Posted 1/31/24

Volunteers sought for Snow Creek plantings


The North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) and the Jefferson Land Trust seek volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs along the …

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Volunteers sought for Snow Creek plantings


The North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) and the Jefferson Land Trust seek volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs along the banks of the Snow Creek Uncas Preserve Feb. 9, 10, 16, and 17. Planting days run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each date, starting with an orientation at 10 a.m. sharp. A tour of the recently completed stream restoration project will be included after each planting.

There are nearly 9,000 trees and shrubs to plant this winter to reforest the Snow Creek Uncas Restoration project area.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring warm, waterproof clothes, boots, and a bagged lunch. Events are family-friendly, and tools and gloves will be supplied, although volunteers are welcome to bring their own. Parking is limited and there will be an attendance cap. Please RSVP at for more details.


Ferries welcomed more riders in 2023


A surge in walk-ons drove total year-to-year Washington State Ferries ridership up to 18.7 million in 2023, with an increase of 1.3 million boarding.

The total number of walk-ons soared by nearly 487,000, or 14.2 percent, as tourism and in-person work continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Vehicles carried climbed by a more modest 372,000, or 4.3 percent, even though four routes remain unrestored to 2019 service levels.

State ferry ridership in 2023 was at 78 percent of pre-COVID levels. Ridership is expected to steadily grow in the years ahead as travel demands increase and additional service is brought back temporarily to unrestored routes.

The Port Townsend/Coupeville run’s total ridership increased by 4 percent over the previous year. The greatest year-to-year increase came on the Edmonds/Kingston run, which was restored to two-boat service in 2023. The Seattle/Bainbridge Island run was the system’s busiest in 2023 with 4.8 million riders, followed by Mukilteo/Clinton with 3.7 million.

AAUW celebrates local women


Marking 75 years in Port Townsend this year, the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) branch is recognizing women of the global majority who add to the area’s rich community culture.

This month the AAUW recognizes Velda Thomas, who has lived in Port Townsend for more than 16 years, and is married with two grown children.

Born in England, Thomas’s family ancestry has roots in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. She is a writer, poet, and published author who is also known for her work in holistic health, shamanic work, and as a ritual leader.

“Love of creative expression has been a constant thread running through my life,” said Thomas, who has also worked as a fashion designer, kindergarten teacher, adult educator, birth doula, massage therapist, and sound practitioner. 

Her current practices and interests include sound, somatic movement, clay, printmaking, poetry and personal narrative. In December, she completed an art residency at Fort Worden, and said now is the time to combine all her gifts into a focus on community wellness and support. She is currently focused on the needs of the local BIPOC community.

“We need one another to resonate, create, and hold each other,” Thomas said, adding an encouragement for all to consider: “How can I be more human-caring?”

The Port Townsend Branch of AAUW is committed to advancing gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Learn more at


House passes clean

energy bill


The Washington House of Representatives continued to deepen the state’s commitment to a climate-forward future last week, passing a bill on a 52-45 vote designed to help the state’s largest gas and electric utility—Puget Sound Energy (PSE)—transition to clean energy.

HB 1589 will require PSE to proactively plan to meet statutory requirements to decarbonize its system in a r esponsible, custom er-focused way. Proactive Wplanning for the future of Washington’s gas system is critical to protect existing gas users, especially low-income ratepayers. HB 1589 would be the first of its kind to require a gas utility to plan for and implement programs to achieve the transition to clean energy. It provides important regulatory tools for PSE to pursue electrification and decarbonization of its gas system. These tools aim to support achievement of the state’s climate and clean energy policies.

Specifically, HB 1589 requires PSE to create an integrated system plan for both electric and gas operations that will put the company on track to achieve its share of Climate Commitment Act (CCA) emissions reduction requirements, and increase targets for energy efficiency and demand response.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission will provide oversight to ensure that the plan is implemented equitably, and that customers are protected with rates that remain fair, just, and reasonable. HB 1589 also requires PSE to eliminate cost burdens on low-income customers by providing bill credits or other incentives to help transition off of fossil fuels and buy efficient electric appliances. Currently there are limited rebates available to utility customers wanting to switch from natural gas to electric, and this bill will help create new programs and options for customers.