Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

Year in Review: September 2019


Last updated 12/31/2019 at 12:19pm

Beacon file photo

Mother nature decided to make her presence felt during the Lighthouse Festival's fireworks display.

Shocking: Thunder and lightning add more 'boom' to fireworks

On a night when seemingly all of Mukilteo was down at Lighthouse Park, Mother Nature decided to make her presence known.

The 54th annual Lighthouse Festival took place this past weekend – Friday through Sunday – and Saturday is traditionally the most visited day of the three-day event, especially in the evening.

The reason for the large Saturday crowd? The annual evening fireworks show, always popular, especially for the younger crowd members.

As the crowd waited for the fireworks to light up the Sound, word started spreading of thunder and lightning to the south. In Seattle, the University of Washington football game was in a weather delay in the first quarter, and the weather was heading north. Soon enough, the southern sky started flashing, and eventually, it was easy to see different strikes. There were also some strikes north of Mukilteo.

Questions started coming out from the crowd. Where's the barge? Is the fireworks show happening? Will the weather hold off for the show?

Well, yes, the barge showed up.

Yes, we had a fireworks show – beautiful as always, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the large crowd who decided to stick around. It started right around 8:30 p.m.

And, for the last question, not really.

Sisters tag team on mural depicting Mukilteo

There are a few pieces of art across town unique to Mukilteo.

There's the wood-caved totem at the roundabout at Lighthouse Park, the "hot dog man" wood statue where the old Neener Neener Weiner hot dog restaurant used to be, and the two statues of men at Red Cup Café.

But there's a new piece of art in town, located midtown off 80th Street Southwest at local travel expert Pam Anderson's home.

The art? A painted mural that captures what people may think when considering Mukilteo, complete with "Welcome to Mukilteo" smack dab in the middle.

With the mural, you've got the Mukilteo Lighthouse, perhaps Mukilteo's most famous icon. There's also an airplane, representing nearby Boeing and Paine Field, as well as the aerospace industry that has been at the backbone of Mukilteo for many years.

Add in the water, a ferry, a sailboat, and a totem, and the mural seems to have captured the essence of Mukilteo.

Anderson and her husband, Steve, have lived in their house for a few years, and she said she's wanted something like a mural on the concrete wall that separates her house from a neighbor's for a while.

So she reached out to Kamiak High School's art department, which introduced her to now-senior Abby Kizziar toward the end of last school year.

"She'd reached out to the school to see if anyone would be interested in a project like this, and my art teacher asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said yes," Abby said. "Pam wanted the mural to be about the community, but she left it pretty open creatively."

New Mukilteo superintendent named

Well that didn't take long.

Just few weeks after it was announced that Mukilteo School District Superintendent Dr. Marci Larsen would retire at the end of the year after nearly 17 years at the helm of the third largest school district in Snohomish County, the district has announced her replacement.

On Monday, Sept. 9, the Mukilteo School Board announced that Dr. Alison Brynelson, the district's current deputy superintendent, will succeed Larsen. Her first official day is Jan. 1, 2020. The School Board voted unanimously to select Brynelson for the job.

"With Dr. Brynelson's expert leadership and demonstrated commitment to the Mukilteo School District, the board unanimously agreed that selecting her was in the district's best interest," School Board President Michael Simmons said. "She's an innovator with a clear vision for the district and we're confident it will be a productive mid-year transition with Dr. Brynelson's extensive knowledge of the district and staff. The one word that comes to mind when I think about Dr. Brynelson is 'caring.'"

During the School Board's Aug. 26 meeting, the group unanimously accepted Larsen's retirement notice.

After some uncertainty, festival returns this weekend

One of Mukilteo's longest-running traditions returns for the 54th time this weekend with the annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival.

While many in town know the drill – no parking at the waterfront, lots of options for food, drinks, and the kiddos, etc. – this year's Festival is a little different.

As the Beacon reported shortly before the 2018 Festival, as well as earlier this year, the event was struggling. Former Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce CEO and former Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival President Julie Martin told the Beacon that the event was in a downward spiral financially, and that it only broke even in 2017 because the City of Mukilteo chipped in to cover a large deficit. Additionally, the Festival had fewer and fewer volunteers throughout recent years.

The downward spiral continued to this year, when Martin "raised the red flag," alerting residents that Mukilteo's biggest party of the year was on the ropes.

Steady declines in funds, sponsorships, and volunteers all contributed.

This led to a Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association meeting Feb. 28 that brought a large turnout of elected officials, residents, and business leaders to figure out what could be done, or if a Festival in 2019 was even a possibility.

City rolling out pilot parking program at Lighthouse Park

Parking at Lighthouse Park will look a tad different over the next few months, as the City is going to test a pilot parking program at the waterfront from October through March for 33 "low demand" paid parking spaces.

Currently, the City has roughly 250 paid parking stalls at its most visited park, which does not include the boat launch, ADA spots, or commuter parking stalls.

With this pilot program, 33 spots that are among the least used, or in the lowest demand historically, would be open to extended hours. The spots would be available to park in for a maximum of 12 hours, rather than the current maximum of four hours, Community Development Director Dave Osaki said.

"They're all striped yellow," he said. "There are two meters that are used for this, and they're the only two meters that work for this. They're close to those spaces."

The 33 spots are on the southwest side of Lighthouse Park, next to the volleyball court and the railroad track.

"The history in the past and accounts from the rangers and police department show the demand for that area is typically low," Osaki said. "We want to make sure that there's no conflict when the demand for parking increases. These are typically the least used spaces during the least used time of the year."

The goal is to start the program Oct. 15, Osaki said, while the end date is March 15.

Mukilteo family works to increase suicide awareness

It's been nearly three years since Nina Smiljnic took her life.

Nina was 15 when she killed herself, and she would have graduated from high school this June.

"It was a bad June (this year)," Nina's mother, Dawn Krivanek said. "It would have been her 18th birthday and Kamiak had its graduation."

While nothing can replace the hole Nina's death left in their hearts, her family is working to raise more awareness for suicide and depression.

Beacon file photo.

Sisters Abby and Riley Kizziar painted this mural at local travel expert Pam Anderson's home in Mukilteo throughout the summer. The mural depicts many key features of Mukilteo, such as the lighthouse and a ferry.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month, and Krivanek met with The Beacon in hopes of bringing more suicide and mental health awareness to the Mukilteo community.

Coming up in October, for instance, is the Out of the Darkness Everett Walk, which serves as a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

"Our family has been in the walk the last three years," Krivanek said. "My oldest daughter did the first walk just two weeks after Nina passed. She told the rest of us about it, and now the whole family does it. We also have lots of family and friends who participate, too"

Having that large group helps with the healing process, Krivanek said.

"It's comforting to know people still acknowledge Nina," she said. "It helps keep her memory alive. We're seeing more people knowing about the event, and there's more discussion about mental health and suicide."


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