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5 things to know this weekend

Downtown Sumner fire; Highline School District bond; Election security; Fall hiking safety; Halloween festivities map.


King County Elections implements new tools to increase transparency, security while counting votes

A man in western Washington claimed his ballot never arrived in the mail and then he was notified that someone else had voted for him.  

Turns out, according to elections officials, the ballot in question was filled out by the man’s neighbor, most likely by mistake – an issue that does happen but it’s not as common as one might think.

Take the 2021 primary elections, according to the Office of the Secretary of State, 19,509 ballots were rejected. That's 1.5% percent of the total votes cast. Of the rejected ballots, 59% were mailed too late, and 26% were rejected because the signature did not match.

In the 2020 elections, their office turned just 17 alleged voter fraud cases over to the prosecuting attorney’s office. That’s far less than 1% of all votes cast.

This year, there are new measures to make sure everyone’s vote is counted. Voters can now opt-in to receive text or email updates on their ballot’s progress. Webcams have been installed in the elections office so that anyone can monitor from anywhere on the election’s website. Read more

‘Multiple’ businesses damaged by 3-alarm fire in downtown Sumner

Multiple” businesses on Main Street in historic downtown Sumner were damaged in a fire early Friday morning.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Kevin Stabenfeldt said crews were called to the commercial fire on the 900 block of Main Street just after 2:30 a.m.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue tweeted that 30 units from surrounding agencies responded to the 3-alarm fire. Fire crews were able to get the fire contained and it was "no longer spreading" just before 5:20 a.m.

Firefighters were still on the scene at 10 a.m. East Pierce Fire said the structure was “very unstable” and crews were using “the power of the aerial master stream at 1250 gpm and the 2.5” fire hose at 500 gpm” to reach the trusses inside the building that were still burning.

Stabenfeldt said the “building of origin” was The Attic and the Stuck Junction Saloon. While the fire was contained to the building or origin, Stabenfeldt said there was “significant” damage to the building. Read more

Highline voters to decide on bond to rebuild 3 schools in the district

The buildings at Tyee High School are rundown and outdated, according to Assistant Principal Don Miller.

"What takes priority, right, like power and heat so our students can learn or a hole in the ceiling?" Miller asked.

This building is where 15-year-old Jurnee Robinson is every school day.

"Tyee kind of feels forgotten by the district and Evergreen, too. We feel like we were like, the last on the list intentionally. And we don't know if that was the truth or not, but that's how we tend to feel," Robinson said.

Robinson said she feels that way because in the district, Highline High is brand new and Mount Rainier High was built in 2007, but Evergreen and Tyee high schools, which were built about six decades ago, are in need of repairs. 

Building three new schools and making repairs districtwide is on the ballot, with voters being asked to approve a $518 million bond measure. The school district said due to expiring bonds and levies, the local school tax should stay stable. A cost breakdown of the project is on the district's website. Read more

How to stay safe while hiking this fall and winter

As western Washington enters the fall and winter months, volunteer-based nonprofit Seattle Mountain Rescue has some advice for hiking safely. 

"This time of year, the weather's changing pretty quickly, so being able to have extra clothes so you can stay warm where you are," chairperson Doug McCall said. "Packing a headlamp is also a good idea since it gets dark earlier, and it's better than taking your phone and trying to burn your battery on your phone because you want to use that to be able to call for help if you need help."

This is along with the other essential items hikers are recommended to keep on-hand year-round: a map, compass and knowledge of how to use them; sunglasses, extra clothes, a first aid kit, a pocket knife, food and water and waterproof shelter. 

Seattle Mountain Rescue responded to 87 missions last year involving 93 subjects. They recommend three major tips: get prepared, let someone know which path and trails you plan to take, and if you need help, call 911 and stay where you are so rescuers can use latitude and longitude data when possible. Read more

Family creates interactive map of Halloween festivities in Snohomish County

Brandi Smith and her family are so passionate about Halloween that they created a platform to help other people get in the spooky spirit.

The map features more than just the neighborhood haunts. Pumpkin patches, haunted houses and a curated list of residences giving out treats are all included.

“When I started, it was just Arlington but then I was getting messages from people wanting me to add them to the map,” said Smith.  

Stanwood, Marysville and many other cities wanted to join the list and that’s when Smith decided to make the Halloween map include all of Snohomish County.   

“We only had maybe a couple hundred listings when it started in 2020 but this year, we already have more than 700 listings on the map,” she said.

People can submit their house to be on the map until Oct. 30 at midnight. Read more

RELATED: Western Washington Forecast

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