Our Healing Journey

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Who is a problem gambler?” asked Tulalip Problem Gambling Coordinator, Sarah Sense-Wilson. “A problem gambler is anyone whose gambling is causing psychological, financial, emotional, spiritual, relational, legal or other difficulties for themselves and others around them, including family and community.

“Here’s a little data for you,” she continued. “Up to 1-3% of Washingtonians struggle with problem gambling. To get some perspective on that, imagine the Seattle Seahawks stadium filled to capacity four times – that’s the amount of problem gamblers in Washington state. Sadly, only 1 in 10 seek professional help. 92% of problem gamblers experience suicidal ideation at some point in their gambling, up to 40% attempt suicide. That number is too high.” 

Many of us have shared a story about one of our gambling escapades with a close friend or family member. You know the one, it usually begins as a fun night out with good company at a casino and includes plenty of dancing, delicious delectabls and drinks. And if you’re feeling lucky, you might even hit the floor. Whether your poison is table games or the machines, the story can only have one of three outcomes; you win, lose or break even. At times we recall these stories as if they were tales of war, recapping each spin or hand dealt. However, it tends to end along the lines, ‘I was winning and then lost it all. Should’ve left while I was up’, or ‘I won! I got the bonus, five free spins and then hit a bunch wilds’. Because in the moment it’s all fun, it’s as if you become hypnotized by the music and obsessed with obtaining more credits.

For most, gambling is a fun social event. Many set a limit of how much money they will gamble before even stepping into a gaming establishment. That way if they lose, it’s already accounted for. While others can get caught up in the thrill of chasing jackpots, willing to risk it all in hopes of a big payout. Like most vices, gambling is addictive and provides a high. And if you’re a compulsive gambler, you lose the concept of time and reality, only to snap out of it when you’re forced to stop i.e., run out of cash or hit a jackpot. The odds are always against you, but even when you lose, you might feel compelled to ‘win it back’ and visit the nearest ATM.

At each ATM located within a Tulalip Gaming Establishment, a message is provided at the bottom of the screen throughout the entire transaction process. A message that unfortunately goes unread, or is ignored, quite too often. A message for compulsive gamblers from the Tulalip Tribes Problem Gambling program that states, ‘if you or a loved one suffer from a gambling addiction, please contact (360) 716-4440.’

Every March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, an initiative that launched fifteen years ago and was inspired largely in part by the mass amount of NCAA March Madness basketball bracket pools. In an effort to raise awareness and to provide support as well as education, the Tulalip Problem Gambling program actively participates in awareness month by hosting a number of events every third month of the year. 

On the evening of March 2, the Tulalip Problem Gambling program kicked off National Problem Gambling Awareness Month at the Hibulb Cultural Center during their 4th Annual Community Gathering night. 

The community gathering is a popular event that welcomes those who are recovering from their addiction, as well as their families. The theme for this year’s event was titled ‘Our Healing Journey’ and the Problem Gambling program offered good medicine throughout the night. The community filled the Hibulb Longhouse, enjoying an evening complete with dinner and entertainment. Master of Ceremony and Tulalip tribal member, Whaa-Ka-Dup Monger opened the event with a prayer before community member Terrance Sabbas led his family in a drum circle, offering a prayer song to the participants.

One of the highlights of the evening came right before dinner as two young Tulalip Youth Council members, Image Enick and Kaiser Moses, offered words of encouragement and a traditional Tulalip song for those healing from problem gambling.

“I’m speaking on behalf of the Youth Council and representing the youth,” said Kaiser. “I’d like to say that we’re all very proud of you for being here and taking a moving step forward. It’s very important. It touches all of our hearts that you care so much and that you’re able to recognize how this affects us. We’re happy and overjoyed to be here with you and we’re really proud and hopeful for your future.”

Tulalip Problem Gambling Coordinator, Sara Sense-Wilson, gives a hug to attendee Charlotte, for sharing her moving story about overcoming her gambling addiction.

Charlotte, who was celebrating three years and six months of her personal healing journey, openly shared her intimate story with the community. In 2015, she was caught embezzling from a non-profit, of which she was the treasurer, to fuel her gambling addiction. She eventually was admitted into a deferment program for her crimes and found herself at the Tulalip Problem Gambling program with Sarah who helped her through the recovery process. Sarah tasked Charlotte with creating a timeline of her gambling problem. When working on her timeline she learned that the addiction stemmed from a year of hardship, in which she lost family members due to cancer and alcoholism, along with a traumatizing event concerning her child. 

“You’ve done everything you can, you’re trying to keep yourself together but your family’s falling apart, your kids are falling apart. So what did I do? I gambled,” admitted Charlotte. “Because at that casino, I checked out. I did not feel; I did not think. I checked out emotionally, physically, mentally. It’s very easy to hide. I’d get up and go to work every day and come home and play mommy, but at nine o’clock every night I was leaving. My excuse was always, I’m just so stressed out and I need to get away.”

Charlotte explained that she made recovery a priority and began learning about her addiction; why she gambled, how it was affecting her and why she was covering it up. Therefore, she learned how to deal with her feelings and work through her adversity. 

“I started learning I could live and not gamble. Wow, I just said that. I can live and not gamble – amazing! I found people who understand my gambling, people I can talk to about it. I’m not hiding it anymore. That’s my recovery. Today, I’m healing.”

The community gathering concluded with a performance by Native comedian Vaughn Eagle Bear whose claim to fame was the song John Wayne’s Teeth which was featured in the Native cult classic, Smoke Signals. After participants finished drying their eyes following Charlotte’s moving testimony, Vaughn made the crowd cry once more, but this time the tears were caused by his hilarious rez humor. 

“This evening we really wanted to highlight and celebrate that whole healing journey, it’s not just the individual or the family, it’s the community,” said Sarah. “This is a disease, it’s an addiction, it’s a problem. At Tulalip Tribes we recognize that and we provide a variety of services to support problem gamblers, their families and the community. Some of those services are family night where we provide education and support, we do individual counseling, referrals to in-patient or other treatment programs, we also do individual assessments. We are one of the most comprehensive tribal-run gambling programs in the entire state of Washington and we’re really proud of that. To me, that reflects the dedication and commitment of the tribe to promote health and wellness throughout both tribal and the local community. Our services are for non-natives too and the fact that Tulalip Tribes is so progressive in providing that support speaks to the value system and the overarching cultural beliefs.”

Problem Gambling will continue to host a number of events throughout National Problem Gambling Awareness month. If you or a loved one suffer from a gambling addiction, please contact the Tulalip Problem Gambling program at (360) 716-4440. 

RaeQuan leads Marysville-Pilchuck to best ever showing at State

RaeQuan Battle

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Back in early December, the much-hyped boys basketball team of Marysville-Pilchuck high school (M-P) were in the midst of early season struggles after starting their 2018-2019 campaign with a disappointing (1-3) record. Incredibly, the bumpy start has been all but forgotten as the Tomahawks responded by winning their next 19 games in a row.

Led by Tulalip tribal member RaeQuan Battle, a 6’4 shooting guard and fourth best Washington State recruit*, the Tomahawks strong finish to the regular season proved the pre-season hype was legit. Their 19-game win streak included domination over their league foes when they stampeded through the 3A District Tournament (beating Shorecrest 64-42, Stanwood 80-50 and Arlington 65-47) en route to claiming back-to-back District Championships. 

After dispatching Kelso 72-51 at Regionals, Marysville-Pilchuck earned the #4 seed for the WIAA Hardwood Classic, Washington State’s Championship Tournament. The annual tournament took place February 27 – March 2 at the Tacoma Dome.

A hard fought battle with O’Dea in their opening round resulted in a 53-63 loss, the team’s first since December 10. In that game O’Dea attempted 26 free-throws compared to just 9 attempts for M-P. RaeQuan’s stat line of 24 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks proved he did everything possible to keep his team in the game

Alec Jones-Smith

The Tomahawks had no choice but to shake off the loss quickly with a matchup against Ingraham only hours away. M-P went up 36-31 at halftime, continued to build on their lead in the 2nd half, and won 80-68. RaeQuan double-doubled in the game, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow Tulalip tribal member and high school junior Alec Jones-Smith received quality minutes down the stretch while chipping in 5 points.

Fourth place was on the line when M-P took on Kelso in the waking moments of March 2. In a tightly contested matchup, the Tomahawks jumped out to an early 16-9 lead in the 1st quarter. However, Kelso battled back by running play after play through their talented 6’6 center Shaw Anderson. Having no one on the roster capable of guarding the Kelso big man straight up, M-P trailed 26-31 late in the 2nd quarter.

Aggressive, fast-faced Tomahawk basketball ensued in the 3rd and 4th quarter. RaeQuan showcased his 3-point shooting touch by knocking down five long-range buckets and managed to block Kelso’s center for a huge defensive play to fire up his squad. After going up 50-38, the boys wouldn’t look back and claimed a decisive 71-60 victory.

The 4th place finish at State marks the best ever showing for a Marysville-Pilchuck team. 

Three Tulalip tribal members on the M-P
Tomahawks team are
senior RaeQuan Battle (holding trophy), junior Alec Jones-Smith (11th from left) and junior TJ Severn (4th from left).

“I’m so proud. This is a special group,” said M-P Coach Bary Gould postgame. “They played for the love [of the game] and made history. So much of what we do hinges on RaeQuan and when he lets the game come to him, he is incredible…he’s such a difference maker. The surrounding pieces all stepped up in a big way to put us over the edge.”

“Our journey to State was a total team effort and showed our mental toughness,” added RaeQuan. During the State Tournament, when competition is at its highest, he averaged a whopping 23 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks per game while leading his team to the history books.

“I was ready and prepared to play against this level of competition thanks in part to playing on the Nike AAU circuit last spring and summer,” explained RaeQuan. The four-star recruit has committed to the University of Washington. “Hard work really does pay off. Looking forward, my goals are to keep getting stronger over the summer to prepare myself for the college level.”

A huge congratulations to the M-P team on their history-making efforts, especially their trio of Tulalip hoopers: senior RaeQuan Battle, junior Alec Jones-Smith and junior TJ Severn. 

*Source: 2019 ESPN Recruiting Database

Heritage Hawks take care of business at Tri-Districts, move on to Regionals

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

After an impressive regular season showing, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks took 2nd at the 1B District Tournament. Now, with an (18-3) overall record, the boys earned the right to host an opening round game of the Tri-District Tournament.

On Thursday, February 14, Tulalip hosted the Mustangs of Rainier Christian at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium. It was a sluggish start for the home team, as the Hawks fell behind 0-8 in the early going. Coach Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg called a 1st quarter timeout to fire up his team and they responded in a big way. Led by guards Leno Vela and Paul Shay Jr., Tulalip righted the ship and went on an impressive 29-10 scoring run to take a 29-18 lead midway through the 2nd quarter.

With the defense clamping down and forcing turnovers left and right, Heritage was able to transition into their fast-break offense and score easy buckets. Being at the Tri-District stage, every team was more than capable of game changing scoring barrages to shift momentum. Early in the 3rd quarter the boys took a 42-29 lead only to watch it slowly fade away. Rainier Christian didn’t buckle and starting knocking down contested shots. What was once a 13 point lead was whittled to only 4 points, 46-42, with two minutes to go in the 3rd. 

In a pressure filled situation, in front of a raucous home crowd, the boys responded yet again. Shay, Jr. caught fire from long range to hit three consecutive 3-pointers, while Alonzo Jones was attacking the rim and finishing multiple acrobatic shots. A 27-11 run gave the Hawks a 20 point lead, up 73-53, with only four minutes remaining. The big lead allowed Coach Bubba to sub in his bench and let the team’s youngsters get a taste of the Tri-District playoffs.

Tulalip won 84-65. The team was led by Shay, Jr.’s game-high 20 points, while Alonzo and Isaac Comenote scored 17 points each.

“Our defense sparked on our offense in both halves,” reflected Coach Fryberg postgame. “Sometimes we get too comfortable shooting 3-point shots when we could be driving more and feeding our post players. When we force turnovers and are playing aggressive defense it carries over and allows us to be aggressive and attack the basket, like we did in the second half.”

Due to the snow days and resulting school district closures, Tulalip didn’t get any days rest like the Tri-District Tournament usually calls for. Instead, they hit the road the very next day and travelled to Port Angeles for a highly anticipated matchup with Neah Bay. 

The Hawks offensive momentum carried over from the day before, as they took a 15-13 lead after the 1st quarter. But everything changed in the 2nd quarter. One foul call after another quickly mounted and threw Heritage off their game. They only managed to score 6 points in the quarter and trailed 21-26 at halftime. 

In the 2nd half, Tulalip bounced back early. Alonzo Jones and Josh Iukes combined to score 13 of the team’s 17 points in the 3rd quarter. They held their team afloat but still trailed 38-45 going into the final quarter. Neah Bay took complete control in the 4th, while Tulalip struggled again to put up an offensive fight. The Hawks were outscored 6-21 in the game’s final minutes, resulting in a 44-66 loss. The 44 points marked a season-low in scoring for the Hawks. 

The loss to Neah Bay pitted Tulalip in a high-stakes matchup with league foe Cedar Park Christian in a 3rd round Tri-District game. A high seeding and berth in Regionals was at stake. The game took place Saturday, February 16 in Mount Vernon. 

Knowing the stakes and having confidence from beating Cedar Park decisively three times this season already, the Heritage Hawks (19-4) steamrolled for big time victory in front of a large Tulalip crowd that made the journey to cheer them on.

In the 1st quarter, Heritage jumped out to a 15-4 advantage thanks in part to a patient offense that probed Cedar Park’s zone defense. The patience led to uncontested jumpers from the outside or easy buckets at the rim. Leading by 11 points at the halftime, Tulalip hosed Cedar Park in the 3rd quarter by holding their opponent to a measly 2 points. Meanwhile, Paul Shay, Jr. once again caught fire from deep and made three triples to push his team’s advantage to 51-20. 

With a comfortable lead, Coach Bubba was able to get his bench players some run in the 4th quarter en route to a 61-31 blowout victory. Tulalip was led by Shay, Jr.’s game high 16 points, while Alonzo Jones scored 15 and Rodney Barber added 14.

“My team’s season is going great so far,” said senior guard Shay, Jr. following the win. “In the middle of the regular season we did struggle a bit with our mindset by letting little stuff get us down, but now that playoffs are here we’ve been playing really well again. We took a tough loss to [Neah Bay] that has us more than ready to chase a State title. We’ve come together as a team and a family. The mindset of us seniors is getting back to State and winning it all this time!”

The quality showing at Tri-Districts has boosted the Hawks to the #4 spot for all 1B schools in the state, according to the WIAA rankings. Next up, the Hawks will matchup with fellow tribal school Muckleshoot in a Saturday showdown at Jackson High School in Mill Creek.

Mindful Movements: Yoga for Elders

Tulalip elder, Marvin Jones is learning the many health benefits of yoga.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Originally introduced to the world centuries ago, the practice of yoga continues to uplift the spirit, sharpen minds and improve the overall health of millions to this day. Whether you’re a beginner practicing stretches such as the downward dog or a master yogi who can easily flow into a firefly pose, you are more than likely experiencing the endless benefits of yoga. Those who practice yoga often see a number of physical and spiritual improvements such as flexibility, anxiety relief, injury recovery, and muscle and bone strength as well as a strong sense of balance of the mind, body and soul.

One of the many great things about yoga is the fact that anybody can take it up, no matter where you’re at in terms of your own personal journey and fitness level.  Over recent decades, the ancient art of exercise, discipline and mediation has become a popular go-to workout as many yoga classes are held throughout various local gyms and available to stream online on platforms such as YouTube and Glo.com. The majority of avid yogis range in age between their early-twenties to mid-forties, however, new studies are encouraging individuals of the older generations to join in on the fun and incorporate a little yoga and meditation routine into their daily lives. 

“Yoga’s such a good experience. Most people are scared to try something new, but I can guarantee if you try this, you will probably like it – a lot,” expressed Tulalip elder, Marvin Jones. “I did yoga once and now I think everybody should try it out. When we get up there in age, we need to do something, some form of exercise. This could prolong your life because it gets you moving and it’s better than just sitting around watching TV. You can do it at home, you can do it anywhere.”

Marvin is the first student of a new program called Mindful Movements brought to Tulalip by the SNAP-Ed and the Diabetes Care and Prevention programs. On the morning of February 19, Marvin sat in a circle and carefully followed the instruction of Autumn Walker, Diabetes Care and Prevention volunteer, who guided the class through an hour long yoga session. Autumn encouraged Marvin to try new poses but also to know his own personal limits as they focused their attention on breathing techniques and gentle stretches. 

“The intention teaching this class is to provide a space where people can take care of themselves and have some thoughtful reflections on what works for them, both with their mind and with their body,” Autumn explained. “There’s a lot of benefits to yoga and meditation. A lot of our lives are filled and busy, so setting aside some time where we can be quiet and focus on our wellness is beneficial. We can really find some movement and warmth with the stretching of the muscles, which can ease any pain people have with their joints and really facilitate flexibility of joints over time. If these motions and activities are practiced regularly, they can promote good circulation as well as the healing and wellness of the joints and muscles of the body.”

The first of many gatherings, Mindful Movements is held every Tuesday and is catered to the local elders of the community. Throughout the majority of the class, the students are in a seated position as they delicately flow through each pose for a relaxing exercise. A visible smile that seemed to indicate relaxation and ease grew wider and spread across Marvin’s face the further the class progressed. 

“I liked sitting in the chair, I found it a lot easier,” he said. “It’s great for people that can’t stand too long. My left leg is weaker and sometimes I can stand long periods and other times I can’t. If I can sit down and do it, it makes it a whole lot easier because I know I won’t fall. Today I was able to work on my neck, back and shoulders – that’s my main concern because I have weak shoulders. I noticed I got a little sore but that’s a good thing. It goes away after a little bit and you’ll get used to it because exercise helps make you stronger.”

According to many experienced yogis, yoga is absolutely safe for the older generations. Not only does yoga help elders with balance, mobility, heart health and strengthen the respiratory system and blood circulation, it can also relieve stress, inflammation and pain as well as lower blood sugar levels for those living with diabetes. 

After experiencing the benefits of yoga at a few of the Diabetes Care and Prevention Garden Day events, the elders began requesting a class of their own at the Senior Center. SNAP-Ed and the Diabetes program recruited Autumn, who also led the Garden Day sessions, to teach the initial classes of Mindful Movements. After a few months, Autumn will pass the baton to SNAP-Ed Nutritionist AnneCherise Jensen who will take over instructing duties. Originally scheduled to start at the beginning of February, Mindful Movements grew a lot of anticipation from local elders but unfortunately due to the recent snow storms, the first two classes were canceled. AnneCherise extends a friendly reminder that the classes are still occurring and invites the community to participate. 

“The elders inspired us as well as the whole aspect of wellness,” AnneCherise stated. “So bring your aunties, grandparents, anybody who is looking for a spark of motivation to stay active and feel good. We welcome everybody. It’s suitable for all fitness levels and ages. If you have any injuries or disabilities, we’re able to work around it, we work with everybody’s needs.”

Autumn adds, “We really want the class to be accessible for everybody to come and participate in the parts that work for them and to leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as well as with a new curiosity about how their bodies operate and what they’re able to do with them. They can take some of these stretching exercises home and incorporate them into their everyday lives. We want people to leave feeling empowered, like yes, I can participate in this program that’s good for my wellness and yes, I found some physical activities that work for me.”

Mindful Movements is held every Tuesday at the Dining Hall between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. For further details, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632 or the Diabetes program at (360) 716-5642.

Heritage basketball place 2nd at Districts

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Opening round: Hawks tame Cedar Park Lions, 52-32.

The Heritage Hawks boys basketball team steamrolled through the regular season and finished with an impressive (17-2) record. A high-octane offense averaged 74 points per game while a stingy defense only allowed 42 points to opponents, for a whopping average margin of victory of 30+ points. Prior to the season, these boys had one mission: win a State title. Nineteen regular season games later the mission remained unchanged.

District playoffs kicked off on Thursday, January 31. Heritage’s regular season performance earned them a #2 seed and with it came the rights to host an opening round playoff game at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium. Their opponent was the Lions of Cedar Park Christian. In their two previous meetings, Tulalip won both easily by 20+ points.

In front of an energetic home crowd, Heritage sputtered on offense to start. Midway through the 1st quarter Tulalip had yet to score and trailed 0-5. Coach Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg called a timeout to light the fuse of urgency for his explosive team of young gunners. Did they respond? Most certainly. 

The Hawks locked in, took complete control of the playoff game, and went on decisive 26-2 scoring run spanning late in the 2nd quarter. From trailing 0-5 to leading 26-7, the home team gave their crowd much to cheer for. Junior guard Leno Vela led the charge with his combination of dead-eye perimeter shooting and ball pressure yielding steal after steal. Tulalip took a 28-12 lead into halftime.

In the 2nd half, the rout continued. Heritage held the Lions to only 6 points in the 3rd quarter while both Joshes, Iukes and Miranda, added to Tulalip’s scoring barrage from 3-point land.  Entering the 4th quarter, the boys had their largest lead of the game up 23 points, 41-18.

With the outcome only a formality Coach Bubba inserted his bench players to finish the game. The Hawks starters cheered from the bench as everyone celebrated the 52-32 victory.

Leno led all scorers with 13 points and 6 steals. Josh Miranda added 12 points, while Rodney Barber collected a game-high 10 rebounds.

Championship round: Lummi Nation keeps Hawks grounded, 64-77.

Following their opening round win, the Tulalip Hawks had two days to prepare for the much anticipated District Championship game versus Lummi Nation. These two teams were clearly the best of the Northwest 1B league and had split their two regular season matchups. Tulalip won by 9 points back on December 8, but Lummi won by 3 points just two weeks ago on January 15. Both teams entered the game riding winning streaks, four straight Ws for Tulalip and an eye-popping nineteen consecutive wins for Lummi.

Being the Championship round, the game was held at the much larger venue of Marysville-Getchell High School on Saturday, January 2. Fans of both teams flooded the gymnasium and packed the bleachers for a lively atmosphere befitting a battle of two highly touted tribal teams.

In the 1st quarter, both teams traded early baskets notching the score at 5-5. Then Lummi clamped down on defense, leaving Tulalip reeling. Lummi came up with two big blocks and several steals that they turned into easy transition buckets. Meanwhile the Hawks offense couldn’t muster any rhythm, which led to an 8-21 deficit after the opening period.

The Hawks trailed by double digits for most of the game. Early in the 3rd quarter, senior guard Paul Shay, Jr. kept the Hawks offense afloat by continually attacking the basket and drawing contact to get to the free-throw line. In fact, Jr. took eleven free-throws and connected on eight of them. When Isaac Comenote finally found a rhythm and hit back-to-back 3 pointers, Tulalip cut their deficit to just 9 points, 34-43 midway through the 3rd.

To their credit, every time it looked like Tulalip was getting momentum, Lummi responded with a bigger scoring run of their own. Whether it was inside with their post players or hot outside shooting, they always had an answer and pushed their lead back to double digits. Heritage trailed 36-52 at the end of the 3rd quarter en route to a 64-77 loss. Lummi’s 77 points was the most Tulalip had given up all season.

Paul Shay, Jr. led the Hawks with 19 points, while Alonzo Jones added 11 points and 9 rebounds.  It was a disappointing loss in front of a packed gym, but even so Tulalip still placed 2nd in the tournament and earned the right to host an upcoming Tri-District Tournament game. The time and opponent is to be determined. However, we do know the game will be played on Saturday, February 9 at Heritage High School. 

Chief of Police letter to the Tulalip Community,

Chief of Police letter to the Tulalip Community,

I am reaching out to the Tulalip community for your help, drugs are causing great harm and impact on the lives of the people. I have witnessed and also heard the many personal experiences of pain and tragedy inflicted upon the Tulalip community by drug dealers who intentionally prey upon those afflicted with addictions. These drug dealers traffic into the Reservation dangerous and deadly drugs causing devastating and tragic outcomes to individuals, families, and our community.

The opiate drug epidemic is a national crisis and our community is not exempt.  This problem requires the coming together of the community, police, and other service providers to effectively make a difference. Let my message be clear, for drug dealers, profiting off the pain and misery of others, the Tulalip Police Department will relentlessly investigate and pursue criminal charges.  For those afflicted in the vice of addiction, we offer our support and referral to Tribal service providers and other resources for help.

Today, January 31, 2019, the Tulalip Police Department is out in the Community conducting a neighborhood outreach effort in the Quil Neighborhoods on 27thAve NE. This is part of the Tulalip Police Department’s commitment to working with the Community to address illicit drug dealing, and to assist individual by providing services resource information to those who may be afflicted with chemical dependencies.

Uniformed police officers will be going door to door introducing themselves to members of the community. Officers will provide information and offer any assistance to help improve the livability and safety of the neighborhoods.  The Police Department also is planning to hold Neighborhood Policing Meetings to help facilitate improved communications and trust.  I welcome the community’s input and concerns, my goal is to work collaboratively in partnership to solve problems.

Community members and neighborhood groups interested in scheduling in a meeting with the Police Department are asked to call Cmdr. Paul Arroyos at 360 716-5924.

To make an anonymous Narcotics Complaint please call the Tulalip Drug Task Force Tip Line at 360 716-5990, or call Drug Task Force Cmdr. Jim Williams at 360 716-5927.

 

Sincerely, Chris Sutter

King tides and the impacts of rising sea levels

Crowd gathered at Flintstone Park in Oak Harbor to view the king tide.

By Kalvin Valdillez; photos by Kalvin Valdillez and Ben Lubbers

Bright and early on the morning of January 25, a gathering of about thirty people met at Flintstone Park in Oak Harbor. Similar to Tulalip Bay, the waters of the Salish Sea travel into the inlet of Whidbey Island, providing a scenic view for the citizens of Island County. This morning in particular was gorgeous. While the sun emerged into the sky, fog slowly ascended from the water that was now approaching the paved boardwalk of the park. This was the event the locals came to witness, a king tide. 

On the night of January 20, you may have caught a glimpse of the super blood wolf moon as the sun, earth and moon aligned perfectly. This rare lunar eclipse is also known as syzygy and causes a stronger gravitational pull and therefore, higher tides. At an estimated thirteen feet, the tide was highest at 8:28 a.m. in Oak Harbor that Friday morning. The long stretch of sand, rocks and driftwood that makes up the beach of Flintstone Park appeared to have vanished as large waves splashed against the coast. 

“King tide is not a scientific term, it simply means higher than our normal everyday tides,” explained Bridget Trosin, of Washington Sea Grant, to the crowd. “In this area, we get king tides usually in November, December, January and February. One of the situations where we get a king tide is at a perigee tide. Basically that is when we orbit the sun and as the moon passes in that close section we get higher than high tides. As the moon is hugging the earth in its orbit, it’s bulging out our ocean waters. 

“The other situation is when we have a nice alignment of the sun, earth and moon, that’s where we see a nice king tide from the pull from the sun and the pull from the moon as they’re compounding upon each other. And another event happens only on January 2. That’s as Earth is orbiting around the sun, we’re closer and that creates pull from the sun and makes our tides a little larger than normal. Any one of those situations can happen at the same time and each one gives the tide a directional pull.”

Now that the Oak Harborites acquired both a better understanding as well as a live visual of a king tide, Bridget requested that each member of the group download an app to their phones called MyCoast. The purpose of the app is to measure king tides at local shores by using user submitted photos. She then stressed that king tides are an important occurrence and the need to monitor them is crucial because they give us a glimpse into the future of what normal, or perhaps even low tides, might look like in a few decades due to sea-level rise.

Rising sea-level is a complex topic that will in time impact the entire planet. Many major cities across the world will experience severe flooding and in some extreme cases will be underwater completely. Because sea-level rise is so dynamic and there are several factors in play, it’s hard to determine exactly when specific areas will begin to see major impacts. However, the general consensus appears to be that sea-level will continue to rise at about its current rate until the middle of this century and then will actually accelerate at even a faster pace after that.

So what causes sea-level rise exactly and why should you be concerned? Since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, the Earth has been heating up due to the burning of fossil fuels and the production of greenhouse gases. As the planet traps those emissions in its atmosphere, the warmer Earth gets. And as a direct result of global warming, the amount of water in the ocean is increasing because as water heats, it expands. Another large contributing factor to sea-level rise is the melting ice caps and ice sheets happening in both Greenland and Antarctica. 

“Sea-level has risen eight or nine inches in the last hundred years and it’s accelerating,” says Phillip North, Tulalip Natural Resources Conservation Scientist. “Since global warming is happening faster than we expected, that means the water is getting warmer faster and expanding. We’re getting more sea-level rise than expected. Plus, the warmer ocean is melting the ice faster. Greenland is melting faster, Antarctica is melting faster, all the continental glaciers; everything’s melting faster than we expected. We’ll see a pretty steady progression up until the middle of the century and then it will start to speed up. It does seem that anytime anyone has ever said something like that, it’s happened sooner than expected and more than expected. We are already seeing it.”

Shortly after the King Tides event in Oak Harbor, and we’re talking merely a few hours, reports from major news sources were released. Alerts from the New York Times, BBC News and CNN began to pop-up onto people’s smartphones claiming that Greenland’s ice caps are indeed melting at an even much faster pace than predicted by scientists, environmentalist and conservationists. 

The news was shocking to say the least and sent social media into a bit of a frenzy. The reports show ice caps in Greenland’s southwest region have been melting at least four times faster in the past decade than they have over previous centuries. Due to the combination of global warming paired with oscillation, a weather phenomenon that affects air temperature, Greenland’s ice caps are not only breaking off into large icebergs, which over time melts into the ocean, but are also beginning to thaw at the top of the glaciers which is causing ‘rivers’ of meltwater to pour into the ocean, and is subsequently melting more ice as it travels down the glaciers. Cities along the east coast of the United States will be the first to be affected and will see significant sea-level rise and are also now susceptible to more hurricanes. 

Northwest tribal nations have been anticipating a rise in water for at least a few generations now. As coastal communities, Salish tribes are one the first to feel and witness the effects of sea-level rise. As you may recall, the Quinault tribe is currently in the early process of relocating both of their entire villages of Taholah and Queets because rising sea-level and high tides have already begun to flood the communities.

 As sea-level rises, it has the potential to change entire landscapes. In a report released in the summer of 2018, the Projected Sea Level Rise for Washington State, evidence shows that because of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, many Puget Sound communities are currently sinking while Neah Bay’s land is actually rising. 

In addition to inundation and landform change, another huge impact sea-level rise will have on tribal communities is habitat loss, reducing marshes, mudflats and intertidal habitats. Habitat loss can cause significant changes to the food chain and as Phillip explains, this happens due to the erosion of coastlines. 

Mission Beach, Tulalip.

“One thing we are studying in Tulalip is our outer coast,” he states. “Because as sea-level rises, a couple things will happen. One, the water will be at base more often and it’s the water at the base of the bluff that erodes the bluff more than anything else. But also because it will be higher than the storms that are coming in. When storms come in, you have the distance over open water that the winds are blowing, the greater the distance the bigger the waves. But also the deeper the water, the less those waves are dragging on the bottom of the ocean floor and losing energy. So the deeper the water is, those bigger waves will come further in and hit the bluff more often. So you end up with faster erosion. As it erodes faster, that means that all the material is coming down faster. 

“That material is what makes up the intertidal habitat. So how will the system deal with that, that’s another important question. That’s where all the clam beds, juvenile crab are and that’s where all the juvenile salmon and forage fish hang out. The dynamics of the energy of the waves on the beach sorts all that material, so you end up with patches of fine sand and gravel. All of those different patches are different type of habitat, so if you change the energy on the beach, those things all change. Those changes of energy change the habitat. Most of the detrital food chain are not eating the grass and seaweed directly but they’re eating it when it dies and starts to decay – that’s the base of a food chain. The way the detrital material gets distributed changes the habitat for juvenile crab, juvenile salmon, forage fish and all those organisms that live in those areas.” 

Unfortunately, sea-level rise is inevitable. Yes, you read that correctly. In time, which is proving to be closer than we thought, all of the ice caps will melt and the world’s water to land ration will increase. How much it will increase and when is still yet to be determined but if the recent news of Greenland’s ice caps are any indication, scientists are predicting by the year 2100, cities around the globe can see anywhere from three to ten feet of sea-level rise. And although the east coast will probably see the effects on a larger scale, the entire west coast along the Cascadia subduction zone could be pushed back, making many current coastal cities uninhabitable. Researchers are hoping communities can look at these statistics and estimations to plan for relocation if need be and to prepare for a series of natural disasters such as extreme floods, storms and hurricanes that could result from sea-level rise. 

“Get involved in your communities,” urges Bridget. “Let your planning commissioner know that this is something that you are concerned about, this is something we need to get on board with and make a priority. This is something that is extremely important to the resilience of your community.”

Please visit www.WAcoastalnetwork.com to view the most recent reports and projections of sea-level rise in Washington. And be sure to check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea-Level Rise Viewer at www.coast.noaa.gov/slr/ to see how sea-level rise, of up to ten feet, can impact your communities, as well as for additional information.  

Important Message Regarding Measles

Source: Tulalip Community Health Department

On January 25th, 2019 Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in response to the current measles outbreak connected to Clark Co. As of January 29, 2019 there have not been any lab confirmed cases of measles in Snohomish Co., connected to this outbreak.

Measles is very contagious, and spreads quickly. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune (have not received the vaccine) will also become infected.1

The best way to prevent the spread of measles and protect yourself and loved ones is to make sure you are up to date on all immunizations, including the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Almost all of the cases linked to the outbreak are in people who are not immunized against measles. Children are especially at risk because they generally do not receive their first dose of the MMR vaccine until their first birthday.

The Tulalip Health System is highly encouraging everyone to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. The Tulalip Health Clinic has the MMR vaccine available. Most insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness caused by a virus.

What are the symptoms ofmeasles?

A high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

How serious is measles?

Measles can be serious for all ages. However, children younger than 5 years and adults older than 20 years are more likely to suffer from measles complications including ear infection, pneumonia and diarrhea. As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children. About one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability. Measles may cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or to have a low-birth-weight baby.

How do you get measles?

Measles is spread through the air after a person with measles coughs or sneezes. The virus can linger in the air for up to two hours after someone who is infectious has left. A person can spread the virus before they show symptoms. People are contagious (able to spread measles) for up to four days before and up to four days after the rash appears. After someone is exposed to measles, illness develops in about one to three weeks

How can you prevent measles?

Immunization is the best prevention for measles. The measles vaccine is very effective.

If you have and questions or concerns give Community Health a call at 360-716-5662.

 

2 Wheels, 1 Engine, No Limits: Melissa Hammons thrives in arenacross racing

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

High-revving engines, roaring exhausts, and non-stop adrenaline rushes…that’s the atmosphere of amateur arenacross racing. Think of it as action packed motocross, but taking place indoors. Within the non-stop, dirt bike racing scene is 15-year-old Tulalip tribal member Melissa Hammons is seeking glory on a dirt battlefield. 

“Racing arenacross is my passion, it’s what I love to do most of all,” declared the fierce teenager who has been riding dirt bikes and quads since she was just 5-years-old. “The sport of arenacross has changed my life because when I’m racing I feel free, nothing else matters.”

Arenacross races take place in sports stadiums and arenas all over the globe. They are run over man-made terrain courses with hills, jumps and tight turns. The scaled-down version of motocross features shorter, more technical temporary tracks and often attract large crowds. Recognized as one of the most strenuous sports in the world, it’s also one of the most fun. 

What draws a female like Melissa to a sport so physically demanding and potentially dangerous? For her it’s the excitement, the thrill of riding on the edge, of performing to peak potential and above all else beating other racers to the checkered flag.

“What matters most to me is getting that 1st place trophy,” explained Melissa. “This past racing season was my fourth on the amateur circuit and best season I’ve ever had. Sure, I had my share of crashes and DNF’s this season, but I’ve also placed in the top three a bunch. For me, taking 1st place twice this season in my women’s 16+ class and 1st once in my Lites class with boys is what I’m most proud of.”

That’s right, not only does the 15-year-old rider compete in higher age women divisions, she also regularly races with the boys…and wins.

“My girl is a badass!” boasted Melissa’s mom, Sara Hart. “She dominates the track even when competing against guys. As a mom, I still get nervous every time before she races with the men, but once she’s out there I have full confidence in her abilities.” 

What was once just raw ability and a fierce competitive spirit during her early racing days has since been honed in and given a laser-like focus based on countless hours spent practicing with racing coach Eric Waunch of E.W. MX School.

“I’ve been working with Melissa for about a year now, and she’s really put in the time and effort into making herself a better rider,” reflected coach Eric, a former long-time motocross pro. “Her commitment and willingness to always push her abilities to new limits is really a joy to coach and fun to work with. With Melissa, keeping her focus on the technical side of riding is most important. She’s so fast and fearless, but when she adds precision and controlled aggression to the mix her racing goes to a whole new level.”

This past season, Melissa has been placing (finishing top 3) regularly and adding to her countless bounty of racing trophies. She admitted that when she first started racing against the boys it was added motivation to win, but now that her skills have grown so much it no longer matters who or what age she is competing against. Also, it helps that she has a mighty large contingent of fans who follow her from race to race and are always cheering for her, win or lose.

“I am forever thankful for my support of family and friends, especially to my grandpa Don ‘Wheatie’ Carpenter who has always been my number one supporter,” shared Melissa. “If it wasn’t for my coach Eric, I wouldn’t be achieving the things that I am right now. I’ve learned you can’t just race and expect to go somewhere; you need to put in the time, work, and effort even if that’s blood, sweat and tears.”

Her skills were on full display on January 19 when she competed in WHR’s Northwest Arenacross Nationals that took place in Monroe. In front of family, friends, and numerous spectators, Melissa showcased her riding expertise while competing in two divisions: women’s 16+ and against the boys in Lites. 

Blazing around the track on her 250cc Honda 4-stroke, Melissa wowed the dirt bike enthusiasts in attendance with a level of speed and aggression she is known for. After a series of practices and qualifying races, the four-lap Final races were a go. Against the women, Melissa finished 2nd overall. In her race against the boys, when the checkered flag flew, she took 1st to the delight of her fans and family.

“Racing in a male-dominated sport and succeeding like she does proves she is a confident, strong and independent young woman,” said Melissa’s grandmother, Lena Hammons following the 1st place showing. “Her aggressiveness in the races says she will not settle for less in her life. Melissa is an amazing role model and her family is so proud of her.”

Looking to the future, the multi-trophy winning dirt bike rider has set her sight on bigger ambitions already. She wants to accomplish what many have been unable to do, become a professional motocross rider. 

“A female rider going pro, yeah a lot of people don’t see it,” admitted Melissa when pondering her future in the sport. “But all I know is I’m going to work hard and keep bettering my skills until it happens. Just wait, I’ll be 16 soon and have a driver’s license. Then I can really accomplish even more while chasing my dreams.”