Mental health a focus for district, council told

  • May. 26, 2017 1:30 a.m.

MARYSVILLE – The Snohomish Health District and the Qwuloolt Estuary starred at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Jeff Ketchel talked about the health district. The city months ago approved funding for the district, which is struggling financially. “A public nurse was hired with the money from the cities,” he said.

City Councilwoman Donna Wright said the district wanted the city to know its “money is being well-spent.”

Ketchel said mental health issues are a concern. He said adverse childhood experiences often lead to such issues. The district has a program that will be coming to Marysville that includes six classes to help young people become “more resilient.”

District data showed almost 23 percent of 12th-graders have seriously considered suicide. “We have a program to work with you,” Ketchel said.

He added that the county dealt with 191 cases of mumps this year, along with 24 cases of TB, which is very costly to treat.

Project manager Kurt Nelson then spoke about the estuary.

He said $21 million was spent over 20 years. There were 10 funding sources, with the Army Corps of Engineers paying about 38 percent. He had to apply for 27 grants over the years, something that wouldn’t happen now because awards are higher, he said.

Nelson said scientists monitor the 354-acre estuary and have seen increases in wild coho and chinook, hatchery chinook, cutthroat, and chum and pink salmon. Many more species of animals also are seen, including birds, which like to nest in berms created to reduce tidal erosion.

Nelson said there were issues right after the dike was breached, allowing a mixture of salt and fresh water to flow into the estuary. “The whole place changed from what it was used to,” he said.

Nelson said Jones and Allen creeks had 100 years of “muck that had to re-plumb itself, which was not good for fish.”

He said the system took about 47 days to correct itself.

As for things to be learned, Nelson said such projects take twice as long as expected; real estate, permit issues and property protections take time; and staff turnover at different agencies and contractors can delay a project.

City Councilman Jeff Vaughan said the estuary is a perfect laboratory for students.

“They can go back every few months,” and it will be different, he said.

Public Works director Kevin Nielsen said, “A ton of great engineering” went into that project, and a lot of questions were asked along the way. Parks director Jim Ballew credited Nelson for his life’s work. “Incredible science,” Ballew said.

In other council news:

•Police officer Dave Vasconi was presented a Mayor’s Excellence Award. Mayor Jon Nehring said he has been doing great work since police took over Code Enforcement. Since Feb. 1, he has investigated 180 cases and 128 received voluntary compliance. “His positive attitude helps get voluntary compliance,” the mayor said.

•The council OK’d $1.05 million for pavement preservation. Nielsen said work will start early, so he probably will be back before the council to add more projects. Funding also was OK’d for the Marshall Elementary Safe School route. He added that the U turn on 172nd is gone, which should help traffic flow. And he also said about 300 people unloaded 80 yards of scrap metal, 60 tires and 10,000 pounds of trash at Clean Sweep.

•Three people spoke during public comments and praised the city for its improvements with Code Enforcement, the new crosswalk on Fourth and the new traffic circle on Beach.

•City spokeswoman Connie Mennie talked about the Fireworks ban for 4th of July and how multiple communication efforts are being made to get the word out.

•City Councilman Stephen Muller said candidates running for office need to know the laws regarding political signs. He said there are height restrictions and joked that some are “two stories.”

•Vaughan said the stormwater ponds in north Marysville are drawing people walking their dogs. Nielsen said it’s a three-mile loop. They agreed that ideas for the future should be discussed, although there currently is no parking.

•Ballew said a fence is up along Highway 529 to keep people from crossing the street at waterfront park to get to the trail system. Ballew also said the Spray Park downtown will open Saturday. He mentioned Seattle is reopening theirs. Tacoma opened theirs early this week.

•Police Chief Rick Smith said the department is having a meeting to focus on problem areas during hot summer months.

•City Attorney Jon Walker said calendars have been added in the court system for school bus tickets and nuisance violations.

•Sunnyside Nursery is expanding.