By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
Sultan city council honored Snohomish County Public Utility District dam safety engineer Bruce Meaker last week at city hall. Meaker, the Principal Engineer for Dam Safety and Hydro Operations, will retire from the PUD on Oct. 31 after 30 years of employment.
Meaker has been associated with the Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project throughout the entirety of his career at the PUD. The Jackson Project, which has been operating since 1984, is located in the Sultan River Basin and produces about five percent of the PUD’s power needs. In September of 2011 the project received a new 45-year license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that included plans to develop new side channels off the Sultan River along with other fish habitat improvements and enhancements.
In addition to power, the Jackson Project provides 80 percent of Snohomish County’s water supply.
Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick outlined some of Meaker’s career highlights to council before presenting him with a certificate of appreciation.
“He has become very sophisticated in guiding the operation of Jackson to optimize the water and power needs and provide flood management on the Sultan River and the community here in the city of Sultan,” said Mayor Eslick. “Since 1995 there has not been a large spill at the Jackson Project because of the way Bruce guided the decisions for his operation.”
Meaker has also been involved with Toastmasters, a non-profit organization that teaches leadership skills along with public speaking. Sultan’s Toastmasters chapter, Early Words, meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m. at the Eagles Club in Sultan.
“Toastmasters has done a lot for me in my career,” said Meaker.
Meaker’s plans for retirement include impending nuptials.
“Everybody asks me, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ Well, I’m going to get married,” said Meaker.
He thanked council for their recognition.
“I really have appreciated working with the people in this community,” said Meaker. “Thank you very much for this high honor; I appreciate this immensely.”
GOLD STAR FOR DONNA MURPHY
The city of Sultan frequently offers acknowledgment and praise to residents and local business owners for their contributions to the community. Last week, Sultan resident Janet Peterson decided it was time to return the favor.
“There’s a staff member here who works like the dickens,” said Peterson. “And this staff member is responsible for getting lots of money.”
Peterson then unveiled a large gold-colored star, which she presented to Sultan’s Grants and Economic Development Coordinator Donna Murphy. In addition to the gold star, Peterson orchestrated an official Certificate of Appreciation for Murphy, which was signed by Mayor Eslick.
“You work so hard and we’re grateful,” said Peterson.
Murphy was quick to attribute her success to teamwork.
“I do not work alone,” said Murphy. “We are such a wonderful, marvelous team.”
Total grant money received by the city of Sultan thus far in 2013 is around $700,000.
AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
Sultan received the 2013 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Infrastructure in the Transportation category. The award, which was presented to Councilmember Sarah Davenport-Smith at a recent Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council conference in Wenatchee, was specifically granted for the Sultan-Basin Road Realignment project.
“This project started in 1997,” said Davenport-Smith. “I was still in high school and not even in this town.”
Davenport-Smith thanked several city staff members for their involvement in the project; Donna Murphy, Laura Koenig, Connie Dunn and Mick Matheson, along with the consulting firm WHPacific. She also acknowledged Sultan city councilmembers, both past and present, as having contributed to the project, as well as several mayors.
“We went through four mayors on this project,” said Davenport-Smith. “So many different people had a hand in this.”
Davenport-Smith presented Mayor Eslick with a small plaque shaped like Washington State commemorating the honor.
COUNCIL ASKS FOR A BAN ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA COLLECTIVE GARDENS AND DISPENSARIES
Council voted 4-3 to ban medical marijuana collective gardens and dispensaries in the city of Sultan.
Councilman Jeffrey Beeler made the motion in response to a staff recommendation to vote down an ordinance submitted by the Planning Board which would have allowed medical marijuana collective grows in a specific portion of the industrial area located south of U.S. 2.
Thus far, the city has enacted several six-month moratoriums prohibiting medical marijuana collective gardens while they waited for the Washington State Liquor Control Board to establish more definitive regulations surrounding these types of endeavors.
Beeler announced that he was tired of waiting.
“I’m tired of pushing this off,” said Beeler. “We don’t want drugs in our city. Period.”
Beeler clarified that his motion is strictly a ban on medical marijuana collective grows and dispensaries. Not a ban on medical or recreational use.
“This just says, ‘I don’t want a collective garden. I don’t want a dispensary in my neighborhood,’” said Beeler.
Councilmember Joe Neigel seconded the motion. Both Kay George and Sarah Davenport-Smith expressed their support.
“I’m part of the Sky Valley Community Coalition,” said Davenport-Smith. “The Sky Valley Community Coalition is all about reducing the negative effects of drugs and alcohol in the Sky Valley, especially among our youth. You’re never going to see me supporting any increase of drugs or alcohol in our town.”
Councilmembers Beeler, Davenport-Smith, George and Neigel were all in favor of the ban; Steve Slawson, Kristina Blair and Ken Marshall were dissenting.
City staff will draft the reflective ordinance and present it to council at an upcoming council meeting.
WATV USAGE ON CITY STREETS
Council began discussion on the development of an ordinance to guide the use of wheeled all-terrain vehicles on city streets. The discussion was in response to new Washington State Law that allows motorized recreation vehicles on roads with speeds 35 miles-per-hour or less.
Council was given the opportunity to provide feedback on several options for the ordinance.
“We can select how we want to apply the law,” said City Administrator Ken Walker. “We have the power to structure this the way it fits our community.”
Walker stated that the ordinance could dictate which 35 mile-per-hour roads would be applicable to the new law; specific roads could be open for WATV usage or specific roads could be closed to WATV usage. Or the law could simply apply to all roads 35 miles-per-hour or less.
The new law is designed to enhance economic development in communities by allowing this form of transportation.
Council were all in favor of city staff drafting an ordinance that did not restrict usage to certain streets, but left WATV travel open to all roads 35 miles-per-hour or less.