomish County PUD wants to install a small, inflatable dam at this bend on the south fork of the Skykomish River.
Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

June 19, 2013

By Bellamy Pailthorp

At a time when Washington state has been making headlines for the largest dam removal project ever on the Elwah River, Snohomish County is proposing a new one.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District says the proposed dam’s modern low-impact design would help the county diversify its energy portfolio and meet the future power demands of a growing population.

But the location of the proposed dam—on a wild and scenic stretch of the Skykomish River near the small town of Index—has many locals banding together against the project. 

Jeff Smith (center, in tan shirt) welcomed a public tour by FERC and the PUD at his property, which borders on the proposed dam site.Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Jeff Smith (center, in tan shirt) welcomed a public tour by FERC and the PUD at his property, which borders on the proposed dam site.
Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

‘No dam way’

Driving east on Highway 2, evidence of the brewing controversy near Index is hard to miss. Printed signs and hand-painted placards line the roads, calling on the PUD not to dam the Skykomish.

“Did you see our address sign that says ‘no dam way?’” asks homeowner Jeff Smith with a laugh.

Smith is trying to maintain his sense of humor about it all. His riverfront property sits right on the edge of the proposed dam site.

For decades, Smith’s family has enjoyed communing with nature on the shore of the Skykomish as the river rushes by. To the west, the craggy peak of Mount Index looms, to south and east are peaks in the Wild Sky and Alpine Lakes Wilderness areas.

“A lot of people call this truly one of the most spectacular places in the country,” Smith said. “And of course, we believe it’s an inappropriate place to put an industrial project that puts a yoke on a wild and scenic river. And we think it should be allowed to stay free.”  

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Meeting a growing demand

A powerhouse would be built to the left of Sunset falls, shown here. PUD says they would not be de-watered, just diminished as with hydro at Snoqualmie or Niagra Falls.

The Skykomish is one of only four rivers in Washington that has earned the wild and scenic designation, which is meant to discourage development.

But the Snohomish PUD has obtained the preliminary permit to put in an inflatable dam on the river. The idea is the dam would take advantage of the water’s power as it flows toward two sets of dramatic waterfalls.

The utility recently toured the site with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of its first scoping meeting. The commission will determine what kinds of environmental studies will be required for the licensing process.

Snohomish PUD Assistant General Manager Kim Moore pointed across the river, explaining to FERC and the public exactly how the inflatable structure made of steel and rubber would work.

“This is a big inner tube, which has compressed air that allows us to lower or raise it to keep the river at a steady height. Right now, with this kind of flow, probably it would be all deflated,” Moore told the tour.

Moore said the dam would lie flat about a third of the year, not producing power at those times. And there would always be some water flowing over the dam; it would adjust with the strength of the river to keep water levels safe for endangered fish and minimize its environmental impacts.

The dam would provide power for about 10,000 homes—or about 1 percent of the utility’s demand—at a cost of up to $170 million.

The utility says it’s the lowest cost “renewable energy” project it has found. The utility is also actively pursuing additional wind power and exploring geothermal, tidal and large-scale solar installations. Bottom line, says Moore: the utility wants to wean off of dirty fossil fuels.

“So this prevents a natural gas plant or coal plant, you know, because we’re still growing,” he said. “The county’s growing, we’re adding people and there’s a need for additional energy.”

‘Simply inappropriate’

Those arguments haven’t stopped the opposition.

More than a hundred people squeezed into the Index Fire House for the evening scoping meeting. And of the nearly three dozen people commenting, only one man spoke in favor of the dam. The man said the dam could reduce flooding and improve roads in the area.

But the rest of the commenters did not agree. Along with local residents, representatives of groups including the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters joined the chorus of dissenters. Also testifying was Tom O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director with American Whitewater.

“I have tremendous respect for my colleagues here at the PUD. I have worked with these folks for over a decade, ” O’Keefe said. “But sometimes your friends make mistakes. And this project is simply inappropriate in our view.”

FERC is taking comments on the plan for the proposed Skykomish River dam proposal through July 19. The final decision on the license is expected to take about five years.

What should it look like?

Tribal officials need your help planning tribal parks

By Niki Cleary, TulalipNews

As the houses and debris were slowly cleared away, tribal members began returning to Mission Beach, one of few open, accessible beaches on the Tulalip reservation. Although the homes are gone, the bulkheads remain, leaving room for an exciting opportunity: A tribal park.

Grassy areas, handicap accessibility from the road to the beach, interpretive signs that play Lushootseed place names at the touch of a button and, of course, nice restrooms. These are just some of the ideas tossed around at the public meeting that Housing staff hosted to gather input from tribal members about what they’d like to see in a ‘Mission Beach Park.’

The meeting was a brainstorming session with no limits, and while a water slide (that twirls and loops and then dips underground before shooting you into the water) might not make it into the final plan, many of the ideas will

“This is a great opportunity for tribal members,” said Public Works Executive Director Gus Taylor. “There are so many tribal members who go down there right now.”

Mission Beach’s accessibility has also sparked the creation of a Parks Committee.

“The Parks Committee formed last month,” explained Patti Gobin who works on Special projects for Tulalip. She pointed out that the return of Mission Beach to tribal members is only the latest and most visible reason that parks planning is needed.

“In the past we never called them parks, they’ve just been gathering areas,” she said. “We’re growing so fast and we’re starting to have more open spaces for our people to gather and enjoy. We need some criteria for those areas to make sure they stay clean, safe and sustainable for our people. We’re going to create a parks ordinance that will set those criteria with sensitivity to our culture and traditional ways. In hundreds of years we, the tribe, will still be here. We want to make sure our open space and parks will be here for generations to come.”

The Parks Committee is still in its infancy. Right  now it is composed of staff from the different tribal departments (Natural Resources, Community Development, Public Works, Administrative Services and Cultural Resources) that are currently managing the common spaces on the reservation.

Unfortunately, the Parks Committee isn’t just an optimistic endeavor to construct parks, it’s also a reaction to some of the negative activities that are taking place in the tribe’s recreational areas. Since the Mission Beach home removal, several people have reported groups of both tribal and non-tribal members under the influence and verbally abusive on the beach, graffiti has sprung up along the old bulkheads and some of the bulkhead has been burned away.

“We need to be proactive in monitoring and providing maintenance for these areas,” said Patti. Ultimately that means a Parks Department. “That will require budget to pay for staff, and we’ll have to decide, what will be the criteria for those jobs? Will it include park rangers?

“This isn’t just for Mission Beach,” Patti went on. “We have gathering areas at Totem Beach, Hermosa, Spee-Bi-Dah, Tulare, and off reservation too, at Lopez Island, Baby Island, and Hat Island. Those are just the areas I can think of off the top of my head. Eventually a parks department would also be responsible for the connectivity and maintenance of walking trails throughout the reservation.”

Patti and her team are hoping to have a first draft of the Parks Ordinance submitted for Board of Directors Review by January 2014, but, she said, Mission Beach won’t wait that long.

Because Mission Beach is designated as lease property, it currently falls under the authority of the Tulalip Housing Department, although once a parks department is created and staffed, Mission Beach will revert to parks. Housing is currently requesting input from tribal members about what they’d like to see in the future.

“Right now we’re unsure when the next meeting will be,” said Anita Taylor of Housing. “We’re presenting the ideas from our first meeting to the board, then we’ll have another community meeting, hopefully in July.”

In the meantime, a sign outlining general park rules will be going up at the parking lot and on the beach, and tribal staff will continue to maintain garbage cans with the expectation that if you pack it in, you pack it out. For other concerns or to submit your input to the park plan, contact Housing staff.

“If you have an emergency, of course call 911,” said Anita. “But if you have any other issues, want to report graffiti, find needles or paraphernalia on the beach, contact myself (360-716-4449, ataylor@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov), or Malory Simpson (360-716-4454, msimpson@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov) and we’ll arrange to have staff take care of it as soon as possible.”

The following images from Brian Way of WHPacific, illustrate some of the proposals for Mission Beach. These include pathways, viewpoints, restrooms, fire pits and a rinse station.

Path by the beach

Path by the beach

 

Viewpoint

Viewpoint

Restroom

Restroom

 

Fire rings

Fire rings

rinse station

rinse station

 

 

Oglala Sioux Tribe president arrested in White Clay, Nebraska

Oglala Sioux president Brian Brewer being harassed before arrest. Photo: Intercontinental Cry

Oglala Sioux president Brian Brewer being harassed before arrest. Photo: Intercontinental Cry

Levi Rickert, Intercontinental Cry Magazine

WHITE CLAY, NEBRASKA – Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer was arrested today [June 17] in White Clay, Nebraska.

It was not immediately known what he is charged with at press time. He was reportedly taken to Rushville, Nebraska for booking, according to Toni Red Cloud, public relations director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, who talked to the Native News Network just after the arrest.

Several dozen Oglala Sioux tribal members were in the border town of White Clay to protest the sale of alcohol. The protest began as a walk into White Clay. A sheriff deputy asked the crowd to allow a beer truck through the road.

When the protesters did not move fast enough, security and police officers moved. One deputy began shouting at President Brewer and pointing his finger in the president’s face prior to President Brewer being arrested.

White Clay, Nebraska, is just over border from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It is a small town of 14 people, but sells almost five million cans of 12 oz. beer annually.

Last week, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council on Tuesday, June 11, passed a resolution that allows for a referendum to have tribal citizens living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to decide if sales of alcohol should be legal.

President Brewer was threatened with arrest when he led some 100 tribal members in a protest at White Clay in March, 2013.

[Of all the protesters, ] only President Brewer was arrested.

Power Struggles at Interior Department Impact Indian Affairs

Washburn-Jewell-Hayes


AP Images
Kevin Washburn, Sally Jewell, David Hayes.

Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today Media Network

When Kevin Washburn became Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in September 2012, he had some work to do. Not just the typical demands of running a complex subsection of a large federal agency, but also the complicated work of regaining a portfolio that had been siphoned off by overeager Obama administration officials.

Tribal officials and Indian insiders nationwide saw firsthand the shift in power away from the assistant secretary’s office in the early days of this administration, when Larry Echo Hawk, Washburn’s predecessor, was forced to recuse himself in several important Indian issues due to family ties and other possible conflicts of interest.

Concurrently, David Hayes, retiring Deputy Secretary of the department, began taking credit for progress in Indian affairs, including the Cobell settlement, water and other tribal trust settlements, while shifting any blame for problems in Indian affairs to others. Hayes, in perhaps his last leadership action on Indian affairs before exiting the department, has scheduled a June 18 teleconference on the latest aspects of the Cobell settlement land consolidation tribal trust land buyback plan. Washburn is scheduled to join him on the call.

Early on in Washburn’s tenure, Kevin Gover, who was Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs during part of the Clinton administration, warned that Washburn was coming into a power-depleted office. “He has to confront the reality that decisions about Indian affairs are being made all over the department—not just at the BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs],” Gover told ICTMN. “His predecessor… recused himself on a lot of key issues, including Cobell, trust, and the federal recognition cases. That means somebody else, somewhere else in the building, handled those issues. Those are major responsibilities for the assistant secretary to get back under his portfolio.”

There were some early signs that Washburn, former dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, was working hard to take back the reins—he made several early land-into-trust decisions, announced plans to release a long overdue tribal jobs report, expressed concern that gaming has wrongly “hijacked” the federal Indian policy agenda, and promised to clean up the federal tribal recognition and trust systems.

But in the middle of this shift, his new boss, Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ken Salazar, announced he was moving on; his replacement was Sally Jewell, former CEO of an outdoor gear and clothing company, who beat out Hayes for the top spot at Interior.

That meant Washburn had a new boss to deal with, while the old guard at Interior, including Hayes, was advising Jewell on how they thought the BIA should run. Jewell has never worked in the federal government, and has little familiarity with Indian issues, which set up a potentially precarious position for Washburn.

His peril was evident on May 15, when Jewell testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for the first time to explain her Indian affairs agenda. On that day, Washburn was a thousand miles away, attending a child welfare conference in South Dakota. The same week, Jewell announced a long-awaited fracking policy affecting Indian lands with Hayes at her side; Washburn was not part of the announcement ceremony. Interior Department officials also attended and offered input an Indian affairs-focused hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. Again, no Washburn.

Did this mean Washburn was being cut out of the loop? Jewell insists that’s not the case, telling ICTMN in a press conference call that nothing should be read into his absence, and that his attendance at the child welfare conference was a priority. “It’s difficult to get everybody in town when you want to do these,” she said, referring to the fracking announcement. “There was certainly no intent, in any way, to exclude.”

When Washburn returned to D.C., he immediately made news. Big news. He announced a so-called “Patchak Patch” to remedy a controversial and problematic Supreme Court decision tribal trust. His decision is expected to close the door on some costly lawsuits facing tribal projects on lands put into trust by the Department.

When he called ICTMN to talk Patchak, he made it very clear he was still the boss of Indian affairs—and he had a compelling argument for the recent power blips. “I was upset as anybody that I couldn’t be with the Secretary during her inaugural appearance before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, but I had this prior engagement that was exceedingly important and very substantive,” he said. “The Indian child welfare summit was crucial to a lot of tribes, and that’s why I was there.”

The many tribal leaders who like Washburn and want him to succeed fervently hope these recent incidents are truly attributable to scheduling conflicts or even honeymoon hiccups between Washburn and his new boss, and don’t signify a continuation of the neutered power structure that hobbled Echo Hawk. With Hayes heading out the door, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic that more strong tribal-centric fixes to federal Indian policy are yet to come under Washburn.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/06/18/power-struggles-interior-department-impact-indian-affairs-149960

Nooksack tribal dispute heads to federal court

John Stark, The Bellingham Herald

After getting another rebuff in tribal court, Nooksack Indians facing loss of their tribal membership have filed a new lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Seattle Attorney Gabriel Galanda filed the federal suit Monday, June 17, on behalf of Rudy St. Germain and Michelle Roberts, two tribal council members who are among the 306 who could be stripped of their tribal membership because the validity of their Nooksack lineage has been called into question.

The suit declares that the move to purge the 306 is based on “racial animus,” because all 306 are part-Filipino. That charge is hotly denied by Nooksack Tribal Chairman Bob Kelly and his supporters, who have noted that many other Nooksacks have Filipino ancestors but can demonstrate their Nooksack lineage in a way that meets the requirements of tribal law.

But as Galanda and his clients see it, Kelly and the other five members of the council are in the process of changing that law to keep them out.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior is currently supervising a mail-in constitutional amendment election that could make it more difficult to qualify for Nooksack membership. Kelly and his five supporters on the council have asked voters to repeal a constitutional provision that makes tribal membership available to anyone who has at least one-fourth Indian blood, plus Nooksack ancestry “to any degree.”

That election is scheduled to conclude June 21.

Galanda’s lawsuit argues that repeal of that provision of the tribal constitution would make it more difficult for his clients and other challenged Nooksacks to re-enroll in the tribe if the current effort to strip them of membership succeeds.

That, the suit contends, denies the affected Nooksacks the right to equal protection under law and is therefore a violation of the Indian Civil Rights Act. Galanda wants the judge to order federal officials to halt the constitutional election.

All of the 306 facing loss of membership are descendants of the late Annie George. Tribal officials contend that George did not qualify as Nooksack under tribal law, because her name does not appear on a tribal census of 1942 or on the list of those who got an allotment of tribal lands. Galanda and his clients have submitted other records and letters from anthropologists indicating that Annie George was, in fact, a Nooksack.

Also on Monday, Nooksack Court Tribal Chief Judge Rachel Montoya repeated the legal arguments of her earlier rulings and refused to stop the constitutional election. She found that a majority of the tribal council was acting within its proper authority in launching the constitutional election to change the membership rules.

The 306 challenged Nooksacks face loss of housing and medical benefits, tribal hunting and fishing rights, tribal jobs and other benefits if they are pushed out of the 2,000-member tribe.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/06/17/3056967/nooksack-tribal-dispute-heads.html#storylink=cpy

Mayor McGinn testifies in Congress to stop coal trains in Pacific Northwest

kirotv.com

WASHINGTON — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is calling on Congress to stop coal trains from rolling through the state.

McGinn doesn’t want the coal trains rolling through any cities in the Northwest, especially not in Seattle along the waterfront.

McGinn made his case testifying before members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Tuesday.

He updated them on the plan by coal companies, railroads and international shipping companies to build two new export facilities in Washington state.

The arguments against the coal trains are familiar. People are worried about pollution from coal dust in the air and extra traffic from the mile-long trains.

Those who support the coal export expansion plans argue shipping more than 100 million tons of coal to Asia each year helps the state and federal economy and the new export facilities would create jobs.

McGinn called on lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to do an environmental impact study.

United Way announces $7.9 million in targeted community grants

North County Outlook

United Way of Snohomish County will be investing $7.9 million over three years toward 107 programs in Snohomish County addressing a set of priorities identified by three panels of volunteers. These targeted investments represent an increase of more than $300,000 over the last three-year cycle.

Six north Snohomish County programs will receive $370,000 over the next three years.

Two of the programs are local to Marysville. One provides early childhood education and intervention to children living on the Tulalip Indian Reservation and is managed by Little Red School House. The other program supports the expansion of English language learner classes organized by YMCA of Snohomish County. The programs will receive $30,000 and $90,000 respectively from United Way over the next three years.

Four of the programs are based in Arlington. Village Community Services will receive almost $160,000 over three years for three different programs: a career planning and placement services program, a residential services program to help people with developmental disabilities live with dignity and respect in their own homes and a community access program to provide adults with significant disabilities learn essential life and job skills. The Stillaguamish Senior Center will receive $90,000 over three years for their Comprehensive Senior Social Services program.

Volunteers who serve on United Way’s Kids Matter, Families Matter and Community Matters Vision Councils spent more than 2,500 hours over the past year in a three-step process that included reviewing community conditions, establishing priority investment areas and evaluating grant applications.

“This was the first time I’d participated in the grants review process,” said Karen Madsen, former president of the Everett School Board. “As a donor, I saw firsthand how much time and effort goes into these decisions. Every program, whether or not they were funded last year, was reviewed very closely.”

Madsen and the 52 other volunteers who reviewed proposals work for a range of Snohomish County-based companies, educational institutions, nonprofits and local government agencies. They represent a broad cross-section of our community.

The 107 programs will serve people living in 23 communities throughout Snohomish County from Stanwood and Darrington in the north, Sultan and Gold Bar in the east and the larger cities along Interstate 5. Volunteers gave careful consideration to vulnerable populations, geographic diversity and programs that address critical service gaps in our community.

A complete list of funded programs is available on United Way’s website, uwsc.org.